Making Remote Interviewing and Jobs More Comfortable


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

One of the outgrowths of the COVID-19 pandemic has been more remote/virtual work than ever before.  Along with that, more organizations are recruiting and interviewing job candidates remotely.  National consulting company Gartner reports 86% of organizations are now using video conferencing tools and other virtual technology to interview candidates.  

For some of you, it may be the first time interviewing remotely.  But some employers are now trying to make that experience comfortable for you.  LinkedIn says there’s a number of things organizations can do to make you feel good about them and minimize your virtual apprehension.  Here’s what you might encounter.  

Some organizations are increasingly offering support and guidance even before you apply for a position.  The information you find as you prepare to apply can greatly influence your perception of the organization in a positive manner.  Pre-application resources like tips on getting started in that industry and writing strong applications, and employees discussing team-building efforts, help to position the organization as welcoming and can help to encourage applications.

Another tool that is being employed is virtual office tours. LinkedIn reports the number one way that candidates want to learn about company culture is through an on-site visit.  Given the ongoing complications of the pandemic, companies can bring the office to potential hires in the form of a pre-recorded tour or a live online walk-through of facilities.

It’s also important for organizations to be candid about the current daily work climate in the midst of the pandemic.  While you may be interested in knowing what life will be like once the health crisis eases, companies should willingly talk with you about their culture of collaboration and communication in the remote work environment.   

LinkedIn reports some organizations are providing a helpful listing of resources to their remote job interview invitations. This might include an overview of what to expect, names of people you will meet, tips for excelling during the interview, links to learn about the company culture and organizational structure, and other resources to help prepare.  

Once hired, you will likely be made to feel part of the team at your new company via a social media posting.  This tactic is especially important now when an organization may not be able to welcome you in person due to the company’s COVID-19 protocols. 

Finally, if you are going to be working remotely, most companies are now being diligent about training and transitioning you seamlessly into a productive employee.  Organizations should ensure you have everything that is needed to hit the ground running but they can also take added steps to set a good tone from day one.  Accordingly, your new organization may send you needed technology and possibly some company swag so you feel wanted and a part of the team.  

The global pandemic has clearly affected the recruitment and hiring process as well as daily work life.  Companies always want to make a positive impression in order to attract applications, and to retain good employees, particularly in the current tight labor market. As LinkedIn reports, it means you will likely find these and even other welcoming tactics to make for a satisfying interviewing process and work life.


Employment Growth in the 2020s



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

More jobs will be created in the American economy during the remainder of the decade but the growth will be rather minimal. That's according to the latest report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Students can use the data from BLS to help plan coursework and target promising industries for future employment.  

BLS said employment is projected to grow from 153.5 million to 165.4 million jobs from 2020 to 2030, reflecting an annual increase of about .7%.  Employment in the leisure and hospitality sector is projected to increase the fastest, with 7 of the 20 fastest growing industries.  This anticipated growth will be fueled by recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic since employment by restaurants, hotels, arts, cultural, and recreational businesses has declined precipitously during the public health crisis. 

Healthcare and social assistance is projected to add the most jobs of all industry sectors during the remainder of the decade according to BLS, with about 3.3 million additional jobs. Within healthcare, employment in the individual and family services industry will increase the fastest due to rising demand for the care of an aging baby-boom population, longer life expectancies, and continued growth in the number of patients with chronic conditions.

BLS reports that technological advancements are expected to support strong employment growth in professional, business, and scientific services industries including computer systems design and related services as well as management, scientific, and technical consulting.

One other sector that is expected to provide fast job growth is computer and mathematical occupations with strong demand for IT security and software development, in part due to increased prevalence of telework. Demand for new products associated with the “Internet of Things” and for analyzing and interpreting large datasets are also expected to contribute to fast employment growth for statisticians, information security analysts, and data scientists 

On the other side of the ledger, the retail trade is projected to lose 586,800 jobs over the decade, the most of any sector. BLS suggests the growth of e-commerce and subsequent decline in brick-and-mortar retailing is the driving factor in that anticipated job loss.

Manufacturing will have a mixed bag when it comes to employment in the decade.  While some recovery-driven employment growth in the sector is forecasted, manufacturing also contains 11 of the 20 industries projected to have the most rapid employment declines due to continued global competition and increased adoption of robotics.

BLS also forecasts declining employment opportunities during the 2020s for office and administrative support, sales, and production occupations due to increased automation.

You can find out more about these and hundreds of other occupations in the Occupational Outlook Handbook that BLS updates on an annual basis.  Each occupation profile includes an overview of work activity, wages, education and training requirements, as well as the projections for future opportunities in the field.  Check out the Occupational Outlook Handbook at


Cultivate Your Professionalism


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D. 

As you prepare for graduation and the workforce, the CEO of a talent development agency thinks one of the most important things you can do is to enhance your level of professionalism.  

Chelsea Williams heads up College Code, a company that works with education institutions, employers, and students to cultivate workforce development. She said that employers “…want to see how well the candidate is able to exhibit a sense of professionalism and lead their area of expertise on behalf of the department if they were left in a room full of executive leadership.” 

Employers look for a sense of professionalism through examples of collaboration according to Williams. “Sharing examples that focus on the candidate’s ability to influence and lead the right discussions to carry a project through the finish line shows immediate value-add.” 

Professionalism goes beyond these characteristics.  “Employers want new workers to be responsible, ethical, and team oriented, and to possess strong communication, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills. Wrap these skills up all together and you’ve got an insider’s view into professionalism.”  

Students should build on these skills throughout their college career.  And as early as possible you should learn how to articulate these traits to potential employers.  Employers can easily identify evidence of a candidate’s professionalism on a resume and cover letter by the way they organize their thoughts and the experiences they have had throughout their collegiate career. Mock interviewing also provides an opportunity for students to practice how to best verbalize leadership, collaboration, proven results, and professionalism.   

Your UofL career centers can assist in building your professionalism, learning how to communicate that to employers, and other steps in your journey toward a rewarding professional life after college. To find the career center for your major/academic program, check out this link.


Salaries Up For Grads Unemployment Rate Down



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Average starting salaries for recent college graduates continue rising.  That’s according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) and their most recent survey of class of 2020 graduates from across the nation.

Students from that class earned an average starting salary of $55,260 despite the ongoing complications in the job market caused by the pandemic.  That starting salary is 2.5% above graduates from the class of 2019. 

The highest starting salaries were reported for graduates from more technical majors including petroleum engineering, computer programming, and computer engineering. 

NACE also reports that some of the fields that reported salary increases were apparently impacted by the on-going pandemic.  For example, the increased demand for nurses likely fueled the 2.1% increase in the average starting salary for registered nursing majors, despite the overall salary of health sciences majors dipping 0.1% from last year.

Here’s the listing from NACE of the top 10 majors with the highest average starting salaries.

NACE Salary Report

In more news on the job front, the unemployment rate for recent college graduates has stabilized.  The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the August unemployment rate for bachelor’s degree graduates aged 20-24 was 7.3%, down from 13% one year ago and about the same as it was pre-pandemic in 2019.  According to NACE, “This is an initial indicator that the outcomes for the Class of 2021 should be better than they were for the Class of 2020; it also signals a positive outlook for the Class of 2022.”

From Belle of Louisville to Full-Time Employee



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Charlotte Mason’s career path became a victim of COVID when the professional internship program she was about to enter at Disney World in spring, 2020 was cancelled because of the pandemic.  But little did Mason know at the time that this curve in her career journey would ultimately lead to a job that fit her professional goals.

 Charlotte Mason

Charlotte Mason

The May, 2020 UofL graduate (Individualized Major in Social Media Management with a Minor in Communication) from Mt. Washington had participated in the Disney College Internship Program during the 2018-19 school year at Epcot Center. “It was an amazing experience and I also had the opportunity to take Disney seminars as part of my program.” 

Mason had such a great experience that she applied and was accepted into the advanced Disney Professional Internship Program.  One can only imagine Mason’s disappointment when she found out the program was shut down in spring, 2020, just before she returned to Orlando. 

As Mason contemplated how to proceed, she received assistance from the University Career Center. “The Career Center and (career coach) Rosie Shannon were a huge help in my journey. I visited the Career Center several times pre-pandemic and then did video calls with Rosie once things closed down. She reviewed my resume, helped me network, and assisted me in looking for jobs. It was great knowing that the Career Center was there to support me!”

After graduation, Mason took a part-time position with a marketing agency, and then accepted a full-time position but that proved to be an ill fit.  So Mason began another search for a position that would move her more squarely toward fulfilling her career aspirations. 

In April 2021, Mason was finally able to put to use what she had learned during her time with Disney and her coursework at UofL when she landed a post-graduate marketing and hospitality internship with the Belle of Louisville riverboat.  “As the intern, I assisted the Community Outreach Manager with creating marketing emails, writing social media posts, etc. I also had the opportunity to ride on the chaser boat during the Great Steamboat Race to take photographs, which was an amazing experience! I further helped the Guest Services team by booking tickets, taking phone calls, and welcoming guests aboard the riverboat.”

Rather quickly after starting the position with the Belle, Mason’s internship converted into a full-time job. “It was amazing to be offered the full-time position, especially since it perfectly fits with the type of job I had hoped for after graduation. Since being hired full-time, many of my responsibilities have stayed the same like creating social media and blog posts, but I now have the opportunity to take on additional communication projects as well.”

Charlotte Mason’s journey from a cancelled internship with Disney to her rapid advancement with the Belle of Louisville shows the importance of students getting their “foot in the door” with a company.  Moreover, it also illustrates how important internship experiences have become in this day and age.  

More information about internships can be found on the UCC Internship website. If you are interested in an internship during the fall or spring semester, be sure to talk with your program’s internship coordinator in advance since you may be eligible for academic credit and you can also potentially get assistance in seeking a position. Finally, if you want to look at some current internship position listings/opportunities, log onto Handshake.


Graduate Uses Internship to Springboard to Sports Industry Work


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Internships are a great way for students to apply what they have learned in the classroom. But you can also use an internship to make connections that can lead to bigger and better things.  That’s exactly what May graduate Kristen Dethloff has done with the help of the University Career Center (UCC) and her internship supervisor.

Kristen Dethloff

The Chicago native received her BA in Communication (with a minor in Criminal Justice) last spring while finishing up an internship with the Louisville City FC and Racing Louisville soccer clubs. “My responsibilities ranged from redesigning and circulating promotional game day emails to fans to distributing newly branded products to season ticket members, and becoming the go-to team member when it comes to the Louisville City FC app.”

Dethloff was actually somewhat hesitant about doing an internship in the first place. However, UCC career coach Rosie Shannon helped to lessen her fears.  “After expressing my worries and career anxieties, Rosie opened my eyes to the fact that an internship could be my ticket to calming those anxieties by getting my foot in the door to potential industries and allowing that experience to help guide me in my career goals. She also taught me the valuable lesson of getting out of my comfort zone when it came to applying for various internships.”

In addition, the lessons she has learned in that internship have been incredibly valuable.  “I have learned more about myself and what I hope to find one day in a permanent workplace. I learned that having a boss and coworkers you look up to and admire can make the difference between dreading a job and looking forward to it. I have learned that I am an individual who thrives on genuine interpersonal relationships and enjoys working on a team that values the importance of human interaction. I have learned that I am capable, driven, accomplished, dependable, eager to learn, and have a positive highly contagious personality.”

Last spring, Dethloff launched into a full-time job search with the assistance of UCC career coach Mallory Newby. “Mallory built me up to grow more confident in myself and the value that I would bring to a workplace. She has helped me with interview prep, the job search itself, applying for jobs, resume cleanups and even little things such as drafting follow up emails."

Now, Dethloff finds herself working part-time as a tutor for the UofL athletic department (where she has worked since 2019) and continuing her involvement with the Louisville FC and Racing clubs.  Since June, she has also been working in a new part-time sports industry position with the Chicago Fire from Major League Soccer, with the possibility of a full-time position this fall.  “I can directly cite my Louisville FC internship as the reason I received this incredible position. I had applied for a full-time position with the Chicago Fire back in March and had asked my boss at LouCity for advice on applying, resumes, etc. I came to find out that the moment I came to my boss for advice, she had begun networking on my behalf and searched the LouCity office for anyone who had a contact within the Chicago Fire. She found someone who knew an employee in the communications department and requested an introduction. Once connected to the Chicago Fire employee, she wrote a glowing and incredibly impactful letter of recommendation on my behalf that was sent to the hiring manager. Within a week I had an interview and while I ended up not being a fit for that particular position, they saw my potential so they hired me to the position I am in now.”

Perhaps most important, Dethloff has become firm in her career plans. “Now that I have had experience and a foot in the door at two professional soccer organizations (and loved every moment of it), I hope to one day work full-time for a sports organization or a sports-related company within their community outreach/engagement department. The idea of being involved in an effort like that gives me goosebumps”

Just as Kristen Dethloff found, internships are an important experience for all students. More information about internships can be found on the UCC Internship website.  If you are interested in an internship during the fall or spring semester, be sure to talk with your program’s internship coordinator in advance since you may be eligible for academic credit and you can potentially get assistance in seeking a position. Finally, if you want to look at some current internship position listings/opportunities, log onto Handshake.


Career Fair Myths


 By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The University Career Center has several career fairs coming up this semester.  Some students think that only seniors should attend career fairs but UCC career coach Erin Heakin said that is far from true.  

According to Heakin, regardless of your class standing and whether you are sure about your career path or not, these events are a great way for all students to learn about different industries and the opportunities that are available. She said, “Don’t be afraid to approach an employer and ask a few general questions about different roles. Just let them know you are still exploring career options and make sure to be respectful of their time.”

Here are some other misconceptions about career fairs that Heakin points out to students:

I must dress up to attend:  FALSE. It is best to dress professionally or semi-professionally.  But Heakin said you don’t need a suit to get through the door.  As long as you are polite, friendly, and communicate in a professional manner, employers understand you may be coming from class and you can still make a good impression on them. Keep in mind that some industries may have different expectations.  For example, media organizations may be more casual than finance companies.

Employers are looking for one specific major - not mine:  FALSE.  Many times, employers are looking for students with specific skills, not specific majors.  Heakin said, “Some companies might list a few majors that would be a good fit, but that isn’t always an all-encompassing list.  Learn how to talk about the knowledge-base and skillset you have developed through your coursework and experiences.” 

I need to have a stack of resumes: FALSE. Sure it works to your advantage to have a couple of updated resume copies with you.  If not, and an employer asks you for a copy, get their contact information and follow-up in a timely manner to send one.  And Heakin suggests that it is a good idea to update your resume before a career fair if you have not done that recently.  Review the University Career Center’s online resume resources.  

I can only talk with recruiters about positions that are listed: FALSE. Employers typically are happy to talk about their organization and other possible positions.  If you have an interest in an employer and they don’t have your dream position listed, you should still talk with them. Heakin said, “Talking with the representative will give you the chance to ask questions you can’t necessarily find out through online research, plus they might have insight on potential internships or when opportunities might open up. Making a good impression will keep you top of mind, so if a position does become available you can follow up with them and let them know that you applied.”

The University Career Center has a number of career fair events planned for this fall including:

August 26, 2021 - Student Employment Fair

September 14, 2021 - Nursing Fair (Online)

September 15, 2021 - Career and Internship Fair

October 6, 2021 - Graduate & Professional School Fair (Online)

No matter where you are in your college journey, these career fairs can be a valuable experience.  The University Career Center encourages you to take advantage of the opportunities.  If you need assistance getting ready for a career fair event, contact your Career Coach



Student Finding Multi-Benefits to Internship



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Internships provide important practical experience for students and can sometimes lead directly to employment.  But a UofL senior is using his internship as a prelude to further professional schooling while simultaneously enhancing his foreign language skills.

Nick Conces is from New Lenox, Illinois and is majoring in Biology with a minor in Spanish.  He will graduate this fall and then plans to attend dental school at the University of Maryland. Conces has already gained experience in the field, interning with Gentle Excellence Dental in south Louisville.

Nick Conces

Nick Conces

Conces helps the dental hygienists and assistants at Gentle Excellence prepare exam rooms for patients. But perhaps his most important functions involve his minor. “I interact with patients and workers, creating a welcoming, warm environment. The majority of the workers are from Cuba and many of the patients speak Spanish as their first language so it’s a wonderful place to practice my Spanish fluency. I help calm the patients by communicating with them and to reassure that they are in good hands.”

Although Conces plans to enter the dental field, his favorite part of the internship has involved speaking Spanish. “I have been able to learn more Spanish that is applicable for what I’ll be doing in future years to come. Naturally, many Spanish classes do not incorporate vocabulary used throughout the dental field so learning various terms and such was very nice. I have practiced my fluency and have noticed dramatic differences on how my Spanish has improved.”

Internships are an important experience for all students. More information about internships can be found on the UCC Internship website.  If you are interested in an internship during the fall or spring semester, be sure to talk with your program’s internship coordinator in advance since you may be eligible for academic credit and can also potentially get assistance in seeking a position. Finally, if you want to look at current internship position listings/opportunities, log onto Handshake.

Get Ready Now for the Internship and Job Market



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

As the 2021-22 school year approaches, many students will be seeking out internships and employment opportunities. If students want to be successful in their search, they need to think and act ahead. 

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) advises that students who want to be successful will prepare in advance and practice.  NACE’s recommendations are based on conversations with university recruiters from across the nation.

First, NACE suggests that students know, and believe, in their “Value-Add.”  In their discussions with recruiters, NACE found that it is imperative students know what they can bring to an organization.  The start of a new school year is an excellent time for students to think about their past experiences, what has been enjoyable and challenging, and their core skills.

Next, NACE advises students to “refine a brand.”  Students should update their resume, elevator pitch, LinkedIn and any other online profiles focusing on their skill sets and strengths they realize are their Value-Add.  It is important to ensure consistency of message across all communication channels. 

Interviews are an important platform in which students communicate their Value-Add.  Students need confidence in discussing their strengths.  That’s where practice can come into play.  Rehearsing answers to a question like, “tell me about yourself” can help a student get used to talking about their Value-Add without feeling too self-conscious.  It can also help students to better integrate strengths into interview answers. 

Practice interviewing can further help students prepare for behavior-based questions that employers frequently utilize.  Students should think about examples of experiences they’ve had in classes, internships, projects, and summer jobs that highlight a particular strength.

NACE said students should prepare for the potential of virtual interviewing, given the on-going complications of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Students need a location with minimal distractions and a fairly neutral, unobtrusive background.  Students should also run a test to ensure lighting and sound quality are good. 

NACE next suggests students connect with employers by regularly logging into company websites and online job posting boards. Given the rollercoaster of the pandemic, many organizations have encountered a changing hiring landscape and employers that did not list job or internship opportunities in the spring might now do so in the fall. Students should follow up with employers they meet at career fairs, and attend employer-sponsored events when possible.

Finally, the recruiters NACE talked with said that students should research companies in which they have an interest as well as various roles within those companies. In addition to company websites, other possible information sources are classmates, alumni, and LinkedIn to name just a few. Talking with others familiar with the organization can help a student to uncover important information like culture and values as well as skills needed to succeed at that company.  

There are never any guarantees in the job and internship markets.  But, students who prepare and practice will maximize their chances for success this fall.  

Education Means Higher Wages & Less Unemployment



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

New research by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) again shows there are substantial economic benefits to a college education.  In fact, workers with a bachelor’s level degree make almost twice as much on average as workers with only a high school diploma.

The BLS study of the 2020 job market shows bachelor’s degree recipients with median weekly earnings of $1,305, versus only $781 for high school graduates.  In addition, bachelor degree grads experienced a 5.5% unemployment rate last year, compared to 9% for those whose highest level of education is a high school diploma. Almost uniformly across the board, the higher the level of education, the higher the wages and the lower the unemployment rate.  The following table includes median weekly wages and unemployment levels for each level of education.

 BLS Earnings and Unemployment

BLS notes that unemployment rates were higher in 2020 than in 2019 at all education levels due to the pandemic.  But despite the labor market problems that COVID-19 created, weekly earnings actually rose in 2020 at all levels.  BLS attributes the increases to a large number of jobs lost by lower wage workers in 2020. 

Students can learn about median pay and job market projections for hundreds of different occupations at the Occupational Outlook Handbook on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.  The website also allows users to search by the level of education that is required for entry- level positions. 

Importance of Internships Highlighted Again



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Universities around the nation are increasingly touting internships as a key experience for students to apply what they have learned in the classroom in “real world” settings.  And now there’s additional evidence that students need internships to stand out against the competition as they enter the job market.  

New research by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) indicates that internship experience is the most influential factor employers consider when deciding between two otherwise equally qualified job candidates. NACE based the finding on a survey of organizations across the country; 207 companies completed the survey.  Respondents said a job candidate having internship experience in that specific industry has an edge on other applicants. The advantage is even greater if the student’s internship experience is with the specific company doing the hiring. 

Other important attributes employers consider include the student’s major, leadership experience, general work experience, and involvement in extracurricular activities.  While a GPA above 3.0 remains somewhat influential according to NACE, the average influence rating has dropped compared to last year. Further reflecting the trend of less emphasis on grades, NACE said that only 56.6% of responding employers are now using GPA to screen college graduates from the Class of 2021, a steep drop from the nearly 75% that used this method two years ago.

The director of the UofL University Career Center, Bill Fletcher, said the NACE survey reinforces the need for even more emphasis on internships.  “UofL’s new strategic plan calls attention to the importance of all forms of experiential learning including internships and co-ops.  We have known for a long time that internships provide students with a competitive edge in the job market.  Now we also know how these experiences help to round out the academic knowledge base of graduating students. The NACE study once again provides more direct evidence of how students benefit from internships.”

The table below shows the complete results of the NACE study.  

NACE Attributes

Increasing Wave of Remote Work Positions



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The COVID-19 pandemic certainly created a huge increase in work-from-home, but most observers of the job market wondered whether that trend would sustain as the health crisis eased?  So far, the answer is a resounding, “yes!"

New analysis by LinkedIn shows a 450%+ increase in paid job postings that offer “remote work” when compared to the previous year. That finding is based on two million job listings of all types in the past year. The media/communications sector is at the top of the pack in offering remote positions, not surprisingly followed by software and IT services. Overall, nearly 10% of LinkedIn listings involve remote work, up 2% from the previous year.  The following table shows the industries that now have the highest concentration of remote, paid job listings on LinkedIn. 

Linkedin Remote Work 

The director of UofL’s University Career Center, Bill Fletcher, expects the trend of more virtual work to be a lasting outgrowth of the pandemic.  “As more people become accustomed to working effectively and efficiently online, and as companies realize some cost savings since they won’t have to pay for or maintain as much physical office space, or in some instances no space at all, we will see more virtual work.  This also opens the potential of more qualified candidates for organizations when they list openings, since geography is no longer a restriction.   While virtual doesn’t fit for some industries and organizations, there’s no question an increase in remote work is here to stay.” 

LinkedIn reports, however, that the trend is not uniform across all industries.  Remote work accounts for less than 5% of all job posts in sectors like consumer goods, manufacturing, design, and transportation/logistics, and less than 2% in the travel/recreation field. 




Employers Seek Team Work



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

As students look for their first entry-level job or internship, they would be wise to emphasize the ability to work in teams.  A new study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) shows more organizations look for that trait on the resumes of applicants than any other characteristic.  

NACE surveyed more than 200 companies during the spring and 80%-plus listed teamwork as a desired criterion.  Closely following were problem-solving skills and analytical/quantitative skills.   

There were some notable differences in what employers are looking for between this set of results and the results from a similar survey last year. Verbal communication moved up from seventh last year (69.6%) to fourth this year (73.2%), and written communication was also highly desired (72.7%).  On the other hand, work ethic fell from third last year to tenth this year.  

The director of UofL’s University Career Center, Bill Fletcher, said students can use the listing for guidance as they revise and tailor resumes before applying for positions. “Students should emphasize internships and part-time jobs as well as specific academic knowledge and coursework that indicate teamwork, the ability to solve problems, and analytic skills. It is crucial students carefully edit their resumes to ensure clear, concise writing since that is always something employers examine carefully.”

Here is a full listing of NACE’s desired resume traits. 

NACE Resume Attributes

Job Market Recovery Notable in Some Sectors



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The American economy added more than a half million jobs last month as the recovery from the pandemic rolls along.  And according to the U.S. Labor Department, the bounce in employment was concentrated in several sectors.

The Labor Department reports 559,000 jobs were added in May, almost double what was added in April.  Bars, restaurants and hotels re-hired large numbers of laid-off workers, accounting for a big part of the growth.

Employers hired nearly 300,000 workers in the leisure and hospitality sector in May to lead the way.  Restaurant and bar employment grew by 186,000, arts/entertainment/recreation employment jumped by 72,000, the amusement/gambling sector added 58,000 positions, while hotels added more than 34,000 positions. 

This growth suggests a return to normalcy with more vaccinations and an easing of pandemic restrictions, leading more Americans to travel, recreation, and dining out. 

Other hot job sectors were education services (41,000), professional and business services (35,000), transportation and warehousing (23,000), social assistance (23,000), health care services (22,500), administrative and support (18,000), and accounting/bookkeeping (14,000).  New government hires at the local, state and federal level accounted for an additional 67,000 hires.

Despite a boom in some construction sectors like residential, the industry actually lost 20,000 jobs in May.  And retail employment fell by nearly 6,000 workers. 

Louisville Job Market Rebounding from Pandemic



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The metro Louisville area has regained many of the jobs lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.  That’s according to a new research study by Kentuckiana Works.  And that spells good news for recent UofL graduates who are looking for employment.

Kentuckiana Works is a local workforce development agency.  According to their research study, at the height of job loss during the pandemic, the region lost 105,000 positions.  But close to 70,000 jobs have now been regained in a rapid rebound.   The recovery is much quicker than what occurred after the last major job losses in the region during the recession of 2008-09.

As a further sign of recovery from the pandemic, the region’s unemployment rate quickly dropped after peaking at 17.4% in April of last year.  The rate is now back down to pre-pandemic levels of about 4.4%

Kentuckiana Works reports that six industries now account for about two-thirds of local private sector jobs.  Those industries are:

  • Health care and social assistance
  • Manufacturing
  • Retail trade
  • Transportation and warehousing
  • Accommodation and food services
  • Finance and insurance

Kentuckiana Works says the pandemic has altered the employment landscape to some extent with shifts in consumer spending increasingly moving to the online environment and a subsequent increase in automation.  That and the move to increasing online/virtual work means the need for a workforce that possesses advanced digital skills, something that plays directly in favor of UofL graduates.  

The director of the University Career Center, Bill Fletcher, said the improved job outlook for UofL grads and students is noticeable.  "As we wrap up our jobs reporting for last academic year, our total postings were up 40.8% and our local internship postings were up 41.8%."  Fletcher also encourages students to look at different job functions within the top industries listed in the Kentuckiana Works research. 

Kentuckiana Works provides a variety of services including research, coordination of employer discussion groups, career center services and a program to help people overcome barriers and go to college.  Find out more about Kentuckiana Works at:


Good Work Setup at Home



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

As we slowly recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, more students are doing remote internships and co-ops, or hybrid positions that combine work in an office with virtual interaction.  And, more newly minted college graduates are taking remote positions as their first entry-level job. That means an increasing need to address the work-at-home environment.  

An uncomfortable workspace can adversely impact productivity.  And any of us who have tried to work from a couch or while propped up in bed know that doesn’t work very well.  So, it is imperative that you have a good work setup at home for remote internships or jobs.

Your virtual workplace, if possible, should be a dedicated space that is set up to be distraction-free. You will want to be away from other household members, a TV, or other things that might interrupt or keep your attention diverted from the work that is at hand. 

Hopefully you have some kind of ergonomic desk and chair that allow you to work efficiently.  Poor posture can create a variety of muscular injuries, pain, and other health problems including headaches and vision issues. Adjust your chair so that you have good back support, your feet are on the floor, the keyboard is directly in front of you, and the screen is at eye level facing straight at you. Your wrists and forearms should be straight and parallel with the floor, elbows rested by the side of your body and at a 90-degree angle at the elbow joint.  

Don’t sit in this position too long. It’s important to get up and move for a few minutes every half hour. Long sessions at the keyboard not only can produce increasing tension in the body, staring at the screen for too long produces tremendous eye strain. 

Part of creating a good home work setup also involves other issues besides the physical environment.  You should have a structured routine in which you get ready for the work day as if you were going into the office.  Establish start and end times, set daily goals, and schedule a specific lunch break. When the work day is completed, put things away. And while it may be tempting, avoid going back online later to check on things - it can be easy to get sucked into the black hole of working or being on-call round-the-clock.

You also want to make sure that you don’t become isolated in your virtual work.  Some of the biggest problems reported by remote employees are collaboration, communication, and loneliness.   So, it’s vital to make a concerted effort to keep in touch with work colleagues and clients. Have scheduled communication and meetings on a regular basis with co-workers and ensure that you have contacts in place when you want to brainstorm or need help to solve a problem.  Be sure you are comfortable with the communication platform that is favored by your organization, whether that’s Teams, Slack, Zoom or a variety of other online tools that are commonly implemented.  

Virtual employment can be challenging, but an increasing number of people around the country find it to be a great way to work once you get into the swing of it.  More information about working at home can be found on this website.   




Increased Hiring Forecast for 2021 Grads



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

A new research study projects an improved job picture for college graduates across the country.  The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) surveyed employers of all sizes and forecasts hiring will be up 7.2% for the Class of 2021 when compared to last year’s graduates. The projections are also up significantly from last fall’s forecast of a reduction in college hiring.  

Although not as strong as the job situation back in 2019 prior to the pandemic, NACE said the survey points toward a brighter outlook as a result of the re-opening of some shuttered businesses and increasing COVID-19 vaccinations. 

As the below table indicates, about 30% of companies responding to the survey plan to hire more new college graduates, almost double what was reported last fall.  And while nearly one-third of employers planned to decrease hiring last fall, that number has now dropped below 10%.

NACE JobOutlook

The director of UofL's University Career Center, Bill Fletcher, said the career management system they use indicates an even better hiring picture across the nation.  “In the four years we have used the Handshake platform, there has been a significant increase in job postings each year.   And with about a month left in the current reporting year, even in the midst of a pandemic, the number of positions available to UofL students is up 33% compared to the previous year.  That is encouraging.”  

More Hybrid Internship Programs this Summer



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Internships that combine virtual and in-person/on-site work will become more commonplace this summer as the nation slowly recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.  That’s the finding of a new research study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

A poll of NACE members in April included 310 responses from organizations of all sizes across the nation.  As the table below indicates, hybrid programs were the most popular option with more than 40% of respondents planning these types of internships.  The poll also showed the second most popular option, virtual internships, will be considerably more prevalent than in-person/on-site positions.

Employer Internship Plans 

Most respondents, whether hybrid, virtual, or on-site, plan to make extensive use of online technology to keep interns connected to each other; 84% plan to use messaging software like Slack for communication between interns about work projects, and 83% will have virtual social events for interns. 

Employers will also feature online technology this summer to keep interns in contact with their supervisor and the organization.  While almost 85% plan to pair their interns with a mentor, 83% will utilize Slack, Teams or other messaging software.  And, it’s important to note that 70% plan daily supervisor contact for interns.  

The NACE poll also gauged employer preferences for fall recruiting efforts.  Based on the results, it appears there will be continued emphasis on virtual career fairs.  While 45% plan to take part in both virtual and in-person career fairs, a full 39% of employers are planning only for online fairs.  


New Grads in Job Market Need to be Aware of Scams


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

While it is exciting to be graduating, launching your career, and looking for your first entry-level job, it’s also a time for you to be on-guard. That’s because typically this is also a time of year when fraudsters circulate bogus job opportunities. 

Most employment scams utilize the Internet and often involve email to potential victims.  Here are some signs that you should exercise extreme caution:

  • High pay with little work
  • Requirements that you cash checks and wire money
  • Poor grammar or punctuation
  • Offers of a job without even interviewing you
  • “Website” is actually an email address
  • The office listed does not exist by that name and/or no employer information is listed
  • No telephone number or physical address is listed
  • “USA” is included in address which is usually an indication authors are from outside the country and potentially trying to scam you
  • And if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true

You can avoid becoming a victim by pro-actively searching for positions utilizing established career management platforms and job listings, and employing other savvy job search practices like networking. The UofL career centers including Business, Engineering, Law and the University Career Center urge you to think critically and be vigilant as you search for your first job, so you don’t fall prey to scammers. 

Here are some resources to help you protect yourself: 

And, if you ever feel a position is questionable but you are not sure, please contact the University Career Center and ask!




Internships Down Optimism Remains


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

New national research indicates that internship and co-op opportunities will decline slightly across the country in 2021.   In its research report, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) indicates the decline is a reflection of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

According to NACE, intern hiring will be down about .5% in 2021 while co-op hiring will fall nearly 3%.  While noting the decreases, at the same time NACE points to the rather slight declines as an indication that most employers continue to value internships and co-ops, and that many have made accommodations to these programs to account for the public health crisis, primarily by shifting work online.  

The director of the UofL University Career Center, Bill Fletcher, thinks the outlook is promising, despite NACE’s projection of declines in 2021 for internships and co-ops.  “That is not bad news for being in a global pandemic.  Even more promising is that we are seeing increases in internships posted in the Handshake career management platform this year over last year.  Nationwide internships in the system are up 16.4% and internships within 60 miles of Louisville are up 18.8%.  Those total numbers are 8,289 and 382 respectively.  Plus, we still have over 2 months left in this reporting year to increase the totals.”   

Among employers that are changing their intern and co-op hiring, NACE said a full three-quarters cited the needs and resources of the organization while half pointed to the pandemic.  Meanwhile, 37% indicated the economy drove changes. 

The NACE research on internships and co-ops was based on a survey of member organizations during the winter with 227 respondents; another 39 non-member companies also completed the survey.  For a look at national trends in internship/co-op hiring over the course of the last several years, see the table below.


Internship Opportunities

Intern Benefits from Knowledge in Multiple Academic Disciplines


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

In most internships, students typically focus on applying what they have learned in their academic major. But a UofL Public Health major used her recent internship to also apply foreign language skills she picked up from her Spanish minor.

Charmi Shah from Louisville will be graduating soon, having greatly benefited from her internship with the Family Community Clinic, a non-profit organization in Butchertown that opened in 2011 with a mission to improve the health of the medically uninsured in the area. Shah saw her responsibilities expand over the course of the semester including scribing notes for the doctor and calling in prescriptions to pharmacies, acting as a Spanish interpreter, helping with triage, scheduling new appointments, taking essential vitals for patients, and charting their data.


 Charmi Shah

Charmi Shah


Shah’s internship initially involved both in-person and online communication; she worked directly with staff in the clinic offices, but patient contact was virtual.  “By March things were running fully in-person as all the volunteers and staff were able to get vaccinated. Getting to see patients in-person is definitely a better experience for them, and for us. We get to take their vitals and truly assess them as a whole rather than make decisions off of blood lab results. While I'm grateful we could care for our community via telehealth during the pandemic, I loved when our clinic started operating fully in person again and we could see our patients face-to-face and provide them with a higher quality of care.”

Shah said the best thing about her internship was the people she worked with.  “Everyone that volunteers at the clinic is so welcoming and friendly, and always challenged me to do and learn more as I was comfortable with it. I gained valuable experience that will be useful in my future, learned more about the Hispanic and medically uninsured population in Louisville, built connections and networked with the doctors, nurses, and other volunteers, and made a real difference in my community.”

She also found it highly rewarding to apply what she learned in her minor.  “I'm excited to use my Spanish to be able to communicate independently with Hispanic patients and help them feel comfortable without the need for a translator.”

Charmi Shah continues to volunteer with the Family Community Clinic and will be attending the UofL School of Medicine this fall with plans to be a pediatrician.  She hopes to eventually spend time practicing medicine globally and serving those who need it the most in developing countries.

Find out how you can benefit from an internship or co-op experience:  

  • The recent virtual workshop, Interning 101, provides basic information about internships and how to move forward. 
  • The Internship Student Panel is a virtual session with a group of UofL students talking about their internships and providing advice about how to make the most out of the experiences.  

Long Term Impacts of Pandemic on Job Market Sectors


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the internship, co-op and job market for more than a year.  The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is now reporting the effects could continue to be felt in some job sectors for the coming decade.  

BLS has developed projections taking into account how pandemic-related circumstances are expected to affect long-term employment during the next 10 years. The forecasts assume the pandemic creates structural changes to the future job market in some industries. For example, BLS thinks there is ample reason to believe that a continued need for medical treatments and vaccines will spur demand for workers in pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing.  As another implication of the pandemic, increased online/virtual work would negatively affect employment in office building construction.

The data in the chart below is based on a scenario where the pandemic has a moderate-impact on the job market. BLS cautions that the projections are not intended as precise estimates of employment change over the 2019–29 decade; instead, they identify industries in which employment is subject to the most pandemic-related uncertainty. The top two industries where changes could be most pronounced in a positive way are computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing, and pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing.  On the negative side, it’s expected that employment in non-residential building construction and food service and drinking places will be most adversely impacted.   

Industries Affected by Pandemic

Beyond this moderate-impact forecast, BLS also has projections based on a scenario that assumes COVID-19 has a “strong impact” on the job market.  You can look at those projections at this link:

Experienced Career Coach Joins UCC Staff



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The newest member of the University Career Center staff comes to UofL with extensive experience in helping individuals on their journey to a successful career.  Erin Heakin has more than six years of experience providing strength-based career counseling, coaching, and education advising.

Erin Heakin

Erin Heakin, M.Ed.

Heakin holds a Bachelor’s degree in both Community and Justice Studies and Women’s Studies from Guilford College in North Carolina, and she earned her M.Ed. in Counseling and Personnel Services from UofL. During her work with Jewish Family and Career Services as well as most recently Schultz Consulting, she has had the opportunity to work with a diverse range of individuals -- from mid-career professionals and New Americans to youth working towards their GED and college students. 

Here at UofL, Heakin will be working with students from the departments of Anthropology, Communication, Criminal Justice, Geography, History, Pan-African Studies, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Sustainability, Urban and Public Affairs, and Women’s and Gender Studies.  

Heakin is excited about her new position with the University Career Center. “I have a passion for assisting young people prepare for their careers and life after college. Students need to understand how their knowledge and skills can be used to help them both obtain employment as well as advance their career. So, I am really looking forward to speaking with students in classes and during appointments to help them take advantage of what they are learning.”

Heakin is happy to call Louisville home after residing here for 12-plus years. When not chasing after her toddler, Erin volunteers with YouthBuild Louisville and various social causes.  Her contact information can be found on the UCC About Us web page. 


Prepare for the Virtual Career Fair



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The ACC/SEC Career Fair is coming up soon.  Like any career fair, you need to get ready for the event if you are going to maximize the potential of obtaining interviews for full-time or internship/co-op opportunities.

But, as has been the case during the COVID pandemic, this career fair will be a virtual event.   That means some additional preparation is necessary beyond what you would do to get ready for a face-to-face career fair.   Since you may not have participated in a virtual career fair, or even a face-to-face career fair, experts recommend that you be sure to follow these tips for what to do before, and during the ACC/SEC Fair:

  • Register for the virtual career fair ahead of time
  • Update your resume and social media profiles, especially LinkedIn, and be sure to upload an updated personal profile to the virtual career fair website
  • Research participating companies in advance, plan who to visit with and prepare questions
  • Schedule individual appointments with employers in which you have an interest
  • Practice your pitch
  • Check your technology in advance to be sure everything will be working when the virtual career fair starts
  • Pick a quiet, distraction-free location
  • Dress professionally as if you were going to be meeting in-person
  • When meeting with employers virtually, be sure to employ good non-verbal communication with attentive body language and eye contact
  • When talking to employers, take notes, get contact information to follow-up, ask about next steps and always be sure to send thank you notes the following day

For more information on how you can stand out from the competition in virtual career fairs, check out these articles:

And, don’t neglect that important follow-up.  Here’s an article on what you should do after the ACC/SEC Career Fair.

Remember, the campus-wide, all-majors ACC/SEC Career Fair is on April 6, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.  More than 150 employers will be involved.  All UofL students and alumni can register on CareerEco and schedule chat times with recruiters.  


Please note that because this is a consortium career fair with 28 other universities, registration is through the CareerEco website, not Handshake.  


Student Converts Internship into Part-time Job



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The COVID-19 pandemic shifted the internships that many students had to online/virtual work and in some cases, forced the cancellation of the experiences.  But one UofL student took advantage of the situation to convert her internship into a part-time work experience.

Emily Burden is a graduate student in Social Work from Grand Blanc, Michigan and she will graduate this May.  She had been working as an intern for Uniting Partners (UP) for Women and Children for several months when the public health crisis worsened last spring and halted her academic internship. UP is an agency that works with homeless women and children.  But, with the end of her on-site learning experience, UP hired Burden as a part-time case manager.  Today she is still an employee with UP, as well as now using the experience as a work-based practicum course in the Social Work graduate program.

Emily Burden

Emily Burden

Burden works on-site two days a week with UP clients. She is also doing advocacy and social justice-related work remotely. “For example, once a month I meet with community members to discuss Identification/Driver’s License reform in Kentucky for those experiencing homelessness. I like remote meetings like these because I can engage with our partnered agency members.”  But Burden also finds the remote work experiences challenging because, “I do better in a physical space with my co-workers, peers, and clients. I really like the hands-on learning and first-hand experience. I also struggle with time management so, working from home has its challenges.”

Burden is finding her work experience with UP personally rewarding.  “I like meeting women and their children who are experiencing homelessness and watching them work towards obtaining housing, all while providing services and motivation so that they may become empowered and self-sufficient to maintain their new home and take care of their families.”

At the same time, Burden is gaining important experience that furthers her ambition.  “My practicum fits into my career/professional plans as I want to learn more about marginalized populations, advocacy, grant writing, nonprofit management and policy reform. I have the opportunity to experience all of these things at UP and I’m so fortunate.”

Burden hopes other students will take the initiative to get practical work experience while they are students at UofL.  “My advice for those that are interested in doing an internship or practicum but are somewhat hesitant or nervous about it is to just jump in. Just go for it. You really have nothing to lose, you will only have vast opportunities to gain experience, knowledge, and maybe even a paid job in the end!”

If you want to hear about other student internships, the University Career Center has posted a virtual session with a group of students talking about their internships and providing advice about how to make the most out of the experiences.  You can find out more about internships on the UCC Internship website, plus review our recent virtual workshop Interning 101. If you are interested in obtaining academic credit for your internship or co-op, be sure to reach out to the coordinator/director in your UofL academic program

Mega Career Week



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Get ready for the upcoming ACC/SEC Career Fair!  Mega Career Week is March 30 through April 2 and the University Career Center (UCC) has a variety of virtual events to set you up for success.  

Career fairs like the ACC/SEC event, provide a great opportunity for you to explore the job and internship markets. But there are nuances to virtual fairs (as opposed to face-to-face career fairs) for which you need to be prepared. 

Mega Career Week events will help you get ready as you pursue opportunities. Here is the lineup:

For more information and to register for events, check out our Mega Career Week web page.

And don’t forget, the big ACC/SEC Career Fair is on April 6, 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM.  More than 100 employers will be involved.  All UofL students and alumni can register on CareerEco and schedule chat times with recruiters.  


Workshops on Work Life for Diversity Groups



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The University Career Center (UCC)is getting ready to present a series of workshops for several diversity groups on campus to discuss work-related matters.  The “Working While” series will feature representatives of various companies who will offer advice to students about navigating work life.

The goal of these Q&A sessions is to facilitate an open and candid conversation between students and company representatives on matters like salary negotiation, family-friendly company policies, harassment in the workplace, and other issues.  Each event will be focused for students from one specific diversity group on the UofL campus.  

UCC Associate Director Donna Lee developed the workshop series. “We have previously coordinated diversity career fairs.  But, the 'Working While' series enables the UCC to have an even more intentional focus on maximizing the success of students in various diversity groups. These panels of working professionals allow us to show the students that the world of work reflects them.”

The first two events in the “Working While” series are:

  • Working While LGBTQIA+: Tuesday, March 23, 4:00pm-5:00pm
  • Working While Female: Friday, March 26, 2:00-3:00 pm

  Working While LGBTQIA+        Working While Female


The UCC will soon announce dates and times for two additional “Working While” virtual events:

  • Working While Having a Disability
  • Working While Black or LatinX

 For more information on these sessions and to register, please visit our Working While web page.   Some of these workshops will be recorded and available on-demand for later viewing.  To view those recordings, additional past online sessions and workshops, and other career-related content, go to the University Career Center Virtual Workshops web page.      


Employers Hiring at SEC/ACC Career Fair



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

UofL will be joining twenty-eight other SEC and ACC schools on April 6, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, for the biggest career fair of the semester! Currently, 118 employers are registered to participate in the virtual event.  The director of the University Career Center, Bill Fletcher, is excited about the quality and diversity of employers. Fletcher said, "This event provides our students with access to many recruiters who may not normally recruit on campus."




National service employers AmeriCorp, CityYear, and Peace Corp will be recruiting.  Some of the top corporations registered include Cintas Corp., Cerner, Dollar General Corp., Enterprise, Lumen, and UPS.  Many federal agencies are recruiting including Dept. of Energy, Dept. of State, FBI, Fish and Wildlife Services, and Secret Service.  Noted research organizations include Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  There are opportunities in Business and Commerce, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Social Sciences, Education, and Criminal Justice, plus more. 

Employers are still registering for the event.  Students and alumni should go to the CareerEco website and register free of charge, start researching employers, and sign up on schedules to meet with employers.   

Students can also utilize your UofL career center to prepare for the event.



Communication Students Get Experience Producing Internship Video



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

One of the best ways to advance your career ambitions and develop important professional skills is to do an internship or co-op.  But as a pair of UofL students recently discovered, that’s not the only way to get important experience.

Sarah McDowell and Annabeth White are members of the Young Communication Professionals (YCP) chapter in the Department of Communication.  In recent years, YCP has coordinated a very successful internship fair in the spring. But when the COVID pandemic interfered with this year’s plans, the chapter looked for an alternative to promote the idea of internships to students.  They decided on producing a video that featured students talking about their internship experiences.


 Sarah McDowell    Annabeth White

Sarah McDowell and Annabeth White

YCP faculty advisor, Professor Mary Ashlock, said it’s important that students can gain practical experience from not only internships, but also projects like this.  “Annabeth and Sarah created and produced a quality internship video that can be featured on their resumes and digital portfolios.  Employers are impressed with students who have something tangible to show them. Students stand out from others when they are able to feature a project and discuss their work.”

McDowell, who is from Muncie, Indiana, plans to graduate with the class of 2022 and after graduation, she hopes to work as an event planner/fundraiser for a nonprofit. She said working on this project was a valuable experience. “There is a difference between learning about something and learning how to do something. Real world experience allows students to not only apply what they learn in the classroom, but also see firsthand what it is like to work in their field from mentors and coworkers.”

White is from Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, and she, too, plans to graduate in spring of 2022.  White hopes to work in advertising or video production.  In addition to appreciating the practical experience of working on this project, she points out the benefit of working with a group like YCP. “More involvement with organizations leads to more connections and that is a really great way to find out about internships, job opportunities, and more.” 

Take a look at the video about student internships produced by Sarah McDowell and Annabeth White.  You can find the video posted on the University Career Center’s website.  


Salaries for Class of 2021 Moving Upward



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The average starting salary for all categories of majors in the class of 2021 should be higher than previous years. That’s the finding of a new research study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).  But, the study also reveals some of the increases will be rather small.  

NACE bases its salary forecast on a national survey of employers that was conducted from September 14 through November 30, 2020.  A total of 139 surveys were completed. The figures reported are for base salaries only and do not include bonuses, commissions, fringe benefits, or overtime rates.  NACE also acknowledges the limitations of its study; in some of the majors, projected increases look high but are based on limited data.

NACE forecasts the highest starting salaries for computer sciences at more than $72,000, an increase of 7% over what was projected for the class of 2020.  Research indicated the biggest increases of 11% for the humanities category with an average starting salary of $59,500.   Much smaller increases are forecast in engineering, math & science, and business. Full results of the NACE study are in this table.

NACE Salaries


The director of the UofL University Career Center, Bill Fletcher, expects entry-level salaries in this region to be lower than national averages due to the lower cost of living in the area.  Fletcher said, "Averages are just that, averages. Some offers are higher, some lower. What is more important is the cost of living.  An offer of $45,000 in Kentuckiana has a lot more buying power that the same offer in the Northeast or West Coast."

NACE said it is important to note that although each broad academic category in its study are projected with increases, that is not the case for all academic majors within each category.  For example, while the overall average salary for the math and sciences category is expected to increase 1.3%, chemistry majors, who fall into this category, are projected to see their average salary drop 3% while math majors are expected to move upward by 4.5%.

NACE also makes it a point to suggest the strong benefit of any college degree when it comes to employment.  It cites U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics from 2020 that indicate a 10.2% unemployment rate for high school graduates, an 8.8% rate for those with some college but no degree, and a significantly lower 5.1% unemployment rate for those with a bachelor’s degree or higher. 


Students to Press on with Internships



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Career development staffers have been suggesting that students should not use the excuse of the global pandemic to sit back and do nothing now to advance their professional interests. But it’s not just this group that is offering the advice to move forward. Here are several employers who all have extensive experience hiring interns from UofL in the past. All agree students can make significant advancements in their professional development now, despite coronavirus fears and the economic fallout. And one of the best ways to do that is through an internship.

Madison Hardy is a partner at the J Wagner Group, a full-service events and marketing agency here in Louisville. She says internships provide a great hands-on learning experience for students, while also providing an important benefit to their agency. “Interns are great assets in the creation process as technology and new ways of thinking from usually younger interns help us reach different levels of success.”

Aaron Rosenberg is the Senior Vice President of Business Development for Oasis Solutions and a UofL Alum (Communication BA, 2005). He remembers his own internship experience as a UofL student and the pivotal role it played in his development. “It taught me so much more about the practical aspects of what I was learning and being taught. It allowed me to understand what I liked and what I didn’t like before getting too far down a career path that would be more difficult to alter. So I try to provide the same opportunity to the interns I work with. Providing them with more of a wide-ranging holistic experience.”

Sherry Stanley is the Executive Director of the Backside Learning Center at Churchill Downs, which provides services and support to staff at the track’s stables as well as their families. She points out that internships, in addition to professional development, provide an important cultural perspective. “From a societal standpoint, it is important for young people to gain exposure to people and situations that will help them have a broader view of the world and that will contribute to a more compassionate generation. I think all of us have had experiences when we were younger that were transformative and contributed in a small way to where we are today.”

Hardy said the best interns that J Wagner has hosted have jumped in with both feet and not been worried about how much time they have to work. “Our job is usually not 9 to 5 so having a good attitude and willingness to help is key. This is something we try to evaluate during our interview process as we believe you are only as strong as your team and that includes interns at JWG. We have weekly meetings with interns where we encourage questions, no matter how small or crazy, be asked. Good interns should never be scared to vocalize questions or concerns. Learning on your feet and retaining information is vital in a fast-paced event world.”

For Rosenberg, the key is for the intern to be eager. “The best interns are really just like the best employees. Humble and hungry! They aren’t too big to complete the small tasks nor are they too shy to tackle a large project or offer up a big idea. They want to learn and ask a lot of questions. Throw themselves into opportunities and try their best.”

Stanley looks for her interns to be jacks of all trades. “At least at our organization, it is important for students to be flexible, since at most smaller non-profits, everyone has to do a bit of everything, from IT support to direct services, teaching English, and taking out the trash!”

So what should students be doing now as we continue to inch forward out of pandemic lockdowns into an unknown and wildly fluctuating economy? Madison Hardy of the J Wagner Group said students should be calm and creative. “We, more than most, understand the impacts 2020 is having on the world and could only imagine the pressures of graduating during these times. We would recommend staying hopeful as the world, especially in events, will take time to work itself out. Don’t let your brain waste, continue reading and learning. We all have the responsibility to create a new world or way of doing things so let’s get out of the box and try new ideas, especially related to events and communication for ourselves and clients.”

Aaron Rosenberg from Oasis Solutions suggests students look particularly at remote opportunities. “My advice for students would be to target opportunities that had a well-defined work-from-anywhere-workforce and policies in place prior to the COVID-19 crisis. Somewhere that has been well-equipped to help interns get onboarded and be successful in a remote situation.”

And Sherry Stanley from the Backside Learning Center said students applying for internships should think about personalized contact with decision-makers. “Please reach out and don’t be afraid to be persistent. That is actually much appreciated since we are all juggling multiple responsibilities, and shows employers that you are really interested. If you don’t hear back from an email, pick up the phone! This is something that we feel almost shy about in these days of texts, emails, and social media but it is refreshing and a nice personal touch when you actually hear someone’s voice that cannot be communicated through a keyboard.”

You can find out more about internships on the UCC Internship website, plus review our recent virtual workshop Interning 101.  The University Career Center has posted a virtual session with a group of students talking about their internships and providing advice about how to make the most out of the experiences.  If you are interested in obtaining academic credit for your internship or co-op, be sure to reach out to the coordinator/director in your UofL academic program.  

Social Work Intern Building a Better Future for Kids


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Internships and co-ops can certainly help students advance their career ambitions. But in many instances, these work experiences also provide important benefits to our community.  Kayce Dallas is continuing an internship that does just that.

The Henderson, Kentucky graduate student is working toward an M.S. degree in Social Work and will graduate in May.  Dallas has been interning with Kentucky Youth Advocates (KYA) for more than a year now. KYA advocates for policies in the state that benefit and protect children.  Dallas has worked on initiatives that address problems with child abuse, neglect, and other “adverse childhood experiences.” Her internship has included research, focus groups, website, and blog work, drafting grant applications, and helping to plan “Child Advocacy Week.”


Kayce Dallas

In the midst of a global pandemic, Dallas, like many other students, has been doing her internship work remotely and she said that brings some added challenges beyond her workload. “It is hard sometimes to find motivation and zoom fatigue is a real thing! I have also found that it is harder to separate myself from the work.”  On the other hand, Dallas said, “I love the work so much that I continue to do assignments even after my office hours are over. And, I like being able to work from home because I don’t have to drive 30 minutes to the office and I can develop my own schedule.”

Dallas said the internship has helped her to find a niche in the social work field that she wants to pursue after graduation.  "Originally all I wanted to do was microwork. I wanted to help children who had been through trauma. Although that is still a passion of mine, I have now fallen in love with macro social work. I love working with many different partner organizations on a common cause. I love to watch how policies come to the table, choosing bill sponsors, and then seeing the testimonies in session.”

Dallas is greatly appreciative of the opportunity that has been afforded to her.  “I love how supportive Kentucky Youth Advocates staff are, no matter what their role. I know I can reach out to any of them for help with school assignments, to talk about my resume, or discuss job opportunities. I also love how I can wear many different hats. I am getting a well-rounded experience at Kentucky Youth Advocates that I do not think I could get anywhere else.”

Dallas thinks other students can utilize internships to build relevant experience and to try out something new.  “I already had so much experience in the micro field that I wanted something different. Do not be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and try interning at an organization you are passionate about, but is outside your usual realm. The worst that can happen is you get experience and learn that is not what you want to do.”

If you want to hear about other student internships, the University Career Center has posted a virtual session with a group of students talking about their internships and providing advice about how to make the most out of the experiences.  You can find out more about internships on the UCC Internship website, plus review our recent virtual workshop Interning 101. If you are interested in obtaining academic credit for your internship or co-op, be sure to reach out to the coordinator/director in your UofL academic program.  



UofL Micro-Internship Initiative


UofL Micro-Internship Initiative

By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

UofL is launching a collaboration with a national organization to promote so-called “micro-internships” with short-term, paid work experiences. Over the course of the last five years, Parker Dewey has connected thousands of students to these project-based, mostly virtual opportunities, involving employers from across the country.

The internship coordinator for the UofL University Career Center, Maddie McNabb, says there are a number of reasons why students should consider micro-internships. “Micro-internships are a great professional development opportunity, as they can give students an idea of what an entry-level job in their desired field might look like without the commitment of a summer- or semester-long in-person internship. On top of that, every project posted on Parker Dewey’s website is paid, and students can create a connection with top-tier companies they may want to work for in the future.”

Through micro-internships, students can demonstrate skills and explore career paths. Unlike a traditional internship, these paid opportunities typically range from 5 to 40 hours of work, and most can be completed remotely.  Project deadlines normally range from one week to a month.

The average project pays $360 at an average rate of $15-20/hour. Each micro-internship is vetted by Parker Dewey to make sure that it is appropriate for college students/recent grads and compensated fairly.

While micro-internships are not as ideal as full-scale, onsite internships, they do provide a way for students to connect with employers and network with professionals. In addition, students can enhance their track record of work experience, enhancing applications for future internships and career opportunities.

Parker Dewey reports micro-internships can result in offers for internships and full-time jobs from the host company, and are even used as a recruitment tool on occasion for those opportunities.  Employers who have implemented micro-internships recognize that although the project may be short-term, the projects can be a great way to identify students’ potential and evaluate skills like problem solving ability that is difficult to assess during a traditional recruiting process. 

In a time of a global pandemic and an uncertain job market, McNabb said micro-internships provide a great opportunity for students and recent graduates to gain professional experience. “Parker Dewey has cited an increase in activity on their platform during the months of March and April, and I imagine this uptick will continue throughout the summer. I predict micro-internships will continue to remain prominent post-pandemic due to the low-risk career exploration opportunity they provide and because the short time commitment required will be beneficial to students who cannot otherwise commit to a full-time internship.”

Parker Dewey micro-internships can include projects across all departments.  The most prevalent opportunities include:

  • Sales
  • Human Resources
  • Strategy
  • Marketing
  • Research
  • Operations and Support
  • Finance and Accounting

Students who want to apply for Parker Dewey micro-internships create an account on the company’s website including information about their experiences, education, a resume, and other possible materials like work samples.  Once they have completed their profile, students have access to all opportunities currently available on the site and can then apply for projects.

Students who get an offer receive support for their micro-internship in a variety of forms.  They will receive the contact information for representatives from the company hosting the project as well as from Parker Dewey’s “Client Success” team.  Students also receive a number of onboarding emails as well as resources from Parker Dewey. And at the conclusion of the project, students get feedback on their work. 

To learn more and apply for micro-internships, visit the UofL - Parker Dewey website. UofL students who obtain Parker Dewey micro-internships are encouraged to in the University Career Center to tell us about your experience.

Get Academic Credit For Your Internship or Co-op


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Sure, internships are important for a variety of reasons.  But the Internship Coordinator for the University Career Center suggests that beyond career and professional development benefits, students should use these experiences to apply what they have learned in the classroom.

Maddie McNabb said internships offer the kind of real-world experience that employers are looking for.  “According to survey data from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employers report finding recent university graduates least proficient in several essential areas including critical thinking/problem solving, professionalism/work ethic, and oral/written communication. Internships provide a crucial opportunity for students to develop those essential skills and make themselves a more competitive candidate on the full-time job market.”

In addition, McNabb points out that students can use internship and co-op experiences to test-drive a potential career field. “As someone who shifted their career trajectory because of an internship, I can speak to the value internships provide in career exploration. Finding out you don’t want to do something after completing an internship is just as valid an experience as an internship solidifying your career goals. You will still leave that internship having gained valuable professional development.”

Another reason that internships are important is because they provide excellent opportunities to network.  And networking is imperative since 70% of students find their first entry-level job via a contact.  “Networking is a crucial point that students often don’t think about when searching for an internship. There is sometimes the possibility for an internship to lead to a full-time job, and even when it doesn’t, an internship supervisor is a great professional reference to have when applying for full-time jobs. They will be able to speak more to your professional skillset than a professor or other academic-related reference.”

Beyond these reasons, McNabb said there are academic credit possibilities for internships and co-ops since students are using the knowledge they gain in their UofL classes.  “Being able to earn academic credit needed to graduate while completing an internship (and possibly getting paid to do so) is a win-win in my book. While everything students learn in the classroom is important, there are some things that just can’t be taught and learned in the classroom setting, and that’s where internships come in.”  

There are numerous academic programs at the University of Louisville that offer credit for internships and co-ops. But each program has varying requirements and/or prerequisite courses before students can enroll.  McNabb said, “It’s absolutely imperative that before you accept any internship position, you contact your academic program/department to find out the process for approval and enrollment."  

If you are interested in obtaining academic credit for your internship or co-op-, contact your program coordinator/director from this list.  

Psychology Student Intern Learning to Work Remotely



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

A UofL Psychology major is using her current internship to not only advance her career interests, but also to learn how to adjust to the increasing remote work environment.  Marissa Robertson is a Louisville senior with plans to graduate this May.

 Intern Marissa Robertson

 Marissa Robertson

Robertson has been working during the spring semester as an intern at Seven Counties Services. Seven Counties provides mental health and addiction recovery services to adults and children around the region.  Robertson has been doing online research for best practices in therapy worksheets.  She has also been creating a “Virtual Therapy Room” that clients can use during the pandemic. 

Because of the pandemic, all of Robertson’s internship work has been online.  “It’s been a bit of a learning curve for me, as I’ve had to familiarize myself more with some of the online services being used, but I believe the online experience has been just as rewarding as it would have been in-person.  I like that I am able to do the work on my own time since it’s online, but I do sometimes miss the in-person interactions with people, and I think it would have been interesting to see what day-to-day work is like outside of the pandemic.”

After graduation, Robertson plans to go to graduate school and eventually get a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.  She hopes to eventually do the kind of work that is done at an organization like Seven Counties, and Robertson’s internship is moving her firmly toward that career goal. “I love the real-world experience I am able to get in the field.  It’s also been so interesting for me to see what it’s really like in the mental health field and to get to know some of the people who have been working in it for many years.”

Robertson thinks other students would similarly benefit from an internship or co-op experience.  “Do it!  I was extremely nervous going into my internship, but I am so glad that I did it.  I’ve learned so much already.  It’s such a rewarding experience and anyone who does it will not regret it.”

You can find out more about internships on the UCC Internship website, plus review our recent virtual workshop Interning 101.  If you are interested in obtaining academic credit for your internship or co-op, be sure to reach out to the coordinator/director in your UofL academic program.  



Maximizing Your Internship & Career Development



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The CEO of a prominent college student services organization says interns can consciously do some things to stand out and maximize their experience. Dan Rosensweig heads up Chegg, which was founded in 2000 and now provides textbook rentals and online tutoring to college students.

Rosensweig has found previous success over the years at a number of technology companies.  These included president and CEO of Guitar Hero, chief operating officer of Yahoo, president of CNET, and CEO of ZDNet. He took the helm at Chegg in 2010.

Rosensweig says there are three keys for an intern to stand out during their experience. “Come in with curiosity.  Assume good intent until somebody proves you wrong, which means don’t go looking for someone to create a problem for you - assume they don’t mean to.  And then if they do, talk to them about it but assume goodness until they prove opposite.  And, just be positive!”  

According to the Chegg CEO, interns should get to know people at their host company by introducing themself.  He also urges interns to take risks and try things they think they might not succeed in, in order to learn.  He adds students should not expect that employers think their interns know what to do all the time. “You are an intern for goodness sakes.  I am a CEO. I call my friends who are CEOs of even bigger companies because I don’t always know what to do all the time.  The goal is to get it right, not to know the answers all the time.” 

Rosesweig thinks most students mistakenly think of networking as a short-term, transactional concept where people reach out to others they think can help them get something they want.  Although he admits that can have tangible benefits, instead he suggests a longer-term, wider-ranging perspective about networking.  “Networking is not a means to an end. It is the end itself.  That’s a person I would like to have in my life and I would like to be in their life.  And that changes the relationship dramatically.  So you check in with people - there’s no agenda.  And 10 years later, all the sudden it’s amazing how what you are doing and they are doing comes together and amazing opportunities happen.” 

So how should students approach a job market now that is, at best, uneven? “If you can’t get the exact job you want, try to get the company you want and try to get a manager that is going to invest in you.  Those two things will matter more than the job itself.”  Rosensweig says finding a great manager who invests in you and your development is a “game changer, moreso than your first job…find a boss and a company that is growing and in your direction and the rest will work itself out over time.” 

Rosensweig urges students to be flexible as they move into the job market. “Life is about attitude. It is about being open to possibilities.  It is about be willing to seize those opportunities whether you think you are ready or not. Life is not a straight line. It is serendipity.  If you find yourself in a situation where an opportunity opens up, then you have to be open to considering it.”

He said students need to be willing to fail, but then must be resilient to get back up and try again.  “Enjoy the path because it is not always easy.”

Dan Rosensweig was the featured speaker for a recent virtual lunch and learn session, sponsored by WayUp, a job website and mobile app for college students and recent graduates. Find out more about WayUp.  




Making the Best of Remote Internships



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

A large number of UofL students found their recent internships and co-ops changed to online work.  As we continue to grapple with the COVID-19 outbreak,  many of these experiences continue to be either fully or partially virtual/remote.  That means adjustments need to be made so that students have a good, meaningful experience.  But the Graduate Internship Manager for the UofL College of Business, Jennifer Applebee, believes students and employers can both adapt to make the best of the situation. 

Applebee says for students to get the most out of the remote experience, they should be willing to ask as many questions as needed and also be able to self-manage. “It is important for students to be disciplined in working their scheduled hours and completing the work while not getting distracted by other things that pop up.”

To that end, remote internship students should find what type of work environment works best for them. “Having a designated, focused workspace where they go to ‘work’ also ensures they will be successful in their internship.” 

Applebee says regular communication with the employer is vital in a remote internship.  Employers should have a designated supervisor who is comfortable managing remote interns and who is able to ensure that instructions/projects are understood. “Even though interns are working remotely, they should still find ways to connect with their team members and supervisor. The companies we work with have individual one-on-one daily calls between the supervisor and the student but they also have weekly calls between the whole team. These calls are usually done on virtual platforms where everyone can see each other.” 

Because different technology can be tricky, students should orient themselves with the software and virtual platforms that the company uses. Applebee says, “The supervisor/company should hold orientations where they go over the necessary technology and allow students to practice using the technology before starting work. Students who are working remotely should also ensure their equipment is compatible and they have all they need, such as internet capability, to be able to access all required materials.”

Part of the reason why practice is necessary is the wide variety of tools and platforms that can be used for remote work.  Robert Shindell, the president of InternBridge which consults with employers, says a number of technology platforms are used for virtual internships.  These include:

  • Meeting platforms like Zoom, GoToMeeting, Facetime, Skype, Cisco WebEx, Zoho, Slack, Instant Messenger, and MicroSoft Teams
  • Work sharing sites like Google Docs, Dropbox, SharePoint, Box, GoFile
  • Project management tools including Asana, MSoft Project, and

Finally, Applebee wants remote internship and co-op students to realize that even though they are working in a virtual environment, they are not alone.  “Remote interns are still part of a team that wants them to get the most out of their internship and experience and to be successful.”

The article, 6 Ways to Make the Most of a Remote Internship, has more advice on having a good remote internship experience.

UofL Students Excelling in Internships



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

In the midst of Internship Month, it’s important to recognize UofL students who have already had stellar internship experiences that clearly impacted their career and professional development.

But equally important, this group of students has also made significant contributions to the betterment of Louisville and the state of Kentucky.  Here’s just a few of these students we can all be proud of, along with links to the story behind their internships.

  • Josh Osborne - Backside Learning Center at Churchill Downs 


Employers Advise Students to get Real-World Experience Through Internships



By Stuart Esrock

The University of Louisville is placing a greater emphasis on internships and co-ops that require students to put into practice what they have learned in the classroom.  But beyond making connections between academic knowledge and the work-world, a group of Louisville businesspeople with ties to UofL believe internships and co-ops provide crucial hands-on experiences that are an important gateway to full-time employment.   

UofL graduate Megan Imel owns a State Farm Insurance agency.  She did several internships before she graduated and has now hired interns into her own business. Imel said, “Internships give you an opportunity to build your resume, but also learn what a certain industry or role is like before you commit full-time. Our internships are sales-based, so our students are earning extra money while getting real life sales experience that has proven to be valuable when they go through the interview process for their first ‘real’ job.”

Joey Wagner heads up the highly successful J. Wagner Group, a full-service marketing agency, as well as teaching a popular Communication class at UofL that focuses on development of special events. He, too, has hired multiple UofL students for internships. “Internships are important for you to grow, learn, and become successful. I am a big believer in doing as many internships you can to get real life experience and learn from experts in the field you want to go in.”

Travis Kerns quickly transitioned from his UofL undergraduate degree into a successful career as the Director of Foundation and Workforce Development for Trilogy Health Services. “During my next to last semester in college I interned with a company looking for the ability to apply my education professionally. Nine years later, I still work for this company, and I have been able to grow personally and professionally with them. I currently lead two teams, and each member of these teams started with my company as an intern.” 

So what do these professionals look for in a potential intern?  Imel said, “When someone expresses to me that they desire to try new things and take on as many tasks as they can, that is appealing. When someone comes to me stating that they are actually interested in the work, not just getting credit hours, that is also appealing.”  

Likewise, work ethic is also a key for both Wagner and Kerns.  Wagner said, “We want interns who are dependable, hard-working, and are willing to learn.” According to Kerns, “I look for desire and willingness. You may not know yet how to do everything that will be asked of you, but a willingness and desire to learn is important to success. I also look for people with strong interpersonal communication skills who are willing to be open with their thoughts and engage in problem-solving.”

Once a student obtains an internship, it’s really up to them to get the most out of the experience.  Imel advises students to treat their internship like a career move.  “Our most successful interns show up every day and give 100% and they view themselves as part of the team, not ‘just an intern.’ Ask for tasks, be proud of your work and treat it as though success there is an important part of making your way to your dream career.”

Wagner said, “Work as much as you can. Ask questions. Take great notes. Ask your supervisor if you can go to meetings with them. Meet as many people as you can while interning to grow your network.”

Kerns said treat your internship seriously and as an investment in yourself. “Learning how to operate at a high level in a professional environment is a learned skill. This includes how to best communicate with your peers and supervisors. Do not be afraid to share your interests and passions, as new opportunities can often be identified through a simple conversation. Seek out leaders in the organization and politely ask if they would be willing to share some of their experiences with you. Many will be excited to share advice.”

You can find out more about internships on the University Career Center's website.  If you are interested in obtaining academic credit for your internship or co-op, be sure to reach out to the coordinator/director in your UofL academic program.  


February Is Internship Month

February Is Internship Month 

 By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D. 

The University Career Center is getting ready to focus in February on the importance of internships for students as they progress toward their chosen career.  “Internship Month” will include a variety of virtual events and highlight different forms of content to encourage UofL students to involve themselves with internship experiences.  

UCC Internship Coordinator Maddie McNabb said, "data from Handshake indicates that the UCC receives by far the most postings from employers during January and February, which tells us that most employers are hiring for their summer internships during those months. Students should conduct their summer internship search on the same timeline. Internship Month programming will prepare students to take advantage of the great opportunities available and land their dream summer internship".

Internship Month events include: 

  • Interning 101 - Thursday, February 11, 12 noon to 1 pm: Learn more about the best methods for landing an internship, why internships are important, how to succeed in your internship, and more. Register here through Handshake.
  • Student Internship Panel - Thursday, February 18, 12 noon to 1 pm: Hear from current UofL students about their internship experience, from searching and applying to landing and completing their internship. Register here through Handshake. 
  • Faculty/Staff Internship Panel - Thursday, February 25, 12 noon to 1 pm: Get information about internships for academic credit and the importance of internship participation right from the source - faculty and staff. Register here through Handshake.

If you can’t make a session, all workshops/panels will be recorded and posted for on-demand viewing.  You can find out more about internships here. You can find out more about internships now. 


And, if you are interested in obtaining academic credit for your internship or co-op, be sure to reach out to the coordinator/director in your UofL academic program.

Top 100 Companies for Remote Work



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has required more of us to become increasingly reliant on communication technologies.  Most students are now taking at least some remote courses.  And many folks across the country now find themselves working remotely.  While certainly we all hope for a return to the classroom for face-to-face instruction, the move to remote work may have longer lasting implications. 

With that in mind, has released its list of the top 100 companies to watch for remote jobs in 2021.  FlexJobs is a job-search website and its rankings were based on an analysis of remote-job postings for 57,000 companies.  Companies with the most remote-job opportunities made the list. 

This is the 8th time that FlexJobs has posted the list but despite the increasing prevalence of remote work, the website notes not much changed since 2020.  FlexJobs career development manager Brie Reynolds said, “It’s interesting because the list, over the years, has reflected the leaders in remote work, the companies who do it really well and do it often. If anything, the pandemic has strengthened those companies’ commitment to remote work. It’s really shown them to be the leaders in this area.”

The top fields for remote job opportunities, similar to last year, were computer/information technology, medical/health and project management. Fastest growing remote job opportunities were noted in marketing, administrative and human resources/recruiting. 

It’s expected that more companies will move toward telecommuting and/or make a permanent move to online technology that was prompted by the pandemic.  Remote work offers many benefits to companies including saving on office space and supplies as well as the ability to hire from a more diverse pool of candidates.  Employees enjoy a better work-life balance, reduced stress and other health benefits. 

Here are the Top 10 from the FlexJobs listing.  See full listing of employers. 

  1. Lionbridge
  2. TTEC
  3. Liveops
  4. Working Solutions
  5. Kelly/KellyConnect
  6. Williams-Sonoma
  7. TranscribeMe
  8. Sutherland
  9. Robert Half International
  10. Transcom 


Internships Carve Path for Grad Student's First Job In Golf


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Sports Administration graduate student Richard Praszkier did not leave anything to chance when it came to his dreams for a career in the golf business.  And after five golf-related internships, Praszkier realized his ambition, recently landing an entry-level position as the Coordinator of Junior Golf for Golf House Kentucky.  

Richard Praszkier

Richard Praszkier

The master’s degree student from St. Louis finished his undergraduate degree in Sports Administration at UofL in May. During his undergraduate program, Praszkier was determined to get as much industry-related experience as possible. “Internships are essential to personal and professional development. A good internship will give you opportunities to learn but also make mistakes.  The other part about internships is that it gives someone an opportunity to work on hard and soft skills. I have learned a wide variety of technical skills through my internships, but the soft skills and communication skills are equally, if not more important.” 

Praszkier worked with University Career Center assistant director Mallory Newby before looking for his internships, gaining assistance with his resume and cover letter as well as practice/mock interviewing. His preparation and practice paid off: Praszkier ended up doing undergraduate internships with the Persimmon Ridge Golf Club, Polo Fields Golf and Country Club, Oxmoor Country Club, and Quail Chase Golf Club before then doing a post-graduate fellowship with the Indiana PGA.

Praszkier’s experience with multiple facets of the golf industry made him an obvious choice for the position with Golf House Kentucky.  As Coordinator of Junior Golf, he will oversee Kentucky’s Drive, Chip & Putt Qualifiers and PGA Jr. League, assist with tournaments on the Kentucky PGA Junior Tour, and will play a key role in facilitating high school tournaments around the state.  

Praszkier is ecstatic that he has launched his career doing exactly what he had hoped to be doing. And based on the lessons he learned in preparing for his first job, he thinks other UofL undergraduate students can similarly benefit from internships and the relationships that are built within these experiences. “Always continue building your value while also cultivating relationships. You never know when you will need a reference or guidance from a mentor, former employer, or co-worker.” 

Praszkier also says students approaching the job market need to have an open mind. “Be sure to look in as many different markets as possible and ask questions during the interview process. Be sure to understand the job responsibilities but also the work culture. Once you have found the right position and the right fit, you have found something that is very special and rare. Just remember, you have found the right job/career when your position is something you are good at, you have passion for it, and it gives you self/personal value.”


Online Events to Get You Ready for the Job Market


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The University Career Center will host a number of online events in the coming weeks to assist students in their career and professional development. Click the links to find out more and to register.  

Senior Insights N2 Careers - Let’s Talk Majors: January 13 - 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

This event will bring students together with seniors and encourage them to swap their thoughts and experiences when it comes to choosing a major. Some students often feel overwhelmed by the task of picking a major, and seniors can provide them with a little bit of reassurance and guidance. Check Handshake for more information. 

Handshake 101 How to Register for Career Fairs & More: January 20

Join us for an introduction to the career services platform, Handshake. We will cover the many different ways you can use Handshake to connect with employers and career opportunities, including attending virtual career fairs. 

  • Session #1: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm (Register in Handshake


  • Session #2: 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm  (Register in Handshake


Meet UCC Staff and Play Kahoot Trivia: January 27 - 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Join the University Career Center staff to play some Kahoot Trivia, get an introduction to all of the services we provide, and win prizes. (Register in Handshake)


Job Seeking and Diversity Equity Inclusion



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The CEO of a company that partners with organizations to develop and retain the youngest members of the workforce thinks students should change their mindset from just getting a job to actually seeking an opportunity that aligns with their big picture.  And for the increasing number of students who are becoming keenly interested in racial justice issues, Chelsea Williams says they need to seek companies whose values and goals match theirs.

Williams founded College Code to provide workforce development and career coaching.  She recommends that concerned students ask specific questions during job interviews about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as well as actions that organization have taken supporting that commitment.

Williams has a list of questions students can use to differentiate between organizations that may only talk about DEI, versus organizations that are making active progress on these important issues.

  • How does your organization define diversity? What lenses of diversity has your organization made a direct commitment toward? 
  • Does your organization have a chief diversity officer (CDO) or a designated leader to drive DEI and engage internal and external stakeholders?
  • What social causes does your organization support?
  • Does your organization actively support diverse suppliers, contractors, and small businesses?
  • Has your organization made any formal commitments in support of racial equity?
  • How does your organization center diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging?
  • Does your organization offer any formal employee training around biases, anti-racism, or general DEI?
  • How has your organization prioritized executive accountability toward DEI advancement?
  • Does your organization have any affinity groups or committees to support diverse populations? If so, how do these groups contribute to the culture of the organization?
  • Does your organization complete annual compensation equity analysis?
  • What resources has your organization provided to its employees in support of COVID-19 and racial injustice?

While DEI is not an important value for all students, for those invested in the concept, the answers to these questions can help guide whether to continue pursuing an opportunity with an organization. Williams says some clues that an organization is invested in DEI include: commitment to a safe and healthy work environment; representation across all levels and titles; all leaders, managers and employees are held accountable for actions; equity is the driving factor in all aspects of recruitment, training, promotion, pay, and benefits.  

To find out more about College Code and some of the resources it offers to students, go to this URL:


Flat Job Market and Virtual Hiring Forecasted


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

A new national study indicates that while employers will continue to hire Class of 2021 graduates, there will be little near-term growth in the job market.  The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has released results of its annual "Job Outlook" survey and reports that overall in 2021, organizations will maintain hiring nearly equal to 2020 levels (-.1% is forecasted).  

NACE terms the outlook as better than expected given the continuing impact of the COVID-19 crisis and an uneven economic recovery.  While close to 53% of respondents to NACE’s survey plan to maintain their hiring levels, only 16.5% will increase and 31% plan to decrease. Those planning drops cite reductions in their business, budget cuts, and the uneven economy that have all been impacted by the pandemic. 

Most of the projected increases in hiring will come from larger companies. NACE reports that only companies with more than 10,000 employees will increase new graduate hiring with the largest forecasted increase of 6.3% for employers with 20,000+ employees.  The largest decrease of 28% is reported for companies with 5,000 to 10,000 employees.

Although a limited number of companies in various industries responded to the survey, the biggest increases in 2021 hiring are projected for chemical manufacturing, miscellaneous support services, and the information industries.  The following chart includes expected changes in hiring between 2020 and 2021 for the 16 industries that had the largest number of respondents to the NACE survey. 


Virtual/online technology will be the norm for the hiring process according to NACE. 54% of respondents will rely on that technology for the entire year, while another 16% used virtual/online in the fall but will try to transition to in-person hiring in the spring.

Nearly 90% of companies in the study indicated they have a diversity recruiting strategy for 2021.  NACE said only its 2018 study reported a higher level of diversity recruiting.  All employers with more than 20,000 employees reported diversity initiatives. 

The picture is not great for 2021 graduates when it comes to starting salaries.  While more than two-thirds of companies said they would increase starting salaries in 2020, the 2021 survey indicates just 42% will hike initial compensation at an average increase of 3.3%. 

The director of UofL’s University Career Center, Bill Fletcher, agrees with the NACE assessment of the 2021 job market.  “National positions posted in our Handshake career management system are down about 20% this year when compared to the same period last year.  That said, there are employers who are hiring entry-level talent so students should utilize their career centers to be prepared for the job market. It is competitive but good opportunities clearly exist.”

The NACE 2021 Job Outlook was based on data collected in July, August, and September of 2020.  The results include surveys from 158 NACE member companies and 69 non-members. 

Interns Assist Louisville Hispanic Community


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Internships are important experiences for students for a variety of reasons.  But often, internships simultaneously provide important services to our community. A group of UofL foreign language students recently completed internships that provided great benefits to the Hispanic population in Louisville.

Spanish professor Clare Sullivan directed the internships during the fall and her students successfully and safely completed their experiences, even in the midst ofthe pandemic.  Two of Professor Sullivan’s students interned with the Backside Learning Center (BLC) at Churchill Downs, a non-profit that assists workers at the racetrack who are primarily native Spanish speakers.

Maegan Helm is a Louisville senior majoring in Spanish and Global Communication.  Her work at BLC involved helping the young children of track workers navigate online learning, communicating with teachers and parents, and encouraging PPE and safety.  Helm is most appreciative of the opportunity to work with a group of “…caring and compassionate people. My internship has allowed me to see the ins and outs of a successful non-profit making change in their community. This is something I plan to take with me, and share with other people and communities, no matter where I travel.”

Maegan Helm

Hannah White, a senior History major from Eddyville, Kentucky who is minoring in Spanish also worked with elementary school students at the BLC, many whom were beginning to learn English.  White hopes to teach English abroad and eventually become a history professor, so she greatly benefited from her internship because it was her first teaching experience. “The best thing about my internship experience with Backside was definitely the students. I looked forward to their whirlwind of energy. They taught me patience and flexibility and were just a never-ending source of excitement and fun!”


Hannah White

Professor Sullivan also directed an internship for Nashville senior Mia Isabel Rodriguez who worked with Gentle Excellence Dental. The clinic has a mission to provide treatment regardless of language or financial barriers.  Rodriguez is a pre-dental student so her internship fit nicely with her long-term career ambitions in that she assisted the dentists. But the Spanish minor also found herself serving as an interpreter between employees and the patients who rely upon, what she calls a “remarkable facility” that serves a largely Spanish-speaking clientele. “Immersing myself in a Spanish-speaking environment has exponentially increased my communication skills, but the best part has been meeting people from countries all over the world and learning their stories.” 


Mia Isabel Rodriguez

That applied knowledge aspect of internships is clearly important for professors like Clare Sullivan. Equally important, she was proud of her students for their efforts to benefit others. “In spite of all the restrictions, my internship students greatly impressed me this semester. They managed to help our community while they improved their own understanding of language and culture.”

Real world experience and applied learning are certainly important and tangible reasons for students to do internships.  However, the importance of internships becomes even more magnified when the community can also benefit from the work of students like Maegan Helm, Hannah White and Mia Isabel Rodriguez. 


Advice for December Grads



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

If you are getting ready to graduate, congrats!   Hopefully you have been building to your big day and getting ready for the job market. What can you expect in the midst of the pandemic as you continue the process of launching your career?  The career coaches at the University Career Center (UCC) who work directly with students on career development issues have several thoughts for you to consider if you are getting ready now to jump into the job market.

First, you are likely to encounter a hiring process that is virtual/remote.  Until the pandemic eases, almost all employers are recruiting, accepting applications, and interviewing online.  

Mallory Newby of the UCC said students should treat a video interview just like you would an in-person interview with some additional considerations. “This means dressing professionally, researching the company and interviewer, and having questions prepared in advance.  Be sure that your technology is working properly (video camera and audio) and familiarize yourself with the platform that is going to be used (i.e. Zoom, Teams). Have your computer or webcam at eye level to avoid looking up or down at the screen. Be mindful of your background and ensure that your area is neat and tidy with as little distractions as possible.  And practice in advance; you can use a tool like Big Interview."

Given the lack of face-to face-contact, you might also be asked to take part in more interviews and conversations than might be normal.  It’s all an effort on the part of employers to get to know you better. Since they are losing some of the quality of in-person communication, some organizations will try to make up for that with quantity.

Also in the midst of a pandemic, there’s a chance that you will start work virtually/remotely once you get a position.  That means employers are looking for candidates who exhibit self-motivation, an ability to communicate effectively in the online environment, and have a track record of digital collaboration.  UCC assistant director Rosie Shannon said to meet those desired qualifications, students can highlight their experiences with virtual coursework on the UofL Blackboard platform. “Many students are taking some, or all, of their courses on-line and therefore must communicate with both classmates and instructors through class discussion boards, blogs, virtual live discussions, virtual presentations and emails. A student could give a few examples of their assignments that are submitted through these online media and any virtual live presentations they have completed for course assignments.  All of these help the student develop written and oral communication skills, body language, active listening, respect, manners and friendliness.”  

The pandemic has certainly been a challenge for everyone - those already in the work world as well as students. UCC assistant director Karen Boston says that is one more thing that students can emphasize in their applications. “Resiliency, or the ability to recover from difficulties, is a strength that employers are seeking and one which every new graduate can use to describe themselves. Our new graduates have faced challenges, because of the pandemic and civil unrest, unlike any other graduating class and have demonstrated skills in flexibility and adaptability that will continue to serve them well in their future workplace.”

Do realize at the same time the pandemic has created difficulties for students, it has also complicated things for hiring managers at the companies in which you have an interest.  So the hiring process might not move as quickly or smoothly as you hope.  Be patient during the process.  But don’t be afraid to reach out and communicate to let organizations know you are still interested and to ask questions.

One final thing to remember at this point - there are opportunities out there, but at least to some extent the job market is tight and highly competitive because of the pandemic.  You need to be proactive and utilize all of the resources available to you as you press your search for an entry-level position.  Use all of the online tools and platforms available to you, and be sure you are networking since most students find a lead for their first job via a contact.

Help is available to you through the career centers at the University of Louisville: 

All other students are served by the University Career Center.  


Recruiters Offer Advice



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Social media will increasingly be an important tool for those seeking employment.  That’s an important finding from a national survey of corporate human resource and recruitment professionals.  Jobvite conducts the survey on an annual basis to determine priorities and concerns of recruiters.  The results reveal important information as well for job seekers.

According to the survey, nearly 80% of respondents said they will increasingly invest during the next year in social media as a recruitment tool and also to screen candidates. Jobvite reports that result extends an already apparent trend; social media has steadily risen over the last three years for recruiting purposes. Social media channels most used for recruiting are LinkedIn (72%), Facebook (60%), Twitter (38%), Instagram (37%), Glassdoor (36%), and YouTube (27%). But other social media channels like TikTok and Snapchat are also being used for positions that are more targeted toward younger job candidates.  Jobvite advises job seekers interested in larger corporations to monitor LinkedIn since bigger organizations are more likely to use that platform. 

The second biggest source for hiring among organizations surveyed was employee referral programs.  Jobvite said that’s just another reason to directly ask your friends and professional network about opportunities within their companies; those contacts can potentially refer you for a job via their company’s referral program. 

If you get an interview, Jobvite reports there is a good chance in the midst of the pandemic that it will be virtual.  The survey indicates two-thirds of recruiters are interviewing using video, and 40% of recruiters believe virtual interviews will be the default moving forward. If you get a virtual interview, recruiters warn you to watch out for several big problems including poor internet connectivity (cited by 37% of respondents), inappropriate attire (25%), and poor eye contact (23%). Remote interviews are also a great opportunity for job seekers to show, first-hand, they are comfortable in the online environment. That’s important since 50% of those surveyed said that open roles at their organization are being hired as remote workers.

The Jobvite survey includes good news about diversity initiatives. A majority of surveyed companies have specific goals for diversity in hiring with respect to race/ethnicity (63%), gender (54%), age (37%), veterans (33%), LGBTQ+ (29%), immigrants (28%), and disability (25%).

Jobvite is an organization that helps companies attract, engage, hire, and retain the talent that will help them grow and succeed.


Hot Job Opportunities for the Next Decade


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

General and operations managers, and nurses top the list of job opportunities for bachelor’s degree students during the next decade.  That’s according to new research from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which also suggests a strong job market for lawyers.  

The Bureau forecasted the long-term job market up to the year 2029 for 800 different occupations at all education levels.  More than 17 million job openings are projected across all occupations annually during the time period. These openings come from two sources: when new jobs are created from employment growth and when workers leave an occupation permanently, such as to transfer to another occupation or to retire.

The following table shows the 10 occupations (and median annual wages) with the most forecasted opportunities for undergraduate students:

Occupations for Bachelor’s Degree Recipients Projected to Have the Most Openings

(Click on image for larger PDF version)

Occupations for Bachelor Degrees

About 40% of all openings projected in the bachelor’s-level group are in the occupations in the above table. Each of the occupations in this table had wages that were higher than the median for all occupations. 

The next table shows the occupations with the most opportunities for master’s, doctoral, and professional degree recipients:

Occupations for Master’s/Ph.D./Professional Degree Recipients Projected to Have the Most Openings

(Click on image for larger PDF version)

Occupations for Graduate Degrees


The occupations in this table account for about 46% of all openings projected in master’s, doctoral, and professional degree-level occupations. At the top of this list, the law profession openings are expected to be from the need to replace workers who leave the occupation.

You can learn more about all of these occupations and hundreds of others in the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The OOH has great detail about career fields, including what workers do and their pay, job outlook, and typical education requirements.

Download Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader

Hiring Class of 2021 Forecasted to be Better Than Expected


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D. 

While some forecasts suggested 2021 college graduates would face a terrible job market because of the pandemic and its impacts on the economy, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) is projecting otherwise.  And while the outlook is certainly not rosy, NACE research indicates that as opposed to reducing, employers will maintain their 2021 hiring at 2020 levels. 

That is in contrast to what happened during the Great Recession in the late 2000s when most employers substantially reduced hiring. NACE said that this time around, most employers now “understand the need to continue their college recruiting efforts so they do not lose ground in the market and have to restart their college recruiting at a disadvantage once the economy recovers.” 

According to the NACE “Job Outlook Survey,” 2021 hiring will be, “more positive than expected given that the pandemic shut down the economy, plummeted the stock market, and raised the unemployment rate.” Nearly 17% of organizations responding to the NACE survey plan to increase their hiring levels of 2021 graduates (compared to 2020 graduates), and about 53% plan to maintain their level of hiring.   

NACE said that several employment sectors will increase their college hiring during the coming year.  Some of the areas of expanded hiring activity include chemical/pharmaceutical manufacturing, miscellaneous support services, information, and wholesale trade. 

The director of UofL’s University Career Center, Bill Fletcher, is encouraged by this report.  He adds, “This is in line with the advice we have been providing to students throughout the pandemic. Whereas the economy is not ideal, there are still positions but it is important that students stay engaged in the job search process, whether for full time jobs or internships.” 

Data for NACE’s Job Outlook 2021 survey were collected from July through September. A total of 227 surveys were returned; 158 were NACE members and the remaining 69 were nonmembers. 

Watch Out for Job Scams During the Holidays


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D. 

While the holiday season is a joyous time, unfortunately it is also a time of year when fraudsters become very active.  One type of scam that students need to be aware of is a fraudulent job offer. 

Scam Alert

Most employment scams are perpetrated on the Internet and typically involve email.  These scams have occurred for years due to the ease of mass emails, since a fraudster can reap financial gains if only a few people fall prey. You can avoid becoming a victim by thinking critically and employing savvy job search practices.

In particular, beware of emails/offers of employment that include:

  • High pay with little work
  • Requirements that you cash checks and wire money
  • Poor grammar or punctuation
  • Offers of a job without even interviewing you
  • “Website” is actually an email address
  • The office listed does not exist by that name and/or no employer information is listed
  • No telephone number or physical address are listed
  • “USA” is included in address which is usually an indication authors are from outside the country and potentially trying to scam you
  • Sounds too good to be true

These are just a few of the "red flags." Here are some resources to help you protect yourself.

Students who think they have received a scam email to their student email address should report it to UofL Information Technology Services.

And, if you ever feel a position is questionable but you are not sure, please contact the University Career Center ( and ask! 

Entry-Level Salaries Higher for Class of 2019



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Students from the class of 2019 who obtained their first entry-level job made almost 6% more than their counterparts from the class of 2018.  That’s based on a national study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).  

The final NACE salary report on the class of 2019 includes results from nearly 730,000 students, representing 356 colleges and universities from across the nation.  Results were reported for students at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree levels.

NACE reports the overall average starting salary for the class of 2019 was $53,889, up 5.8% over the average starting salary of $50,944 for the class of 2018. This is the highest increase in starting salary reported since NACE began these studies in 2014. That class earned an average of $48,127.

Students in computer-related fields remain near the top of the class for the fourth consecutive year when it comes to average starting salary according to NACE.   Average starting salary for these graduates was $76,986, 7.8% higher than 2018 computer-related graduates. 

Engineering graduates in 2019 received a significant hike in starting salaries when compared to the class of 2018. Their overall average of $70,219 was up 5.4%. Electrical and computer engineering were the highest paid, with an overall average starting salary of $86,655. Petroleum engineers, who were the top-paid 2018 engineering majors, had an average salary that was up 8.8% in 2019.  Computer engineering students received a 2019 starting salary of $82,534, up 7.4% from 2018. 

As a group, Class of 2019 mathematics and statistics majors saw the largest increase in average starting salary. The average salary for mathematics graduates grew 8.8% from 2018’s class to $64,914. Statistics graduates saw a strong increase in their average starting salary, up 5.3% to $70,705 for the class of 2019. This is the second consecutive year that their average starting salary showed strong growth, as the class of 2018 average ($67,161) was an increase of almost 8% over 2017. 

The reported average starting salary for class of 2019 business majors was up 4.5% to $54,399, after having slipped about 1% in 2018.  Finance majors jumped 5.4% to $58,125, business administration/management majors were up 3.5% to $53,944, and accounting graduates saw an increase of 3.6% to $53,652.  Marketing ($47,777) and management sciences majors (actuarial; $60,492) posted increases of nearly 5%. Management information systems graduates have one of the highest average salaries within the business category, but their average salary rose just 1.6% to an average of $61,122. 

Graduates who earned health sciences degrees in 2019 received an overall starting salary increase of 2.6% to $53,425. That is in contrast to a decrease of 3.3% for health sciences majors in the class of 2018.  Most of the health science group is represented by registered nurses whose starting salary in 2019 was $57,416, up 1.1% from 2018.  Next year, NACE forecasts the outcome could be greatly improved since registered nurses have been essential providers of healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Starting salaries for social science graduates bumped up 7.1% in 2019 to $50,099.  Near the top of the list in increases are political science majors, up 7.8% to $45,676. 

Meanwhile, NACE reports that both psychology and visual and performing arts majors saw improved starting salaries in 2019 when compared to 2018.  While 2018 psychology majors were down 1.1%, in 2019 their starting salaries increased 6.7% to $37,653.  Visual and performing arts starting salaries in 2018 were off 1.4% but jumped 5.5% in 2019 to an average of $39,358. 

Part-Time/Holiday Job Fair



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Students who need to make some money to help pay for the cost of school should take advantage of an upcoming event.  The Part-time/Holiday Job Fair is coming up on Thursday, November 12, 11 am to 2 pm.  Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, this job fair will be held on a virtual/remote basis. 

This event is a great opportunity for you to meet with employers who have part-time positions available during the holiday season and beyond.  You will have opportunities to meet in larger group/information sessions with employers and can set up individualized meetings.

In order to take part, you will need to register and then sign up for group sessions and/or individual meetings using the Handshake career management system. If you have not used Handshake previously, you will need to set up your account and update your profile using your ULink user ID and password.  All currently enrolled students can log into Handshake

Once logged in, you will be on Handshake’s homepage. Select the “Events” tab near the top of the page.  On the “Events” page, select “Career Fair” located at the top.  On the “Career Fair” page, you will see the Holiday/Part-Time Job Fair and select that. Scroll down the page to see all information including the employers that are participating. Return to the previous page with the description of the event and scroll up. Select the blue “Register” button on the right. 

If your Handshake profile is set to private, a window will appear instructing you to change profile visibility to participate in the fair. The “Community” setting will allow you to participate in both 1-on-1 and group sessions.

After registering, you will receive an email from Handshake confirming you have successfully registered. You can click on the link in the email to select sessions in which you have an interest and to meet individually with employers.

In the days prior to the Part-time/Holiday Job Fair: 

  • Make sure your profile is complete and up-to-date and privacy setting is on “Community.”
  • Have your resume reviewed by the UCC and uploaded into your Handshake account.
  • Ensure your webcam and microphone work.
  • Research programs for which you have scheduled sessions and have two or three appropriate questions ready to ask.
  • Dress professionally for your webcam session.

For detailed instructions, please review our handout Preparing for Virtual Career Fairs.  For additional tips about virtual career fairs, please visit our Career Fair website.  



Student Gets Work Experience Through Micro-Internship


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

A UofL graduate student recently completed a micro-internship and thinks other students at the University can benefit from these types of experiences.  Christian Covyeau is from Chicago and is finishing his masters degree in sports administration in December.  He found his micro-internship through Parker Dewey.

Intern Christian Covyeau

Christian Covyeau

Parker Dewey connects students to employers across the country for short-term, paid project work.  Most micro-internships are virtual and typically involve 5 to 40 hours of total work at an average pay rate of $15 to $20/hour.

During his micro-internship, Covyeau worked with an executive search consulting firm based out of Chicago. The company helped startups and tech companies place candidates for specialized executive roles. “My role was primarily in person but allowed for flexibility with occasional remote opportunities. I had a great experience due to the awesome people I worked with. The company was small and the founder was very involved in every project I worked on, which was extremely helpful.”

While Covyeau had a positive experience with Parker Dewey, it took very definite persistence to acquire his micro-internship.  “I only received one micro-internship opportunity after submitting 20-25 applications. I believe as the opportunities with Parker Dewey continue to grow, it will prove to be a valuable resource for students looking to gain paid experience through micro-internships.”

Given the competition, UofL students interested in micro-internships should not get discouraged since, like Covyeau, you likely will have to submit multiple applications before you get the go-ahead on a project.  Still, Covyeau thinks students should jump in on Parker Dewey.  “I would encourage other students to give the platform a try and to take the time to complete your profile as it will make you stand out among other candidates.”

To learn more and apply for micro-internships, visit the UofL - Parker Dewey website. UofL students who obtain Parker Dewey micro-internships are encouraged to email Maddie McNabb in the University Career Center to tell us about your experience.

Fast Growth Careers



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has identified job areas that it predicts will see a high number of opportunities and strong wages during the next decade.   

The chart below highlights occupations the Bureau predicts will have thousands of openings each year from 2019 to 2029.  Occupations in the chart are forecast to have growth that will be greater than a 4% average for all occupations nationally over the next decade.  These positions also had wages that were more than double the median annual wage of $39,810 in 2019.



The greatest growth is projected for software developers and software quality assurance analysts and testers with an average of about 131,000 opening per year.  Nurse practitioners is projected to add jobs at the fastest rate (52%) over the decade. Of the positions listed in the chart, computer and information systems managers had the highest median wage ($146,360) in 2019.

Learn about entry requirements, job outlook, and more for these and hundreds of other occupations in the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook.



Minority Students Less Likely to Get Paid Internships


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) is reporting that minority students are at a disadvantage when it comes to internships.   The problem particularly impacts black students.

NACE research of the graduating class of 2019 shows black students accounted for 6.6% of graduating seniors, but just 6% of paid internships.  At the same time, black students accounted for 7.3% of unpaid internships, meaning they are underrepresented as paid interns and overrepresented as unpaid interns.   NACE further reports exactly the opposite for white students; overrepresented in paid internships and underrepresented in unpaid positions.  

Disparities in internships extend to other groups.  NACE research shows Hispanic students are overrepresented in the group who has never had an internship, and multi-racial students are overrepresented as unpaid interns and also those who have never had an internship.   Likewise, first-generation students made up 22% of the research sample, but accounted for just 19% of paid internships and this group also was overrepresented with more than 25% having no internship at all.  This table shows results for various groups in the study.

The director of the UofL University Career Center, Bill Fletcher, is troubled by the research report and is working to mitigate the problems.  He has developed two proposals to assist with minority internships and stipends for unpaid, non-profit internships.  “I have always discouraged unpaid internships for this very reason; it creates a disadvantage for under-represented minorities, low income, and first-gen students who can't afford to pay tuition and work for free.”

NACE also points out that career centers can play an important role in correcting the inequities.  Executive director Shawn Van Derziel said, “NACE data show that, overall, black students use the career center more than other races/ethnicities, not only in total number of visits, but also proportionally. These results suggest that career centers can be an important campus resource for employers to use to reduce inequities that exist in their internship programs.” 


Poly Sci Major Making the Most of Internship Experiences


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

A Political Science major who has already completed several internships will next use those experiences as the springboard to helping to coordinate an important UofL internship program.   Dillard Collier is a senior from Danville, Kentucky who will graduate in May. He is currently completing an internship with Louisville Metro Government and councilwoman Keisha Dorsey, working on canvassing, voter registration, and several civic projects.

 Dillard Collier

Dillard Collier

Collier previously took part in the Department of Political Science Frankfort Internship Program, working with state senator Perry Clark in the spring of 2019.  This past spring he lived in Frankfort for four months, working as an intern at the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission with varied duties including review of fiscal legislation, staffing revenue subcommittees, and contributing to budget meetings/proceedings.   

Collier’s multiple internship experiences were clearly attractive to Political Science Professor Jason Gainous, who directs the Frankfort Internship Program.  Dr. Gainous selected Collier as the Student Coordinator of that internship program for the upcoming Spring, 2021 semester. 

Collier is, quite obviously, a big proponent of internships. “I think they serve as direct channels for career assessment and networking. Internships expose students, and others, to professions and skill sets commonly required in the job market. Personally, these opportunities facilitated my exploration of public service careers and helped expand my personal and professional skills. My experience with these various public employees and government positions was profoundly educational and invaluable.”

Collier’s internship work has proceeded, even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, he said his internship work has, for the most part, been unaffected by COVID-19.  “At times, I've been sent home for virtual work sessions, but I generally work in-person. I do prefer the traditional internship setting. This is because remote internship obligations tend to involve less active participation in the work process and prompt a slight disconnect for me from the agency/institution that I'm observing.”

Collier hopes to continue his work in the public sector upon completion of his degree in May.  “I'm planning to attend graduate school to pursue a master's degree in either Public Administration, Public Policy, or Political Science. I'm interested in a career as a specialized legislative assistant, policy advisor, or some other similar position within the policy process.”

Dillard Collier has clearly taken great advantage of internship opportunities to build an impressive track record of experience that will benefit him as he launches his career in the public policy sector. If you are interested in opportunities in the Frankfort Internship Program like those that Collier seized on, contact in the Department of Political Science.

Get Ready for the Graduate & Professional School Fair



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The Graduate and Professional School Fair is coming up on Wednesday, October 14, from 11 am to 2 pm.  Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, this event will be held on a virtual/remote basis. 

This event is a great opportunity for you to meet with graduate programs, business, law, medical, and public health schools. Universities of all sizes from around the region will be taking part including UofL, Bellarmine, UK, and IU as well as prominent national programs like Columbia University, Notre Dame, Wake Forest and Wisconsin to name just a few. Review the complete list of Registered Graduate and Professional Schools

In order to take part, you will need to register for the fair and then sign up for group sessions and/or individual sessions by Monday, October 12, 9:00 am.  Registration and sign-ups are made through Handshake career management system. If you have not used Handshake previously, you’ll need to set up your account and update your profile using your ULink user ID and password.  Log into Handshake using the UofL portal.  

Once logged in, you will be on Handshake’s homepage. Select the “Events” tab near the top of the page.  On the “Events” page, select “Career Fair” located at the top.  On the “Career Fair” page, you will see the Graduate and Professional School Fair and select that. Scroll down the page to see all information including the universities/programs that will be attending. Return to the previous page with the description of the event and scroll up. Select the blue “Register” button on the right. 

If your Handshake profile is set to private, a window will appear instructing you to change profile visibility to participate in the fair. The “Community” setting will allow you to participate in both 1-on-1 and Group sessions.

After registering, you will receive an email from Handshake confirming you have successfully registered. You can click on the link in the email to select sessions in which you have an interest and to meet individually with program representatives.

In the days prior to the Graduate and Professional School Fair: 

  • Make sure your profile is complete and up-to-date and privacy setting is on “Community.”
  • Have your resume reviewed by the UCC and uploaded into your Handshake account.
  • Ensure your webcam and microphone work.
  • Research programs for which you have scheduled sessions and have two or three appropriate questions ready to ask.
  • Dress professionally for your webcam session.

For detailed instructions, please review our handout Preparing for Virtual Career Fairs.  For additional tips about virtual career fairs, please visit our Career Fair website.   

After the Career Fair



By Stuart Estock, Ph.D.

The fall career fair has come and gone. Hopefully you took part in the event, obtained good information about a number of employers offering entry-level positions or internships, and had some constructive conversations.  Now what?  Whether a traditional, face-to-face career fair or a virtual event, your work is not done yet if you are serious about trying to obtain an internship or entry-level position.

The first thing you should do is get organized.  Hopefully you took some notes for each group session you attended or individual meeting/conversation.  If not, do not wait - write some notes now about the conversations and meetings you had that were of interest.  Remember as many points as possible and be sure you have included contact information including the name and title of people you met.

Next, you will want to follow-up with the companies and organizations in which you have an interest.  You should send personalized thank you notes or emails and if possible mention something you discussed specifically during the career fair event.   And do not wait to do this—your follow-up communication should be sent a day or two after the event. 

If you received feedback on your resume and/or LinkedIn profile during the event, use that information to update both.   Again, do not wait—make that a priority.  And use the opportunity as well to connect to those specific employers and recruiters on LinkedIn.

If you are seriously interested, it’s time to apply for positions you found out about.   A timely application subtly indicates that you are very interested in the opportunity.   If you are submitting a cover letter with your application, proof read, proof read again, and then have someone else proof read; typos and grammatical errors can spell doom for your chances of getting an interview.  Again, if possible, cite something specific from your career fair meetings in your application in an attempt to stand out from other applicants.

Hopefully your work will bear fruit and you will obtain an interview.  You should work continuously on your interviewing skills.  The more you interview, the more comfortable you will get and the better the impression you will make.  Find out more about interviewing, and the University Career Center’s online interviewing practice platform Big Interview.

The job and internship market is only going to become more competitive in the coming months as the nation fights the COVID-19 outbreak and the economy slowly recovers.   Taking part in career fairs and then making a concerted effort after the events will maximize your chances of obtaining a job or internship that you desire.

What Do Students Need to Succeed - Depends on Who You Ask



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

A new research study indicates that students, graduates, and employers think there are a wide variety of skills and characteristics that need to be developed and refined before graduation.  Dr. Tylor Behrens of St. Mary’s University conducted the study, asking each group what skills are necessary for success in the workplace and answers ranged from confidence, teamwork and ability to manage stress to patience, networking, and goal driven.  But one characteristic was repeatedly emphasized by each group.  

Behrens interviewed 152 students who were recently offered a job, asking which personal qualities were necessary to make a successful transition from college to the work world. The top three responses for this group were:

  1. Effective writing and communication skills
  2. Leadership skills
  3. Time management skills

Behrens surveyed 159 recent grads who were hired in entry-level jobs.  Most agreed that their college degree helped them greatly in attaining the technical knowledge and training needed for a career. Their top three tips to current students about the most important skills:

  1. Communicate effectively
  2. Manage your time well
  3. Focus on customer service

Finally, responses were received from 166 hiring managers, representing small start-up to Fortune 500 corporations, who were asked, “What personal qualities do you look for in hiring a college student and what other characteristics should one possess in order to succeed?  The top three here again point toward communication skills:

  1. Personable
  2. Upbeat  
  3. Not intimidated to ask questions

Beyond the common thread of communication, however, Behrens notes that looking at what current and past students and employers think is needed for success differ substantially.  Behrens said, “The reasons the answers differed are because the skills needed at one phase of the "career-success formula" are quite a bit different from those at another stage. For example, the skills a student must possess to secure a job offer from an employer might differ greatly when it comes time for that student to perform on the job 12 months later.” Behrens calls these “situational” skills.

Behrens concludes that student success in life and career is based on their ability to master soft skills, transferable skills, interpersonal skills, and these situational skills. His work was recently published by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

How to Take Part in the Virtual Career & Internship Fair


 By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The UofL campus-wide Career and Internship Fair is coming up on Wednesday, September 30.  Because of the pandemic, this career fair and others this fall will be held on a virtual/remote basis.  In order to take part in the upcoming fair (and also the Graduate/Professional School Fair on October 14), you will need to register and then sign up for group sessions and/or individual employer meetings using the Handshake career management system.

If you have not used Handshake previously, you will need to set up your account and update your profile using your ULink user ID and password.  Log into Handshake using the UofL portal.  

Once logged in, you will be on Handshake’s homepage. Select the “Events” tab near the top of the page.  On the “Events” page, select “Career Fair” located at the top.  On the “Career Fair” page, you will see the name of each virtual fair, along with the date it is being held. Choose the career fair you wish to attend by selecting the bolded title.  Scroll down the page to see all information including the employers attending. Return to the previous page with the description of the fair and scroll up. Select the blue “Register” button on the right. 

If your Handshake profile is set to private, a window will appear instructing you to change profile visibility to participate in the virtual career fair. The Community setting will allow you to participate in both 1-on-1 and Group sessions.

After registering, you will receive an email from Handshake confirming you have successfully registered. You can click on the link in the email to select your sessions to meet with employers.

In the days prior to career fair events: 

  • Make sure your profile is complete and up-to-date and privacy setting is on Community.
  • Have your resume reviewed by UCC and uploaded into your Handshake account.
  • Ensure your webcam and microphone work.
  • Research employers for which you have scheduled sessions and have two or three appropriate questions.
  • Dress professionally for your webcam session.

For detailed instructions, please review our handout Preparing for Virtual Career Fairs.  For additional tips about virtual career fairs, please visit our Career Fair website.   



Class of 2019 Receiving Higher Starting Salaries


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The final report is in from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) and it shows students who graduated in 2019 received a nearly 6% starting salary increase over their undergraduate peers from the previous year.

The salary data was reported to NACE through its national Class of 2019 First-Destination Survey by approximately 356 colleges and universities nationwide and represent data for more than 94,000 bachelor’s degree graduates.

The final overall average starting salary for the Class of 2019 undergrads is nearly $54,000 with computer and information science majors topping the list for the fourth consecutive year (average starting salary of $77,000). Engineering students were second at $70,000. 

The academic discipline that saw the largest salary bump in 2019 was math and statistics majors at $67,000, a nearly 9% increase from 2018.  Health science majors were next at $53,500, while business majors saw an entry-level average salary of $52,000. Social science undergrads received an initial salary of $50,000, marking a 7% increase from the previous year.

As for what to expect in 2020, the director of the University Career Center, Bill Fletcher said students should be cautious with their expectations. "It is difficult to know how salaries will fare during a pandemic.  I suspect high demand majors will continue to do well.  In majors where supply and demand are balanced, salaries will most likely be flat or slightly down."

Mega Career Week & Virtual Career Fairs



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Virtual career fairs are coming up for UofL students. While there are many aspects of these events that are similar to a face-to-face career fair, there are elements that are different. To help you prepare, the University Career Center is holding a series of virtual workshops the week of September 21st.

Career fairs always provide great opportunities for students to explore the internship and job market. During a pandemic-driven, uncertain economy, the internship and job markets will be tight and highly competitive so these events are more important than ever before. You can use Mega Career Week events to give you an edge over the competition as you pursue internship and job opportunities. Here’s a preview of what we’ll be talking about during Career Week, in the form of a series of tips that will help you succeed during virtual career fairs.

  • Register for the virtual career fair ahead of time
  • Update your resume and social media profiles and be sure to upload an updated personal profile to the virtual career fair website
  • Research participating companies in advance, plan who to visit with and prepare questions
  • Practice your pitch
  • Check your technology in advance to be sure everything will be working when the virtual career fair starts
  • Pick a quiet, distraction-free location
  • Dress professionally as if you were going to be meeting in-person
  • When meeting with employers virtually, be sure to employ good non-verbal communication with attentive body language and eye contact
  • When talking to employers, take notes, get contact information to follow-up, ask about next steps and always be sure to send thank you notes the following day

Mega Career Week events include resume review on September 21, training on how to take part in virtual career fairs on September 22, career fair etiquette on September 23, networking post-career-fair on September 24, and virtual career fair trivia on September 25. More information is available on the Mega Career Week web page.

Difficult Internship and Job Market for Students



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

U.S. employers increased hiring in August but the pace has slowed and it could be a sign of a difficult economic recovery from the pandemic.  It also portends a tough job and internship search for students, certainly into the spring. 

The U.S. Labor Department reports unemployment fell to 8.2% in August from 10.4% in July.   Employers added 1.4 million jobs in August, but that number was boosted by temporary hires to complete the U.S. Census, and the increase was down from 1.7 million positions added in July.  

Some of the job recovery occurred in the manufacturing and service sectors according to the Labor Department. Despite the hiring, the U.S. economy has recovered less than half of the 22 million jobs that were lost this spring as the pandemic worsened.  

The director of the University Career Center, Bill Fletcher, said students need to be aware of the situation since it is more important than ever to prepare in advance for the internship and job markets. “We always advise students to network, update their resume and LinkedIn profiles, practice interviewing, explore all job/internship sources and listings, send out applications, and follow-up.  But now more than ever, being proactive and assertive is crucial.  Students who sit back and wait for things to happen for them in terms of internships and entry-level jobs are going to have big problems in this economy.”

The Labor Department also reported that about 25% of people with jobs in August were working virtually/remotely.   Fletcher believes the trend will continue in the future and students need to be prepared for that.  “Many employers have made a smooth transition to virtual work without any reduction in productivity.   Given the likelihood the pandemic will not end soon and also the fact that remote work has the potential to reduce overhead costs for companies, I think many of our students who enter the job market in the next two years will be working remotely.”

More Work Hours During the Pandemic



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Working from home during the COVID-19 crisis in some ways has been a blessing.  But remote work is also a double-edged sword that could have longer lasting implications even as the pandemic eases.  

Calvin Coker, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication who teaches a course in communication technologies, thinks we must acknowledge the positive impact of things like the Internet, computers, email, and conferencing apps during the pandemic. “Though this doesn’t hold true for many of the most essential workers in the economy, communication technology has allowed some folks to continue to work even through rigid social distancing requirements that make physical offices impossible. A segment of the population has been able to keep humming along even in the face of social distancing and COVID-19, largely because of technological connection.”  

Working from home obviously protects workers from COVID-19.  And, flexible at-home work schedules afford opportunities to take breaks and step outside, attend to medical appointments and personal matters, and work at times of day when feeling most productive.  

But work-from-home also blurs the lines of work and private/home life.  In so doing, it portends the potential of overworking and the National Bureau of Economic Research sees signs of that happening already. 

The Bureau conducted research on more than 3 million workers and found that since the COVID-19 crisis emerged, the average work day has grown by about 48 minutes. The same thing seemly happened during the “Great Recession” a decade ago when one-third of workers reported the economy had worsened their work-life balance as they took on more hours. 

Professor Coker thinks the current increase in at-home work hours results from two factors.  “First, a constricting job market creates fear for security. People end up working longer hours and taking on more responsibilities to make themselves invaluable, or to compensate for reductions in workforce. The second pressure corresponds with moving remote, and communication technology. We’d already been moving towards expectations of employees being ‘always on’ because of email or work chats on phones, and the pandemic has exacerbated that (rather toxic) trend with work being placed squarely in the physical household. The technology facilitates both surveillance of the employee, and increased workloads in the form of learning new interfaces and shifting expectations in the face of crisis.”

In addition to longer work hours, the Bureau’s research study shows workers are now sending more emails and holding more meetings. However, the meetings were shorter than usual, with the result that total time spent in meetings has actually decreased.

Longer work days may be a longer-term trend.  More companies have announced plans to keep employees working from home, even as the pandemic eases and society returns to a more normal daily existence. For example, Twitter’s 5,000 employees are being given the option to permanently work on a remote basis, and Facebook plans for half of its workforce to be working remotely within the next few years.  They are not alone. A new study by Gartner, a leading national consulting firm, shows 80% of companies surveyed plan to have their staff work remotely at least part-time.

Given that potential, is there something that employees can do to protect themselves from overworking?  According to Coker, “Though the temptation may be to lean into new technology adoption, consider making rigid boundaries which were previously set by the work day. Email or Slack on your phone inadvertently extends time working, especially when you are ‘off the clock’ at home. Physically distancing yourself from the technology will keep the compulsion to work longer hours at bay. Delete the apps if you can, or silence their notifications when you are nominally off duty.”  


Get Ready for Virtual Career Fairs


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many aspects of our lives to change and in many cases, to move online.  One more impact for students will be that career fairs all across the country are transitioning this fall from face-to-face to the online/virtual environment, including here at UofL.  But with a little preparation, you can take advantage of these events.

Like a face-to-face career fair, the virtual version is a recruiting event for employers to meet with potential employees and interns.  Students can use career fairs to learn about current and future opportunities, and to get a sense of the culture of multiple organizations in which they might have an interest.

In a virtual career fair, you’ll have the opportunity to meet with a variety of employers in an online chat room to present your resume, ask questions, learn about the organization and their mission, find out about opportunities and how to apply.  In addition to individual conversations, some employers will offer virtual group information meetings during the career fair. 

The director of the UofL University Career Center, Bill Fletcher, said it is important for students to register in advance for virtual career fairs.  “You should register so that you can then sign up for individual meetings with employers.  While many employers will have drop-in meeting times available, you can be sure to have the opportunity to meet with the employers you are interested in by signing up in advance.” Students should plan their time at the virtual career fair by targeting their top employers with which to meet.  

In some regards, Fletcher advises students to prepare for a virtual career fair in exactly the same way they would prepare for a face-to-face career fair.  That means updating your resume in advance, and writing/practicing your introductory “elevator speech” that describes yourself and what you are looking for. You will also want to make a list of questions to ask employers and plan to dress professionally as if you were meeting the recruiters in person. 

Beyond what you would do for a face-to-face career fair, Fletcher said students need to account for the technology that will be used. “We all know that anything that can go wrong with technology will go wrong.  So, test your equipment in advance. And be sure to pay attention to the room you will be in during the virtual career fair.   It should be free of distractions with good lighting and an appropriate, neutral kind of background.”

We will have more on virtual career fairs in upcoming articles.  Here’s a list of the upcoming UofL virtual career fairs.

Speed School of Engineering Career Fair - September 11

Ulmer Career Center School of Business Career Fair - October 9

University Career Center:

  • Nursing Career Fair - September 8
  • Fall Internship & Career Fair (all majors) - September 30
  • Graduate & Professional School Fair - October 14
  • Holiday Job Fair - Thursday, November 5


For more information about these events, contact your career center:


New Tool to Help Students Ace Interviews



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

UofL students now have access to a tool to improve interview skills. The University Career Center (UCC) is providing access to Big Interview, an easy-to-use online interviewing platform that combines training and practice to help improve skills and build confidence.  

Big Interview can answer all the questions students have about interviews. Students can complete the online curriculum and then record practice interviews through the site. Practice interviews are offered in a variety of interview types, industries, and difficulty levels. Students can then share the video recordings of their mock interviews with others to get feedback. 

Big Interview provides more than just information about interviews, however. There are also sections about effective negotiation, resume writing, and a guide to success in the first 90 days in a new role/position. 

UCC internship coordinator Maddie McNabb is excited about the potential of Big Interview to improve students’ interviewing skills.  “We believe students who take advantage of it will find it an invaluable tool in their next internship or job search. We also look forward to partnering with faculty and other campus entities to get students to participate in mock interviews through the Big Interview platform.”

All students with a UofL email address can create an account and start practicing.  Login and additional information is available on the UCC’s Interview Prep web page.  

Pandemic Forces Changes In Career Services


By Stuart Esrock Ph.D.

The coronavirus outbreak will alter how career services are delivered to UofL students in the fall.  While some services that have traditionally been handled on a face-to-face basis will move to virtual/remote, career development professionals at UofL indicate there are some benefits to the increasing emphasis in online technology.

The director of career services in the Speed School of Engineering, Mary Andrade, said her office is making more extensive use of their career services management system and for the first time moving to a virtual career fair.  “But that brings new opportunities to the table as well. Our career fair has always been limited by lack of space. This year we do not have to cap attendance because the virtual fair is less limited. We may also attract employers from farther away because travel is not an issue. We’re excited about the possibilities.”

Likewise, the College of Business fall career fair will be a virtual event.  The director of the Ulmer Career Management Center in the College, Eileen Davis, said demand for services in their program has been high as Business students and alumni negotiate changes in their jobs and in employers’ hiring practices. “The Ulmer Career Center is using MS Teams for our career coaching, resume review, and interview preparation and practice meetings, and we think it’s almost as effective as F2F engagement. We’ll continue using video meetings throughout the fall to keep everyone safe while we help with questions and career needs.”

 The director of the University Career Center, Bill Fletcher, said in addition to virtual career fairs, his office is moving more programming online. "Because the UCC serves over 50 academic departments, it is important that we connect with students in their academic disciplines.  With the majority of classes being online or hybrid, we are developing career content that can be delivered in classes asynchronously. Faculty can have students review the material then have a Career Coach participate in an online Q&A during class meetings.”

 And Fletcher said the UCC is increasing other online content as well. "In addition to Career Curriculum, we are developing Career Bytes, which are short 3-5 minute online presentations.  These complement the many videos we have on our website in CandidCareer." 

 Andrade said the coronavirus outbreak has actually created new career development programming opportunities for the Speed School. “We used to focus on employer panels that tapped into our local companies, but we are now reaching out to alumni in other cities for virtual programming which expands our topics to industries not well represented in Louisville.”

Davis said the College of Business is also expanding virtual programming that is open to all students.  "The Ulmer Career Center has launched ongoing job-search virtual meetings and students, alumni, and anyone else who’s job-hunting can join us. We’ve had speakers from the Kentucky Workforce Development Cabinet, LinkedIn, LG&E, and others present topics and take questions about how to be competitive in a challenging employment situation." Job search meetings happen every other Tuesday at 1:00 pm and are live-streamed on Facebook at "ULBiz Career."

Find out more about your career center as follows:

Engineering students here

Business students here

Law students here

All other UofL students here 

Internships Increase In '19-'20



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The University Career Center (UCC) is reporting a significant increase in internship/co-op listings in its career management system during the just completed school year.  But while those numbers are encouraging, the UCC is cautious about the coming school year that could potentially bring a tighter marketplace of opportunities.

There was a 72% increase in internships, co-op and experiential learning listings for 2019-2020 over the previous year. Within 60 miles of Louisville, the UCC has experienced 6% growth in these listings since 2017-18 (2018-19 and 2019-2020 were exactly the same).  UCC director Bill Fletcher explains the increase as an outgrowth of its career management system, Handshake. “More universities across the country have adopted the Handshake system. So, more schools on board equals more listings, in addition to a booming economy."

The vast majority of the increase in these positions during 2019-2020 occurred during the first three quarters of the year (July, 2019 through March, 2020).  With the onset of the pandemic in March, the last quarter of the year (April through June) still saw a small net increase of 24 listings when compared to the same quarter the previous year. According to Fletcher, "the pandemic clearly took the gusto out of the market during the last quarter, but it is amazing that even with the decline, listings for the last quarter were essentially the same as the previous year." 

So what lies ahead for the new school year?  Fletcher predicts, I suspect there will be internship, co-op, and experiential learning opportunities. However, it may not be exactly where, when, and how students want them. Flexibility and adaptability will be essential traits for students seeking positions.”  Fletcher added the caveat that much of this depends not only on the severity and longevity of the pandemic but also on any potential fallout from national elections. 


Louisville Company Touts UofL Grads


 By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

UofL graduates are highly responsible and have great communication skills.  At least that’s what the HR Manager for a Louisville company thinks. Staci McArter heads up human resource functions for PharmaCord, which connects pharmaceutical manufacturers, patients, and physicians.  In the last six months alone, the 3-year old company has hired 17 UofL graduates.   

McArter says UofL graduates have excelled in a couple of areas. “It is necessary for our team members in Patient Services to have strong critical thinking skills needed to offer solutions to complex issues faced by our patients and technology skills to navigate our case management system, both of which we feel our UofL grads bring with them. Generally they do seem prepared for entry level employment and do well retaining information.”

A couple of UofL grads who now work for PharmaCord speak highly of the company.  Marshall Kellner received a Master’s in Social Work from UofL in 2014 and since he was hired three months ago, he has quickly embraced his new employer.  “From leaderships’ transparent vision to a wonderful work culture centered around helping others, it is truly a great place to be. One thing that makes them very unique is by being a newer company, it allows for new ideas and PharmaCord embraces these as potential for growth.”

Josh Bowling received his MS in Social Work from UofL in 2018 and he, too, has been at the company for three months.  “This is my first employment opportunity outside of the non-profit realm as a social worker, and I am impressed with the diversity found among my team members, leadership who is authentic in their support of their employees, and the dedication and commitment to assisting our patients in receiving their medications promptly and with ease.”

So what advice do these PharmaCord employees have for UofL students preparing for the job market?  McArter said students should get used to job interviewing via video/remote technology. “We expect the same level of professionalism and preparation in a video interview than any other style of interview as this is a representation of how you will present yourself when you are representing PharmaCord as an employee.”

Kellner said, “My biggest advice for anyone is to ‘CHOOSE YOUR ATTITUDE.’ Embrace challenges with a solution focus, take initiative and enjoy the journey.”

Bowling advised, “Be persistent, utilize your resources, and network! To be blunt, the job market in Louisville is very competitive, and it will take time to find a job. Also, don’t be discouraged, because you have the added factor of COVID-19. You WILL find a job!”

According to McArter, people come first at PharmaCord, and that includes both patients and employees like Kellner and Bowling. “We are excited to have provided promotional opportunities for 25+ team members in the past year to those who have excelled and demonstrated a passion for the growth of our business, success of the programs and ultimately the success of our patients getting access to their medication. While we are growing quickly, our focus is to maintain our culture of teamwork, family, and passion for what we do.”

And McArter says PharmaCord is looking to do more hiring. “We are looking to fill Benefit Specialist and Case Manager positions within our company to support our upcoming client programs. While those with healthcare backgrounds seem to make a nice transition into our business, we find that students of all major categories can be very successful at PharmaCord if they have a passion for helping people navigate a complex healthcare process.”

PharmaCord has open positions currently listed on the University Career Center’s Handshake system.  For more information, click on each:


Be Willing to Learn and Willing to Fail



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The CEO of a nationwide non-profit that works to increase computer skills among young women urges students to be resilient and constantly pushing to advance knowledge and skills in the workplace.  Reshma Saujani founded Girls Who Code in 2012. The organization has grown to include 10,000 after-school clubs around the U.S. for girls from 3rd grade on up.  More recently, Girls Who Code has started college support programs, too. 

Saujani says the most important things she looks for in hiring employees are attitude and work experience.  “Now when I hire people, I don’t care where you went to school.  I couldn’t even tell you where 99% of my staff went. I couldn’t care less.  I care about, ‘Are you a hustler?  What experience have you had?  Are you a go-getter?’”

Saujani also looks for people who can quickly pivot from problems.  “We don’t allow for our children to fail and build resiliency in the way we need to.  At Girls Who Code, we are a big believer in failing fast.  So we’ll start something and then we’ll shut it down.  It is true that your job could be something in January and something else in May.  And so for a lot of people, that is unsettling because it’s like, ‘Whoa!’  So I want to cultivate that sense of - you want to learn, you want to fail, you want to grow, you want to develop.  It’s not necessarily about being a generalist but it’s about being someone who can actually do a multitude of things.”

The role of women in the work world is increasingly prominent, and Saujani is working particularly to increase that in the technology sector.  “I think girls and women are change makers.  I think we see a problem, climate change, bullying, ‘Blacks Lives Matter,’ and we want to do something about it.  And I think technology is an accelerator to social change, or it should be I should say.  And we need more women with computer science backgrounds who are building the next WayUps and Ubers because we come at it from a different sensibility and a different commitment to equity which I think is very, very important.”

Saujani had multiple careers in finance, law, government, and politics before starting a non-profit.  She said it is important to know when it is time to leave a position/field to do something that you are passionate about. “For most of my life I hated what I did. And Sunday would roll around and I would want to drink that second or third glass of wine and crawl back into bed because I didn’t want Monday to come because I wasn’t feeling fulfilled.  If you feel that way, it’s time to go, it really is. Because while life is long, life is short. And if you know what your purpose is and what you want to do, get to it I would say. But, that being said, in my need to put a dent into my student loan debt, I always had a day job and a night job, always had a night hustle.  I’ve always had something I was working on, something I was passionate about, something furthering my public purpose. So find your night hustle.”  

At the same time, given the public health crisis, she said this is probably not the time to figure out your life and instead given the situation, the most important thing is to take care of yourself.  Reshma Saujani, who serves on the board of overseers of Harvard, predicts the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis will be with us for a couple of years and that as a consequence, we will all have to get more comfortable with remote learning. She was the featured speaker for a recent virtual lunch and learn session, sponsored by WayUp, a job website and mobile app for college students and recent graduates. Find out more about WayUp at:

Coronavirus Brings Changes for Engineering Students & Career Services



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The fall semester will certainly be different than normal for students, faculty and staff at UofL.   But the director of career services in the Speed School of Engineering said we can all make adjustments to move forward during these trying times and harness the opportunities that are available.

Mary Andrade and her colleagues at the Speed School will be forced to meet virtually with students this semester, and for the first time their career fair will be a virtual event.  But that means they may be able to attract employers from outside the region since travel will not be an issue.  She notes the pandemic also will impact how the Speed School interacts with companies, and that will also impact how students interact with employers.  “You can’t rely on your in-person impression because it might be limited. Follow up is very important and clarity and succinctness in communication becomes increasingly important.”

Andrade concedes that it may be a struggle for students looking for jobs and co-ops in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.  But she suggests students can utilize the crisis to their advantage when they are searching for a position. “There are so many considerations in looking at job prospects. But you can quickly learn a lot about company culture when asking about how the company has responded to COVID-19.”

Andrade advises those seeking positions to particularly focus on one job search strategy.  “You should put extra effort into reaching out and building your network. There are opportunities out there. Certain sectors have had great growth and companies are very open to new ideas as we are facing novel issues.”

For those who choose to sit out of the job market because of the pandemic, Andrade warns to not stall out. “This is a great time to build your skills so that when this passes and the economy grows again, you’ll be ready to compete with the many people entering the market again. I highly suggest ‘upskilling.’ All UofL students are eligible for a free public library card. That card gets you access to which is the same platform as LinkedIn Learning (which is also a good investment). You can augment your college education with certifications and badges in hundreds of topics for free. The university also offers excellent technical training through the IBM Skills Academy and other areas through the Center for Digital Transformation.”

Engineering students can find out about the upcoming virtual career fair, co-ops, and career services on the Speed School website.



Education Means Higher Income & Less Unemployment



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D. 

The coronavirus pandemic might lead some students to think about putting a hold on their education or perhaps even taking the drastic step of dropping out of school.  If you are thinking about one of those options, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has a message for you: DON’T!  New research from the Bureau indicates the higher the level of education you have, the more money you will make and the less likely you are to be unemployed.

A new study by the Bureau shows workers age 25 and over with less than a high school education had the highest unemployment rates and the lowest weekly earnings during 2019.  Workers with graduate degrees had the highest earnings and lowest unemployment rate.

The Bureau reports those with a Bachelor’s degree in 2019 earned a median year-long wage of nearly $65,000 and experienced unemployment of about 2.2%.  To contrast, the median for those with only a high school diploma was $39,000, while their unemployment rate was 3.7%.  At the top end of the scale, Ph.D.s median earnings were $98,000 and unemployment was 1.1%.

According to the Bureau, “Each level of education you complete may help you develop more skills, give you access to higher paying occupations, and signal that you’re able to follow through on important tasks, such as planning ahead and meeting deadlines, that employers value.”

The director of the UofL University Career Center, Bill Fletcher, said while unemployment rates for all education levels have increased due to the pandemic, students still have many reasons to stay in school and persist toward their degree. "First, students should take the long view in that an education is a lifetime investment. The pandemic will subside and the economy will rebound.  Second, as the data show, the higher the education level, the lower the unemployment rate.  Thus, dropping out would put one at greater risk of being unemployed.  Finally, staying in college could provide the opportunity to 'ride out the storm' and graduate in a better economy."   Fletcher added, "Although the degree is important, making the most of the college experience and developing a solid career plan is also critical.”


Career Paths for Black Students


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

A UofL student has created a non-profit organization to help black students advance their career aspirations.  Ethan Volk is a sophomore from Bowling Green, double majoring in Business Economics and Philosophy. He co-founded the Eckford Virtual Mentorship Program to keep the door open for black students to the job market.

Ethan Volk 

Volk said he and his co-founders were moved to action as they discussed how to contribute to the advancement of minorities after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. “We identified gaps in black achievement and black professional success and saw that black students often lacked personal and family connections in industry to help give job referrals and expose them to the type of professional opportunities that lead to the best careers. We wanted to cut the degrees of separation between the black community.”

The Eckford Program is trying to connect black students to competitive jobs and internships through mentoring. “By connecting black students to black professionals, we aim to, one - give black professionals the ability to directly diversify their industry and, two - give students the industry connections they need to become more strategically competitive for opportunities.”

The program is named for Elizabeth Eckford.  In 1957, she opened the door for a new generation of black students as part of the Little Rock 9, a group of black students who enrolled at a previously all-white high school in Arkansas. Volk is working with some former classmates on the project including Andre Battle at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Elvin Irisamye at IU-Bloomington, and Anas Gondal at Duke University. 

Already, the program has generated a presence on the Internet with a website, Instagram page, and LinkedIn account.  Volk said, “Currently our focus is on increasing awareness about our organization, and our members have been reaching out to potential mentors and campus organizations around the country who would be able to assist us making students aware of our organization and the opportunities we seek to provide.” 

And Volk said they have met with some initial success. “We’ve had the amazing opportunity to connect with more than a few universities and engage their black communities, most notably here at UofL and at Indiana University. In addition, we’ve garnered industry support in a wide range of places and aim to gain a few more partners in equity here in Louisville.

Volk said the program focused on virtual communication because of the coronavirus pandemic.  In so doing, it provides an added benefit. “It allows students to connect with professionals who they previously may have not had access to because of their location. The black student community hasn’t had the same luxury in having easy access connections in the professional world. We aim to cut degrees of separation so that a first-gen Louisville black business student can gain a world-class black professional mentor working in New York or Chicago. This has all become possible because of technology, and specifically developments in telecommunication from this period of coronavirus lockdown.”

Volk came to UofL, initially planning pre-med studies and a career helping others. While he has changed his major, his longer-term plan to benefit the community remains. “I hope to utilize my education to help uplift others in any way possible, and I think that the Eckford Program will help give me hands on experience in learning to use the strength of community to empower people to fundamentally change inequities in existing structures.”

If you want to connect with the Eckford Virtual Mentorship Program, you can check out their website, Instagram page, or LinkedIn profile.

Employers Advise Students to Build "Soft Skills"



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The knowledge that college students are building in the classroom is certainly important.  But in a recent virtual panel session, employers suggested that UofL students need to be developing a broader knowledge and skill set.  

That was one of the takeaways in a virtual Q&A session from the University Career Center, featuring Aidan Keenan, a corporate recruiter for Kroger and Brittany Mecham, an integrated recruitment specialist from UPS.

Both Keenan and Mecham suggested so-called “soft skill” development is crucial. Soft skills pertain to things like how well you work in a team, problem-solving ability, management of people, leadership, and ownership/stewardship of projects. Also important, general communication skills like writing and speaking. 

According to Mecham, “We always are looking for people who know how to talk because no matter what you are going to be doing and in whatever career you want, you are going to have to be able to talk to people.  You really want to be able to make good connections and good relationships with your teammates because you are going to be relying on them, you are going to be working on projects together.  So those soft skills are always good communication, problem solving and working with other people.  Those are the top three that we really look for across the board with the recruiting that we are involved in.”

Keenan said a strong set of soft skills can yield short-term advantages for job seekers, but also longer-term benefits. "Connecting to your work ethic, your passion and drive.  Those are important skills that will take you farther in your career." 

Students should highlight soft skills as one facet of their resume since it has become an important factor that employers consider.  What about GPA?  Mecham said, “Your resume should show other skills that you have besides just ‘I’m really good at taking tests and I’m really good at getting my assignments in on-time.’  I think it’s definitely a piece of what we are looking for as an employer but it doesn’t tell the whole story and it’s not the end-all, be-all of determining if you will get a job or not.”

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, it appears for the foreseeable future that career fairs will be held virtually/remotely.  Keenan said students should prepare for a virtual career fair the same way they would prepare for a traditional career fair in a physical environment. “It might look different but the preparation piece of it should still stay the same.  So, it is still dress professionally, rehearse your pitch, really showcase yourself to that recruiter and be able to highlight your qualities.  It also relates back to virtual interviewing too, having that quiet space where you can attend the career fair and if you are on video, having a non-distracting background. Take into account sound quality.  Look into the camera and have direct eye contact so you are still having that digital ‘handshake.’ Although you are not actually touching, you are still doing that rapport piece which is really crucial.”

Mecham adds students need to do research in advance of virtual career fairs.  They should know something about the companies they want to talk to, and also about the positions in which they have an interest.  According to Mecham, that can very much help to guide the conversation.  

Once those internship or job offers come along, students need to be prepared, at least for now, for the possibility of remote work.  Keenan said in order to thrive, students need, “…to have a space that you call your own work space for the virtual environment and being flexible and adaptable to change since our environment is constantly changing.”

Mecham said for virtual work, students should set up a specific schedule.  "You don’t have anyone there watching you.  So, it is really up to you to have that perseverance and the hard work ethic to get everything done that you need to do during a day so that you really need to set up a good schedule.  Another really important thing is to take breaks because it is a long day sitting at your desk every single day, on your camera or on your email, whatever project you are working on. It can get really long … take a break, stand up and walk around, move around a bit.  And, schedule some time so you can meet with your team and that's not really work-focused.  Every week we try to do something fun like a meditation, yoga, we’ve done a happy hour.  Trying to keep some of that team-bonding there and making sure we are getting things done even though we are not all sitting together in the office.”

To watch the full Q&A session with Aidan Keenan from Kroger and Brittany Mecham from UPS, as well as other virtual workshops from the UofL University Career Center, visit the UCC Virtual Workship Page

Planning For a Turbulent Market And Change


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

It seems like a day does not pass now without changes announced about public gatherings, public health recommendations, swings in the economy, and a chaotic labor market.   But career development experts say that in order to navigate times like these and successfully enter the workforce, students need to be ready to respond to the complexities and the uncertainty.  “Planned happenstance skills are a set of competencies to deal effectively with unplanned events generated by chaotic environment (Mitchel, Levin & Krumboltz, 1999).”  And the director of the UofL University Career Center says this set of skills is particularly important for students during the Covid-19 pandemic as they prepare for the job market.  

Bill Fletcher said students need to focus on the things they can control “We cannot control happenstance and chaos, but these career theories encourage students to plan for, and take advantage of, things that come about naturally. Students can control how they take advantage of these unplanned events.”

Happenstance theory dictates that students prepare for the unexpected, like a world-wide pandemic that creates upheaval in the global economy.  In response, career development experts suggest students proactively work on things like building their network, enhancing their interview skills, revising their resume, and devising a multi-faceted internship or job search strategy.  

Fletcher said in a chaotic environment, students should also be open to new possibilities. “Being able to pivot and adjust are not just career skills, but work and life skills.  It is great to have a plan, but most plans need adjusting along the way.” 

In their research on happenstance, Mitchel and colleagues recommend that students work on a set of five more generalized characteristics that will help them to seize the opportunities that become available.   These include:

Curiosity - exploring new learning opportunities

Persistence - exerting effort despite setbacks

Flexibility - changing attitudes and circumstances

Optimism - viewing new opportunities as possible and attainable

Risk taking - taking action in the face of uncertain outcomes

Working to enhance these characteristics can create “a good basement for starting off students’ careers with strong human and psychological capital. The planned happenstance skills help survival and ensure success in the contemporary world of work”(Valickas, Raišienė, & Rapuano, 2019).  

Fletcher says students ultimately should realize that most career paths do not take a simple, linear route. “When networking with others, ask them about their career path.  Look for examples of ‘happenstance’ and how they leveraged situations to move forward in their careers.  Most people take a career path with many twists and turns because of how they react to what is going on in the current environment.” 


Mitchel, K.E., Levin, S.A., and Krumboltz, J.D. (1999). Planned happenstance: Constructing unexpected career opportunities. Journal of Counseling and Development, 77, 115–124.

Agota, A.V., Raišienė, G., and Rapuano, V. (2019). Planned Happenstance Skills as Personal Resources for Students’ 

Psychological Wellbeing and Academic Adjustment. Psychology of Sustainability and Sustainable Development, 20 June. Online at:

Roller Coaster Job Market



 By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The U.S. unemployment rate has dipped downward in recent weeks and while that may offer some hope for job seekers, a significant number of employers are still revoking job offers to recent graduates.  That’s the latest news from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). 

June’s unemployment number was 11.1%, down from 13.3% in May.  The U.S. Labor Department reported that employers added 4.8 million jobs in June as more businesses around the country re-opened.  The chief economist for the Glassdoor website that posts job listings, Andrew Chamberlain, said the improved unemployment report sends a “powerful signal of how swiftly U.S. job growth can bounce back and how rapidly businesses can reopen once the nation finally brings the coronavirus under control — a reason for optimism in coming months.”

But, a NACE survey of nearly 250 employers from across the nation indicated that 7.8% revoked or planned to revoke full-time job offers to 2020 college graduates.  That number is up from 4.4% on May 1, but down from 9% in mid-June.  As a point of comparison, the revoked offer rate reached a peak of 9.5% during the Great Recession of 2008-09.

While the numbers are slightly better in the last month, experts note the unemployment rate is still at its highest level in decades, and they caution that there could be more turbulence in the job market as the pandemic persists and even potentially worsens. According to Chamberlain, "With surging COVID-19 cases hitting new highs in the past week, rough waters are surely ahead for the economy in the coming months as a second wave could again shutter millions of American small businesses and put a freeze on hiring.” 

NACE further reported that 31% of respondents are delaying the start date for their new full-time hires from the class of 2020, a rate that has remained fairly constant in recent weeks.  In addition, 58% of employers will have their new hires start work remotely, down from 66% on June 1. NACE attributes that drop to more companies re-opening their workplaces in recent weeks.

The director of the UofL University Career Center, Bill Fletcher, said the unemployment rates and NACE data all continue to point toward the need for current students to do everything in their power to optimize their career planning efforts. "It is important to focus on things you can control, such as researching organizations, networking, preparing resumes and cover letters, practice interviewing.  Don't fixate on things out of your control, such as the economy, but use it as a form of motivation.  History has shown that the economy will improve!"

Getting Hired Now - Employer Panel Q&A



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The UofL University Career Center (UCC) will host a Q&A discussion forum with major employers to offer students tips on getting ready for the job market in the midst of the global pandemic. The “Getting Hired Now” virtual event will take place on Wednesday, July 15, 12 noon to 1 pm.  

Panelists include Aidan Keenan from Kroger and Brittany Mecham from UPS.  The associate director of the UCC, Donna Lee, said students who take part in the Q&A will find out that despite the COVID-19 crisis, employers still have hiring needs.  “As companies continue to pivot with rapid agility in response to coronavirus, they are making every effort to build better bridges of communicating with students to ensure an even more successful transition from college to career. And, they are also doing a better job of training managers to onboard new hires.”

Students are encouraged during the Q&A to submit their questions for the panelists. The event will be held in MS Teams. To take part in the event on July 15, click on this link:  Attendees are reminded to mute microphones.

Getting Hired Now

Virtual Career Fairs Are Coming



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Career development professionals expect that most career fairs during the fall will be virtual/remote events, and the trend could persist into 2021.  That means students need to be prepared in order to take advantage of these online events.  

In a virtual career fair, employers and job seekers meet virtually using a variety of different platforms to exchange information about job openings. Job seekers typically upload resumes and schedule video chats with employers or may simply browse companies’ virtual “booths,” similar to a career fair in a face-to-face environment.

The UofL University Career Center is planning several of these virtual events including a nursing career fair on September 8, a university-wide internship and career fair on September 30, a graduate school and professional fair on October 14, and a holiday jobs fair on November 5. 

UCC associate director Donna Lee said students need to prepare for a virtual career fair just as they would a face-to-face career fair. “For a virtual career fair, you still need to research the employers to see what they are hiring for, just like you would for a traditional career fair in a physical location. And on the day of the fair, be ready to devote the time to ‘visit’ each booth... that means your resume has been critiqued in advance like a traditional career fair and ready to place in their ‘drop box.’  In addition, you need to be dressed as if it is a face-to-face interview because they may ask to ‘meet’ with you one-on-one and you would need to turn your camera on.”

There are some things students can do starting now to get ready for the fall virtual career fair season.  If you have not been communicating much virtually, start doing so now.  You want to test your equipment to be sure your microphone, camera and speaker or headset all work well.  Practice good body language and eye contact as you communicate with others virtually.  You should also pay attention to the environment you are in; be sure you have a distraction-free place to utilize. Lighting is important so that you don’t have a bright background that makes it difficult to see you. And you’ll want an appropriate background behind you with perhaps a book shelf, plants or a nice piece of artwork.  

As Lee suggested, this is also a good time to update your resume.  Make sure it is up-to-date and highlights your skills, knowledge, and accomplishments that highlight your candidacy for a job or internship.  Later as the virtual career fairs approach, you can make final resume changes specific to companies with whom you want to meet. You’ll also want to update your social media profiles, paying special attention to LinkedIn since many companies will want to check you out on that platform. 

Lee said in a virtual recruiting landscape, students need to be working now to advance one specific area of their competence.  “This recruiting landscape will likely not be changing anytime soon so students should be constantly focusing on the soft skills that will make you marketable.  Those soft skills include technical/ digital skills.  What is your digital literacy? Are you well-practiced with video etiquette?”

But whether face-to-face career fair or virtual/remote, Lee said students can be doing other things now to advance their career readiness.  “Career readiness includes familiarity with tools that companies use to recruit beyond Handshake.  And it’s always important to research and stay present with employers online” 

One last thing to always work on is your pitch to employers.  You should practice so that it becomes second nature to confidently talk to potential employers (and networking contacts) about who you are, your credentials, what makes you unique, and what you want to do.

In the coming weeks as the virtual career fairs approach, we’ll have more tips for you about getting ready and what to do during these events.


Continued Mixed Signals in Job Market



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

A significant number of employers are delaying start dates for new hires amidst the coronavirus outbreak. That’s the latest word from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).  At the same time, the association reports most starting employees will be working remotely, at least to begin.

NACE started a new survey of employers on June 1 and as of June 15, there were 135 respondents.  Almost twice as many employers now report they have revoked full-time job offers made to class of 2020 graduates (9%) than what NACE reported in its April poll. 

At this point, a full third of the employers have delayed start dates for their new hires, most in the range of one to three months.  Among the factors employers considered in determining whether to delay start dates were local government orders/regulations (62%), statewide orders/regulations (62%), and whether reliable safety procedures for opening back up have been established (60%).

The director of the UofL University Career Center, Bill Fletcher, offered a mixed interpretation of these NACE survey results.  “Although the number of revoked offers has increased, it is still relatively low, given the current circumstances.  It also shows that, unlike the last recession, most employers are more cautious about halting their recruitment and hiring, and are delaying start dates versus revoking offers altogether."

Fletcher further points to the number of job postings on the University Career Center’s career management system as evidence of a job market that is not decimated, at least at this point. “The volume of positions posted in Handshake remains steady, and is still above the total for the same period last year. This indicates employers are still hiring."

Almost two-thirds of employers in the NACE study will start their new full-time hires working remotely.  About 25% plan for the remote start to last one to three months, while nearly 60% have not yet determined how long virtual work will last.

The Danger of "Underemployment"

Dangerous First Jobs: The Problem Of “Underemployment”

By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

While the global pandemic and a tight job market might lead recent graduates to feel like they have to take the first job offer that comes along, that can lead to “underemployment.”  And the director of the UofL University Career Center thinks that is something of which you need to be wary.  

Bill Fletcher said underemployment involves a job that doesn’t utilize your education, experience or past training.  It can also involve earning less than what is normal for someone with your education and experience, or having part-time work but wanting to work full-time.  

Underemployment is fairly common, even in better economic times than we are now experiencing.  Research by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York indicated that between 1990 and 2012, about a third of college graduates aged 25-65 worked in jobs that did not require a degree.  The NY Fed reported that number rose to 44% of recent graduates aged 22 to 27 by 2012.  More recently, 76% of those surveyed in 2016 by said that they were not using their education or training, and 46% considered themselves underemployed.  

Fletcher said underemployment can have long-term negative consequences for your career.  “There is a compounding effect of starting in a lower position in terms of gaining necessary on-the-job training and earning potential. It is easier and faster to climb the career ladder if you start out on a higher rung." 

Individuals who find themselves underemployed face significant financial losses.  Burning Glass Technologies reports that recent graduates who are working in positions for which they are over-qualified earn on average $10,000 less per year than their peers who are working in college-level jobs.  

The trap of underemployment can be difficult to break.  An unfulfilling job can result in you being less than invested in work and sub-standard effort, harming your chances to advance or change positions.  And if you are not using the skills and knowledge in which you are invested, those can stagnate and further impair your ability to move into an industry or field you truly desire.  

Unfortunately, a significant number of people find themselves in a cycle of underemployment.  According to a 2018 research study from the Strada Institute for the Future of Work and Burning Glass, 43% of college grads were underemployed in their first job.  Then, 28% of college grads remain underemployed five years later and 21% still were without college-level work at the 10-year mark. 

In some financial situations, Fletcher realizes you may have to take a less than desired position to pay bills.  But he urges you to be conscious of underemployment and make the best of the situation. "Your first job, whether underemployed or not, should allow you the opportunity to volunteer for projects or take on a new role to gain skills to advance to your next position. Don't get stuck in a rut performing a task. Thus, some underemployed positions may provide better learning opportunities than others.”

Fletcher also recommends you actively work to break the underemployment cycle.  “Make sure to identify gaps in your skill base and work to better yourself in those areas.  And, always build relationships and network since that can be the key to obtaining leads on jobs that are a better fit for you.”

Other strategies to overcome underemployment include: 

* Think about the possibility of a career change to a field/industry that still allows you to apply your skills and knowledge base.

* Consider opportunities you may have neglected in the past that again fit your skills and knowledge.  

* Research the market, looking for growth industries like healthcare, logistics and IT for example.


Persistence Pays Off for UofL Alums


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The Great Recession of 2007-2009 was a dark economic time in the U.S. and globally. The real estate market crashed, banks went under, and millions of people lost their jobs.  It took 6-plus years for unemployment rates to fully recover from the most severe economic meltdown since the Great Depression.   Now, recent graduates and students who will be graduating in the next year face the prospects of an uncertain economy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. So, what advice can job seekers who confronted the Great Recession offer to today’s students and recent graduates?

We talked to two UofL graduates from that last economic crisis to provide some perspective.  Katie O’Sullivan completed her MBA in 2008 and today works as the Director of Communications at the Nerinx Hall High School in St. Louis.  Gavin LaPaille graduated with a BA in Communication in 2009 and works today as a data manager at Humana in Louisville.  Both had initial difficulties looking for a job after leaving UofL.

O’Sullivan admits that she had unrealistic expectations about the jobs she could obtain and salary she was going to receive in the midst of a recession. “I found myself falling back on my undergraduate degree in journalism to even be able to get interviews, which made me question if grad school had been worth it and I was discouraged about the future.”

After months of trying, O’Sullivan landed her first job as a spokesperson for the St. Louis County Police Department, although it wasn’t what she really wanted to do.  “I just assumed I would do something finance/business related. Ultimately though, my career was permanently altered by that first job. It might not have been my dream job at the time, but it set me up for a clear path forward. And though the timing of my degree was a little unfortunate, I am still so glad I had my experience at U of L. There are so many lessons I learned in my program that I continue to use every day.” 

LaPaille found himself competing with older, more experienced applicants when looking for his entry-level job in the midst of the recession. “Businesses were laying off employees and eliminating positions left and right, so there wasn't much to pick from and most were looking for someone who had more professional experience than I did as a new graduate. I had expectations of entertaining multiple job offers upon graduation, and I discovered very quickly that wasn't going to happen.”

LaPaille initially lived with his parents to ease the financial burden of unemployment until he landed his first temporary position, and later a full-time position troubleshooting cell phone customer problems.  But it wasn’t the “right” job. “The whole experience was incredibly humbling. I had always excelled in school and had completed several internships while in undergrad, in addition to working for the school newspaper, so I thought I had done all the right things to put myself in position for success after college. But when I started applying and interviewing for jobs and then later getting the call or email that they were going in another direction; I began to realize how difficult it was going to be to achieve the level of success professionally that I wanted.” 

In LaPaille’s case, his work toward a fulfilling career path included a side trip for a master’s degree after two years of positions that were just not what he really wanted. “I'd never planned to go back to school, and in some ways, it felt like I was admitting failure when I first enrolled, but I had a different perspective the second time around and the opportunity to broaden my experiences, both professionally and personally. It was after getting my master’s that I was able to turn the corner and start seeing some of the successes I thought would come so easily in 2009. It definitely made me appreciate what came my way later on, and still does to this day in a way that I never would have otherwise.”

So, what advice do these UofL graduates have for job seekers in the midst of a global pandemic?  O’Sullivan says first and foremost, network-network-network.  “Start making calls to any connections you may have from UofL, student organizations, your high schools, or friends/family. I currently work at a high school, and have had a lot of young alums reach out to say they were looking for jobs. People really are willing to help if they can, and you just have to be open to what you might consider that you previously would not have. I have picked up more unknown numbers since March than I have in the last 10 years. Take advantage of that and make some phone calls (not texts or emails) to let people know you are looking.”

LaPaille suggests to remember that your first job, or even the second one, does not necessarily define who you are as a person. “It's important to look yourself in the mirror and feel confident in who you are, even if you're not happy with what you're doing professionally. Everyone used to tell me it would work out eventually - and it did - but in the moment, it can definitely feel like things are never going to get better.” 

O’Sullivan thinks graduate school could be an option for some students, but those who are looking for jobs need to consider expanding the possibilities geographically beyond Louisville and Kentucky.  She also recommends potentially working in a political campaign or volunteering for a cause you believe in, to fill in gaps in your resume and also to meet people.  Above all else, she urges you to keep active and keep pushing.  “We are often told as young people to find a job we love, but that can be difficult under the best of circumstances and even more so in a financial crisis. If I could tell 22 or 24-year-old me something, it would be to recognize that fact. Sometimes we are lucky to find jobs we love, but sometimes we just have to find a job for a year or two that leads to something bigger and better. If you can find something that allows you time to continue to explore your passions outside work, and that shows you what step might be next in your career, those are significant wins.”

LaPaille, too, says above all else, be persistent. “You have to fight through that the best you can. There's going to be aspects of job hunting that seem incredibly unfair, whether it be a position you wanted not working out or seeing others who you don't think worked as hard as you getting to a level of success faster than you. Everyone's path is different, and you never know what those skills you learn in that job you think is beneath you will eventually lead to. The worst thing you can do is give up and quit trying - then it definitely won't get any better. Keep plugging away and putting yourself in good positions, and eventually someone will notice.”

UofL Students, Graduates, and Contact Tracing



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

One of the most important factors in reducing the toll of COVID-19 and halting its spread will be contacting those who have the illness and then warning those with whom they have been in contact. It’s called “contact tracing,” and UofL is involved in the effort. 

The Dean of the UofL School of Public Health and Information Sciences, Craig Blakely, said “In short, what we are trying to do in absence of a vaccine, is shift from our broad-focused state-wide stay-at-home strategy to one where we more aggressively isolate those who are positive and those who have been in contact with them. If we can stop spread at points of contact, then the rest of us are more free to move about—practicing physical distancing, etc.”

Blakely said the School of Public Health is actively involved in city and state contact tracing efforts. “We believe that our students would be great team players in this setting. They have a great foundation and can easily get trained up for these jobs. It would be a great experience for them and a huge resume builder. Some can get practicum or capstone experience credit for doing this.” 

Already, some current and former UofL students are doing volunteer contact tracing work.  Delana Gilkey will graduate this December with a Master’s in Public Health. The Louisville native volunteered to work with the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health because she wanted to make a difference in her community.  “I felt that sharing news articles or writing posts, judging and telling other people what to do via social media, wasn’t making a difference or helping at all. Instead, if anything, it was only bringing to light the inequalities between communities of high socioeconomic status and low socioeconomic status. As a result, I became very intrigued with educating myself on the coronavirus, and I began to feel a constant tug that I should be doing something more to help.”


Delana Gilkey

For Eriqc Lumzy, volunteering to do contact tracing work embodies how he feels about his Public Health major.  Lumzy, who hails from Richmond, Virginia, just completed his BA degree. “I am passionate and eager to get involved with public health. I saw this as a great opportunity to have a direct impact on a once in a lifetime pandemic.”


Eriqc Lumzy

Gilkey said her contact tracing work has been equally gratifying, humbling, and frustrating.  “I have had an incredible opportunity to be able to comfort people who have tested positive and provide support to families who have lost a loved one to the coronavirus. I have also had encounters with individuals who were skeptical that I was really with the local Health Department and didn’t want to share any information or refused to comply to isolation orders. But being able to just provide a listening ear and having the chance to educate callers and answer their questions feels like I’m contributing and we’re making progress. As a result of being able to help during these tough times, I have learned so much. I’m eager to keep this momentum.”

Likewise, Lumzy thinks he is having a vital impact on the community. “It feels great knowing that I can take part in saving countless lives and helping us get back to somewhat of a normal life. Prior to volunteering, I assumed that because of the wide spread news coverage, everyone knew how serious COVID-19 was. The lack of knowledge became apparent within my first day of volunteering. I was proud to be providing life-saving information.” 

Gilkey has learned an important sense of empathy through her work, and also the importance of critical thinking.  “Being able to sympathize with other people during this time is crucial. It can be as easy as providing a listening ear or helping hands. This experience has also proven that it is important to do your own research, to read credible articles that not only interest you but that you also understand so that you are able to understand the impact the coronavirus can have, and to form your own opinion.  Most importantly, if you feel a continuous tug to get involved, you should follow that feeling and try to help out where you can.” 

For Lumzy, the experience has brought a recognition of what our community desperately needs. “This experience has changed my perspective on the inequalities of resources that make minorities more susceptible to diseases and outbreaks.”

While the current contact tracing work is being done at the city and state level, Dean Craig Blakely from the School of Public Health notes that UofL is going to undertake a parallel effort. “We are engaged in planning. I presume public health students will be in the middle of all of this. Of course, A&S, social work, nursing—all could be engaged as well. It’s important work.”

Indeed it is important work and we can all be thankful, and grateful, that UofLers like Delana Gilkey and Eriqc Lumzy are involved.  If you know of UofL students doing important work in our community as we battle coronavirus, please send an  so we can highlight their story.

Growth of Micro Internships



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Many students know the benefits of an internship.  They provide students with practical experience to apply what has been learned in the classroom.  Internships also give students an opportunity to network, find out first-hand what a particular field is really like (as opposed to hearing about it in the classroom), and they let students test out whether that type of position is  really something they want to do.  But during difficult economic times like a COVID-19 economy, a traditional internship could be difficult to find.  Stepping into the void increasingly is something referred to as a “micro-internship.”

Micro-internships are project-based positions that involve a much smaller time commitment than the traditional internship.  Positions typically center on short-term projects requiring 5 to 40 hours of work that would be given to a new hire or intern, and students receive a fixed fee for their work.  Most project deadlines range from one week to one month. Micro-internship projects include sales/lead generation, content development and data entry for just a few examples.  It’s an opportunity for students to gain important, real-world experience and get paid at the same time.

The director of UofL’s University Career Center, Bill Fletcher, said micro-internships are not a new concept. “Micro-internships have been around for a few years but the pandemic has moved it to the forefront of career issues as the vast majority of these projects are completed remotely.  Thus, students in Louisville could complete micro-internships with west or east coast employers while currently taking classes - opportunities they may not have otherwise been able to complete.” 

The virtual nature of micro internships potentially benefits students in other ways.  They provide time and geographic flexibility, which is important for some students who may lack transportation or have problems fitting a traditional internship into their academic schedule.

Beyond the benefits of a remote experience, while many students may only have one opportunity to do a traditional internship that could impact their career choices, the micro-concept can potentially open a range of options. The short-term nature of micro-internships allows students to explore a wide variety of potential career directions by executing multiple projects. 

The micro-internship can provide a needed, quality alternative to a traditional internship.  Fletcher said the reality is some students simply encounter circumstances that don’t allow them to do a traditional internship. “Online students who may have a full-time job, military students, student athletes, and adult learners, most of whom have other time commitments, can't take the time off to complete regular internships.” Traditional internships may also not be possible because of, for example, a student’s economic or life situation, an inability to relocate, or a lack of social capital/networking connections. In all of these situations, at the very least a student can gain some level of practical experience with a micro-internship.    

Some schools have started micro-internship-like programs.  Northeastern University has a program called the “Experience Network,” in which students work on projects for employers from six to eight weeks.  And on the west coast, Stanford University has a summer program in which students work on a series of projects for employers.  

Nationally, a company called Parker Dewey has come to the forefront as a clearinghouse for micro-internships.  The company maintains a website on which students register and create accounts.  Employers post positions on the website and pay rates.  When students complete a micro-internship, payment comes from Parker Dewey, which keeps a 10% fee from the employer.  

Bottom line is that it appears there will be more micro-internship and project work available to students in the future.  Bill Fletcher of the University Career Center thinks not only can that help a student’s professional development, it could also serve as a bridge to more intensive real-world experiences before entering the job market. “Micro-internships are great for students to prepare for full semester internships and to supplement in building skills to fill in around internships. 

For more information on Parker Dewey and its micro-internship program, go to this link:

Law Student Interns During Pandemic



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Many students are continuing to press forward with their career plans and professional development, even as the COVID-19 outbreak has left economic problems and a tight job market in its wake. One such student is Katie Davidson who is completing the second year of her studies with the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at UofL.  

The Louisville native is spending the summer interning with the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. “Second to the Supreme Court, the Sixth Circuit is the highest federal court for Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. When a case is being appealed from the federal district courts in these states, the Sixth Circuit has appellate jurisdiction. Margaret Lawrence and I, both rising third year law students, are two of the four interns. We were told that UofL students had never worked in the Motions Unit before, which is interesting because this year there are two of us.”

Intern Katie Davidson

Katie Davidson

Davidson said it was a shock when the pandemic spread in the U.S. and UofL classes moved online.  “Law school online was a challenge. I miss seeing my professors, friends, and classmates in person. I miss the entire Brandeis community. You would think that almost three months into this, that it would be easier, but some days are just as hard as the first.” 

Davidson’s internship shifted to remote work since the closing of the Sixth Circuit courthouse in late April because of the pandemic.  And that’s resulted in at least some changes in court operations.  “It isn’t so much that the types of cases being heard are different, but the volume of litigants seeking release has increased and has been complicated, especially for litigants sending materials from facilities that aren’t processing mail in a timely manner.  And now, oral arguments will be held remotely, following the lead of the Supreme Court.”

Davidson admits to being a bit nervous about jobs that will be available when she graduates, given a post-pandemic economy. She is already in the process of applying for post-graduate clerkships with both federal and state courts for summer/fall of 2021. She hopes to eventually work in courtroom advocacy. “I’m interested in many areas of the law, and I’ve been lucky enough to have worked in a number of areas of the law as an undergraduate student and now as a law student. I know that, whatever field I end up in, public service needs to be part of my career…I want to work hard this summer so that I can work toward becoming the advocate this community needs and deserves.”

As Davidson completes her virtual internship with the federal court amidst a global health crisis, she has realized something that extends far beyond knowledge of the law and her planned profession. “The most important thing I’ve learned, or maybe re-learned, is to be kind to myself. This is an extraordinary time we’re living in, and the first step to having compassion for others is to have compassion for oneself. It’s simple, but I am empowered by the idea that I can give more to others by first taking care of myself. In the context of a pandemic, this has manifested in awareness of the suffering around me while also tending to the stress and anxiety that accompanies these uncertain times.”   

Davidson is grateful to the UofL School of Law for its support during the pandemic. “The entire Brandeis community has just been exceptional throughout this entire ordeal. The administration has catered to so many concerns, and their hard work behind the curtain has allowed us students to carry on in spite of extraordinary circumstances. The school’s Office of Professional Development has virtual happy hours and networking opportunities that law students would normally take advantage of in-person over the summer. I am so grateful to OPD for everything they’ve done to help me as I pursue my goals during these strange times.”

Employers & Student Recruiting During Pandemic


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

As employers begin to look toward the fall and possible recruitment of students, it appears they are trying to avoid making large changes in their budgets and staffing despite the COVID-19 situation.  That’s the word from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) and it portends the potential of at least some continued level of hiring activity nationally in the coming months, although increasingly interviewing will occur virtually.  Those nation-wide trends appear to be replicating in our area as well.  

NACE surveyed 300+ employers across the country.  It found that two-thirds are maintaining their current staffing levels for college recruitment activity while only 8% have laid off staff.  About 39% plan to maintain their regular recruiting schedule, while 38% are taking a “wait and see” attitude about the situation.  

Noting the similarities for our area, the Senior Executive Director of Career Management and MBA Programs for the UofL College of Business, Vernon Foster, said, “Local business support has been relatively positive given market conditions. Employers are telling us they are hiring for the future and still need access to great talent. They particularly gravitate to students with well-rounded backgrounds, community service, internship experience, and strong academic performance. They know the University of Louisville has an excellent pool of these students and employers are still reaching out to us to make connections.”

Foster said the recruitment/hiring trend extends beyond full-time positions to internships.  “Our graduate programs for the Full-Time MBA, Innovation MBA, and the Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) rely heavily on graduate level internships as a mechanism for companies to identify much needed talent. In fact, we have seen an uptick in organizations reaching out to use to connect to our students for these one year opportunities. Historically we have yielded a very high percentage of the 11-12 month internships converting into permanent positions; a real win for the students and businesses alike.”

NACE indicates that recruiters are using several tools to increase virtual recruiting activities. About one-quarter of those surveyed think there will be a hybrid (mix of virtual and in person) approach to recruiting in fall 2020 and an in-person approach in spring 2021.  But NACE said there is a notable increase in the number of employers who believe recruiting will be primarily done on a virtual basis for the 2020-21 academic year or at least during the fall season.

Foster said while there will be more local use of virtual technology, he’s also finding continued interest in face-to-face interviewing if students are comfortable doing that.   “We have seen a rise in the utilization of ZOOM, Microsoft Teams, and Skype in the initial phases of the interview process. One major employer uses video interview submissions to determine the students they would like to meet in person for the final decision. All companies stress they are following safety guidelines in live interview environments.”

The pandemic could result in some employers sticking closer to home in their recruiting efforts.  NACE reports that 18% are planning to make their list of target schools more geographically compact.  Foster sees that trend magnifying here.  “More of our students are staying close to home and we are seeing employers do the same – they are realizing the cost benefit analysis of less recruitment costs while accessing the talent they need in their own backyard – and these are the students who want to be part of their companies; committed to helping everyone grow. Closer to work, families, and life-long friends. Louisville will be a beneficiary of the new age. Even in a pandemic there can be silver linings.”

While the move to online classes and remote internships during the pandemic was not universally embraced by UofL students, Foster thinks those virtual experiences have been vitally important.  “Our students have proven their resilience, work ethic, and commitment to excellence by demonstrating they can work remotely – a valuable commodity in a pandemic, but of more value in the changing world of the work place as we know. The old norms are falling to the way side as the new norm is established, along with the new adaptabilities of where one may conduct business. We are preparing our students for the future – the new realities that will become the norm.”

UofL Graduate Starts First Job During Pandemic


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

You just finished college.  And you are now getting ready to start your first job as an official graduate.  But the world around you is in turmoil because of the COVID-19 outbreak. It should be one of the happiest times of your life.  So how does it feel launching your career during a global pandemic?

To get some perspective on this, let’s hear the thoughts of Jamison Edwards (Economics '19).  While at UofL, Jamison worked with the University Career Center as a “Peer Career Advisor,” so he is particularly attuned with what students go through as they advance their professional interests and seek entry-level jobs.  Edwards now lives in South Bend, Indiana and works for enFocus, a non-profit that tries to spark innovation and stronger communities.  

 Jamison Edwards

Edwards' position with enFocus is an Innovation Fellow. “I work with organizations of all types - healthcare, education, government, nonprofit, and for-profit businesses in north Indiana. In short, I work with local community sponsors using a data-driven approach to gather insights that catalyze change and promote efficiency within the organizations.”  

Edwards found the position on LinkedIn through a childhood friend. When he received an offer after going through the interview process, Edwards had at least some mixed emotions about starting his position. “When I was originally offered the opportunity to join the team at enFocus, I was grateful, a bit nostalgic, and ready to begin my new journey. Then, I saw the start date: March 9, 2020. My excitement quickly turned into nervous energy. How was I going to be able to present myself to my new leadership team, coworkers, neighbors, and the community at large when I was busy researching, building, and revising my perfect NCAA basketball bracket? After all, this was my year!” 

Obviously, the college basketball season and the NCAA Tournament were cancelled for the Cardinals and all other schools as the COVID-19 outbreak worsened in mid-March. That was also the time period when work for most of us changed from face-to-face to the online world. “I on-boarded both virtually and in person. Three days in person but then we closed our offices at the end of the day on Wednesday (March 11). It helped to be able to be in the office and interact with most of my coworkers before the office closed even if for just a few days. Starting May 26th, our summer interns began their virtual onboarding process. For me, that puts in perspective how lucky I was to be able to have three days on site to settle in and get my routine set.”

Edwards said working virtually has been different than what he expected, “but at the end of the day, the job isn't any different. In my role, I'm working with multiple different people at multiple different companies in the area. Although I am looking forward to meeting the people I have been working alongside for the last couple of months, the number and accessibility of video conferencing platforms have allowed the job requirements to remain consistent.”

Despite the pandemic and the necessity of working remotely, Edwards said his new employer has gone out of its way to make him feel welcome and a part of the team. “For example, enFocus has provided us with opportunities to individually grab lunch and then hop on a Zoom call and have a team lunch with our coworkers. Also, it is common for us to just reach out to others and see if one of the other fellows would like to have a virtual lunch. I sometimes joke how weird it is that I've made new internet friends out of my coworkers because there are some that I speak with daily that I haven't even met in person.”

Edwards thinks that working remotely has made him a better communicator. “In normal times, I feel that I often take the ability to go knock on a coworker’s door or visit their desk to ask a question for granted. However, I am now finding that I am becoming much more calculated and concise in my communication. Now, I rewrite and proof even the shortest of emails because the words matter all that much more when you are unable to utilize the social cues provided by real-time, in-person conversation.”

In our new everyday work world, it can feel isolating to work remotely.  While Edwards wishes his new job provided face-to-face contact with others on the team, he is making the best of the work situation that the pandemic has created.  “Selfishly, I wish our office never closed. I wish I had to challenge myself not to watch March Madness at work all day. That's not the reality. The reality is I am in a new city, at a new job, and, along with everyone else, facing a new set of challenges. So be it. I'm going to continue taking everything in stride. At enFocus, I have found a supportive team to assist me, from a distance, every step of the way.”



One Sector Where Pandemic Portends Job Growth



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

As much as the COVID-19 pandemic is creating havoc in employment, it is also creating opportunities.  And one segment where jobs are multiplying is public health.  In fact, the Dean of the UofL School of Public Health and Information Sciences said, “The wave right now is very favorable for public health.”

At the same time, Dr. Craig Blakely acknowledges that has not been the case in recent years. “Public health has been a discipline where the formal public health infrastructure has been declining.  There was a big build-up post 9-11, a lot of investment in preparedness related to anthrax back then.  But if you remember there was a total of four deaths in the country related to anthrax.  And we had made this big massive investment.  That investment has been dismantled pretty systematically over the course of the last 15 years which left us woefully short of what we needed in place to face this kind of pandemic.” 

With the COVID-19 outbreak, Blakely said public health has regained a prominent public face.  “We are very visible again. The vast majority of the population is starting to see the wisdom of investing in public health infrastructure.  I think there’s no question that there’s an uptick in opportunity on the horizon.”

The uptick seems to have begun.  The Dallas Morning News recently reported a significant increase in hiring in the healthcare sector. For example, ZipRecruiter and Glassdoor both have seen a surge in positions related to the pandemic.  According to that newspaper, positions reflect a wide range of skill sets and salary levels, ranging from virologists and registered nurses to front desk workers who answer community questions.  Longer term, the News reports growing sentiment for a national public health workforce, similar to what was formed during the Great Depression, to help with prevention, detection, and response to viral outbreaks.  

Blakely said there’s already evidence of public health job growth in our community.  “There is a bunch of hiring going on.  For example, the city of Louisville is hiring for case tracking and contact tracing in the metro area.  The state is doing the same thing.    The city is hiring 100 people to fill a bunch of these public health case worker roles.   We’re positioning ourselves to get a bunch of our students hired part-time to do that because ‘a,' they would be well prepared to jump into that role and ‘b,'  they have a great opportunity to get some on-the-ground wonderful experience and be provided with a great resume builder at the same time.  Plus, we can include some of the international students that have language skills and can work with the refugee populations in our community.”

In addition to contact tracing positions, Blakely said there will be several other areas of public health job growth.  “There’s no question that epidemiology will be a growth area, the ones who are overseeing all of the research.  The other thing is that there is a lot of health-related data science, data analytics that is taking off now.  We are getting to the point now where we can much more effectively marry the financial records in health delivery systems with the patient outcome records.  And there’s going to be an incredible opportunity with the data to do almost virtual clinical trials.  We are also very much engaged in health delivery system management activities and that’s continued to be a growth area.” 

Beyond the growth in opportunities, Dean Blakely agrees that some students are drawn to public health, particularly now during the pandemic, by feeling something of a calling to the profession and a desire to help the community.  Regardless of the reason, he thinks the future bodes well for students of the discipline. “I think the next five years is going to be really good for public health.  I don’t think there’s any question that there’s going to be some infrastructure growth in formal public health.  There’s a wave now that we can ride for a handful of years.  It’s going to be good for students coming through public health.  I think it will also be good in a preparedness sense.  So yes, public health is in a great place for the next several years.”

For more information on public health careers, go to O*NET Online and type public health in the Occupation Quick Search in the upper right corner. Careers related to public health can also be found at What Can I do with this Major (Public Health).  Information on the UofL School of Public Health can be found at  

Pandemic or No Pandemic - Your First Job Won't be your Last



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Perhaps your parents or grandparents worked in one job for the same company their entire career.  Could that happen to you, too?  What does a tight job market amidst the COVID-19 pandemic portend for you recent grads looking now for a position and those who will soon be finishing up your degree program and entering what could be a tight job market?

Career development experts say the reality is that for most fields, there is a lack of employment stability.  In a coronavirus economy, that’s more true today than ever before.  To amplify on that idea, the average person in the USA changes careers 3+ times.  Furthermore, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the average member of the “baby boom” generation held 12.3 jobs between the ages of 18 and 52. 

Armed with that information, it’s safe to assume you will likely NOT work in the same career for the same company in the same position for the entirety of your work life.  Knowing that and living in the realities of the COVID-19 world, experts recommend that at this point in time, you should consider career options and fields that you had not previously thought about.  

Career development professional Sharon Belden Castonguay conducted research during the recession of the 1990s that examined the varied routes that career paths take.  She interviewed a variety of successful businesspeople about what they did during that economic downturn after they graduated college.  Initially most had taken what Castonguay calls a “path of least resistance,” in jobs like office temp, store clerk, and restaurant hostess, in order to pay their bills.  “When I interviewed them, they were in their mid-to late-thirties, and all had ultimately managed to achieve career success on the surface: gainful employment, and a level of prestige and income that they could be proud to report to their alumni magazines. But they weren’t all happy where they’d ended up. Most were satisfied, but others had continued on that path of least resistance for over a decade. They took advantage of new opportunities as the economy improved, but without really stopping to ask themselves how their interests were developing over time.”

This group of businesspeople Castonguay interviewed largely neglected an on-going process of networking, self-evaluation, and professional development. Unlike those folks who did not feel fulfilled in their careers, whatever your first job becomes, keep working to learn more and better your standing in the marketplace until you find the “right” career and position.  

While it’s possible that your career path may mimic a grandparent or parent who worked for the same company in the same position their entire career, odds are that will not be the case, particularly as the nation recovers from the COVID-19 crisis and a tight job market.  The path to your final career destination won’t be linear and will likely take many twists and turns along the way. Consider all of the options you have, and think outside the box about industries and fields you may not have considered previously.  For now, you might have to take whatever position you can get. But remember that won’t be your last job, nor does that position have to define your career.  

For more thoughts about getting a job after you graduate, check out the suggestions of employment consultant Lindsey Pollak.



Engineering Co-op Student Aiding COVID-19 First Responders



 By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D. 

A UofL Biomedical Engineering senior is continuing his important work to safeguard front-line personnel battling the coronavirus pandemic.  Meet Shah Tarun who hails from Bangladesh and will graduate this December.

 Shah Tarun

Shah Tarun

 Tarun came to the United States and UofL in 2015 as a Biology major and switched to the Speed School of Engineering in 2017. In addition to his engineering degree, he is working on minors in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies as well as Psychology.

Tarun is doing coronavirus-related work with Dr. Jaimin Trivedi, an instructor of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at the UofL School of Medicine.  "I have been working with him on a couple of projects related to protecting healthcare workers against Covid-19 in a clinical setting.”

Like other co-op students, Tarun is using the experience to further his professional development.  “I believe that this experience will overall showcase my skill-set within the HTM/biomedical profession and continue to show my determination on doing what is right for the community.”

He is finding his work with Dr. Trivedi incredibly rewarding.  “It feels amazing to know that such a project can benefit PCP, ED, nurses, etc. It is even more amazing if you think that this project could help the common person too, making it commercialize-able for the community and providing the need for everyone if they so wish to.”

In a time of crisis, the work by Dr. Jaimin Trivedi and Shah Tarun offers a glimmer of optimism.  “I feel like this experience made me better prepare for the worst outcome that could happen in the near future. Overall, it made me hopeful that my mentor and I can provide the hope that our healthcare providers need in these dire circumstances.”

Find out more about the amazing work that UofL students like Shah Tarun are doing during the COVID-19 crisis by looking at our previous news stories.  And if you know of any students who are doing work that aids the community during the pandemic, please send email so we can tell that story, too (

Use Summer to Advance Career Development



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D. 

Has your summer job or internship possibility gone awry amidst the pandemic? Wondering what you will do this summer as you bunker down to protect you and your family from COVID-19?  With all the uncertainty, you might be tempted to sit back, play video games, work on your suntan, and essentially do nothing constructive.  But an assistant director at the UofL University Career Center is here to tell you this is a great time for students to get a move-on to advance their future.

Mallory Newby says the public health crisis creates a unique career development opportunity. “I encourage students to take this time to advance their technical knowledge/skills and overall professional development to demonstrate to employers that they are being proactive during challenging times and help to gain a competitive edge in a tight labor market.”

One place to start is by visiting the “Learn” section of the University of Louisville’s Center for Digital Transformation to take advantage of a variety of free badging and certification courses.  Newby said UofL has several partnerships with Google, Microsoft Learn and IBM to name a few, offering free mini courses ranging from beginner to advanced levels. “There are literally hundreds and hundreds to choose from and if you don’t consider yourself to be the most tech savvy person, look at the beginner level and fundamental types of courses.  I would personally recommend the Microsoft 365 Certified: Fundamentals course to gain a basic understanding of cloud concepts, as well as an overview of the core Microsoft 365 services like Teams, SharePoint, and Stream and how to use these tools to maintain and enhance productivity.”

LinkedIn Learning is another good source for additional professional development training on topics like discovering your strengths, personal branding and even productivity tips.  In addition, sites like EdX and Coursera offer free college courses that are recorded or streamed from world renown universities like Stanford and Harvard.  These courses can potentially parallel a career area in which you are interested or a topic area in which you are looking for cultural and intellectual enrichment.  

Newby said to be sure to search or look for "no cost" and "free" in the listings.  “As a general rule, most badges are free but formal exam certifications might cost to take the test following the course. UofL’s Center for Digital Transformation recommends never paying with a credit card unless you are wanting to cover the cost for a certification exam. I personally have not elected to pay for the completion certificates and would probably not encourage students to do so either. After passing any badge or certification level, you may still be awarded a digital credential emblem or symbol.  Regardless you can still display completion of these trainings on your resume, LinkedIn account or other professional documents.”

Some other ideas for summer career development: 

  • Think about a possible research project.  You may be able to work on something on your own, or possibly can partner with a professor who has an interest in an area you want to advance.
  • Create your own summer project.  It could be something like writing a blog, producing some type of video, or even starting a small business in your neighborhood.  Pick a project that helps you to develop a skill set, advancing and moving you toward your career ambitions.
  • Volunteer to do work in your community.  Service work fosters leadership skills and is something that shines on your record of achievement.
  • If you are thinking about a master’s degree or professional degree program after your undergraduate degree, the coronavirus outbreak and summer 2020 make it a great time to start researching programs in which you have an interest.  You can also use the time to start preparing for entrance exams like the GRE, MCAT and LSAT.  The UofL Graduate School has information on getting ready for the exam. 

These are just some ideas for how to make the best use of summer 2020 as you travel down your chosen career path. For more ideas, check out this article from Washington University in St. Louis.  


Starting Your New Remote Job or Internship



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

 In the pandemic world we are all confronting these days, more of us are now working remotely than ever before.  It’s a new, and different experience than what most of us are used to in the face-to-face work world. As a result, it could be more difficult to hit the ground running in a new, virtual position than it is under normal circumstances.  Since there’s a strong possibility you could be working remotely this summer in an internship, co-op, or entry-level job, here’s some suggestions on getting started. 

Realize that your training/on-boarding could be much different virtually than in a face-to-face (F-2-F) environment.  Even though you will be working virtually, some companies may elect to have you come to the office for a socially-distanced meeting to get the ball rolling on company policies and their online systems.  Others may do your orientation via an online platform like Microsoft Teams or Zoom.  Communicate with your supervisor to find out how they’ll handle this important introduction to your new position.  Then be sure to spend time with your company’s training materials and orientation documentation.  And, thoroughly familiarize yourself with those online systems, networks, software and apps you’ll be using.  

During the onboarding process, you’ll want to get a thorough understanding of your role and responsibilities. Be sure from the start that you and your supervisor are on the same page.  You need to be clear particularly clear, given the remote nature of your position, on her/his expectations since that person will be evaluating your performance.  You will also likely want to set up a regular weekly, or twice weekly one-on-one virtual meeting with your supervisor.

An important part of the orientation period is learning how your team communicates virtually.  Is there one or two platforms or protocols that everyone relies upon? Or do different members of the team have flexibility on preferred channels of communication?  For example, some organizations might prefer e-mail as a communication medium while in others, an e-mail might sit unread in an inbox for days.  If you urgently need to communicate with your supervisor or a team member, what’s the preferred way to reach them?  Knowing this ahead of time will mitigate the potential of remote communication problems.  

As you get ready to start the virtual internship or job experience, the first thing you’ll need to address at your home is the physical environment in which you will be working.  You will likely be sitting more than you would in an office environment where you may be getting up to socialize, go to meetings, or walk around the corner to the copier.  If at all possible, have a dedicated work space and be sure to get up and stretch at least for a few minutes every hour.  Take a quick walk.  At all costs, avoid working from your couch or even worse, from your bed.  Experts say working from bed particularly can result in potential sleep problems.  You should also establish a strict work schedule and structure, at least initially, so that you develop good remote work habits.  

As you begin working, anytime you are not sure about something, above all else - ask! When your supervisor or a team member gives you an assignment, schedule some type of virtual meeting to discuss the project, your role, what you need to accomplish, to be clear on deadlines, and to understand how it fits into the larger goals of the organization. This doesn’t have to be an exhaustive meeting. But it is particularly important in the virtual/remote situation because it’s not as easy as walking around the corner, popping into your supervisor’s office and asking a question about something if you are working F-2-F.  If something comes up you don’t understand, get in contact with your supervisor or a team member to clarify the issue.

Now that you are working on projects, get to know your colleagues and remind people who you are.  Since you won’t be meeting up with people F-2-F in the hallway or lunchroom, you will likely have to make an effort to introduce yourself a couple of times so people in the organization remember who you are and what you are doing. Specifically ask for feedback from team members and your supervisor.  You’ll need to be intentional about that in the virtual environment, as opposed to the F-2-F office where you can more casually ask about your work. And, get to know team members as people, too. At appropriate points in time, ask them about what they do, what their degree is in, and ask for advice. In that way you’ll also begin to build a network of contacts. At some point it can be really beneficial to schedule a video chat for coffee or a happy hour to just have a casual conversation.

Pay attention to the prevailing style of communication by team members, then try to emulate that tone in your messaging.  If communication within the organization is formal, you’ll want to avoid using casual language, slang terms, sentence fragments, emojis, other graphic images, etc.  Be clear and concise in your written communication dealing with projects and work issues/matters. If you are speaking during a video or phone conference, be sure to identify yourself if there are team members in the meeting who may not know you, and be specific about what you are asking or want to discuss.

We all know that when it comes to technology, anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. So what are you going to do if your computer gets a virus or crashes?  If you lose power or the Internet goes down, how are you going to handle that situation?   Think about the “what if” scenarios in advance so you can react quickly if a problem arises.  

Lastly, virtual technology creates the potential that we are on-call 24 hours/day.  But experts tell us that we are all more productive and less stressed out if we unplug from our technology for at least a few hours each day and if we also get away from our work.  Sure, there are times when we all have to do some extra work to finish a project that’s on deadline.  But, having a regular work routine and schedule will protect you from getting burned out. 

For additional perspective and more tips on getting started on your new remote internship or job, you can read more at the following links: 

Tips for Remote Employees Starting a New Job by Robert Half

First Day At Your Remote Job? Here’s Everything You Need To Know by Fast Company

Co-op Student Works on Coronavirus Project



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

A UofL engineering student is continuing his work with an Owensboro company that is working on a potential COVID-19 vaccine.  Dustin Williams is in the second year of the chemical engineering program and is doing a co-op with Kentucky BioProcessing (KBP), a U.S. subsidiary of British American Tobacco. 


Co-op Dustin Williams

Pre-clinical testing is underway on the potential vaccine, using fast-growing tobacco plant technology.  According to KBP, tobacco plants offer the potential for faster and safer vaccine development compared to conventional methods.  If testing goes well, the company is hopeful that between 1 and 3 million doses of the vaccine could be manufactured per week, beginning in June. KBP remains a commercial operation but its work around the COVID-19 vaccine project will be carried out on a not-for-profit basis.

While Williams can’t talk about the specifics of his confidential work, he remains in Owensboro working on this important project.  “We're still on site, and we're taking care to apply strict social distancing policies based on guidance from state and federal government agencies.”

Williams realizes the COVID-19 outbreak has created a unique opportunity for his professional growth. “The cooperative education program is meant to give students some engineering work experience while they're still in school, but this experience has also given me the opportunity to work on something truly important and impactful early in my career. I'm sure that's something many students worry about: struggling to find a meaningful path forward using their education.” 

Williams has learned a great deal during his co-op. “It's has a lot more to do with advanced chemistry and biology than most chemical engineering co-ops, and I've learned many skills and concepts that I wouldn't have imagined learning. So my trajectory is a lot different than I expected, but I'm thankful to be here, and to be doing important work. I would also love to keep growing my skillset in this sector.”

But the lessons learned in Williams’ co-op extend beyond the application of chemical engineering knowledge. “For me, this experience has helped me compartmentalize -- to draw the line between free time and crunch time, to tell the difference between an opportunity to learn or innovate and something that just needs to get done.”

Williams credits his KBP colleagues for making him a part of the team and for the important work they are doing to find a COVID-19 vaccine. “I’ve developed a deep appreciation for my relationships with my coworkers. During a time when many of us are struggling to fulfill those social needs in our lives, I cherish being able to come in and work alongside some of the brightest, most hardworking people I've ever known.”

Dustin Williams and the team at KBP in Owensboro give us hope that we’ll come out together on the other side of the pandemic.  If you know of other UofL students like Dustin doing work to currently benefit our community as we fight coronavirus, please email that information so we can tell more of these stories (

COVID-19 Equals Opportunities

By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.
By mid-March as the coronavirus pandemic became very real, shares of the Penske Corporation stock dropped 40%. Its founder, Roger Penske, saw his net worth drop by $400 million! In late March as the public health crisis worsened, Penske decided to drop in on his newest acquisition, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, to have a discussion with Speedway president Doug Boles on how best to proceed.  The  Indianapolis Star related the subsequent conversation:
Penske: ”Hey Doug, how are ya?”
Boles: “How am I? How are you?”
Penske: “Doug, the one thing I learned in life is everything’s an opportunity. No matter how bad it seems, everything is an opportunity, and if you look at it like that, everything’s going to be fine.”
In the face of a global pandemic, historically high unemployment rates, and a tough job market, it can become easy to sink into negativity and despair.  But let’s stop and examine the advice that Roger Penske offers.  Can the COVID-19 pandemic spell O-P-P-O-R-T-U-N-I-T-Y for students and recent graduates?  A Professor Emeritus from the UofL College of Business says yes to that, enthusiastically. 
Lyle Sussman has been teaching for 40-plus years and he echoes the idea of turning the public health crisis into a positive for your career. “Strategists in both the private and public sector rightly observe that a crisis is a horrible thing to waste.  Crises always have, and always will, provide opportunity for those who seize them.  Some students will see this pandemic as an opportunity and thrive. Others will see it as doom and gloom and will inevitably suffer.  The difference is perspective and choice.”
Sussman accordingly suggests students consider two entrepreneurial options; creating a “niche” venture within a current company or possibly creating a new venture on their own.  “For example, a student could approach Company X with a business plan to develop a new market for their product or service.  This student is going beyond trying to sell a resume.  She is not applying for a job, but rather is creating a job. This strategy involves less personal risk than the second option, creating a new venture entirely without the support of corporate resources.   Essentially deciding on option 1 vs option 2 is based on the student’s tolerance for risk and need for dependence versus independence.”
For students and recent grads considering these routes, Sussman advises that they employ a personal S-O-S signal: “Solutions, Opportunities, Support. First, they must see their skill set as solutions-focused, not skill-focused. What specific problem can you solve that has market value? Secondly, they must seek opportunities. What new problems are you seeing that require a solution?  I recommend two websites in this regard: and  These sites will provide creative entrepreneurial prompts, and examples of startups solving problems and seeking opportunities.   Third, entrepreneurial students must seek social and technical support.  They must network with others who are also sending out their personal S-O-S.  Connecting with favorite faculty, UofL resources, and local government business development offices will enable this support. is a valuable website  to access support.  Entrepreneurs may fail alone, but they can only succeed with support from others.”
Sussman suggests the opportunities that become possible in the midst of the pandemic make it a good time for students and recent grads to consider redefining their career.  “I’ll refer to the metaphor of a ‘career ladder.’  A ladder only works when it is positioned against a fixed, stable structure.  However, the marketplace today and tomorrow will be increasingly characterized by rapid disruptions in technology, consumer demographics, government regulations, and corporate restructurings.  For example, consider the concept of ‘career ladder’ pre-coronavirus, versus the concept of ‘career ladder’ post-coronavirus. The former ladder was positioned against a fixed structure.  The latter must necessarily be adaptable to a malleable and changing structure.” 
But the road to success for those choosing these entrepreneurial paths is not easy to travel. “Above all else a student needs courage and resilience.  Whether you choose a niche venture within a current company or creating your own venture, you must be prepared for disappointment, heartaches, naysayers, and a work load defined by completing projects and meeting goals, not defined by a 40-hour week. They will need the courage to overcome the barriers facing all entrepreneurs, and the resilience to maintain that courage.” 
Those who decide to be entrepreneurs during the pandemic and its aftermath will have to be daring and persistent to succeed. But Lyle Sussman has no doubt that in the future, we will see some great success stories among those who choose to travel this path. “You can be assured that five years from now we will be reading about entrepreneurs who made their fortune because of opportunities they saw and leveraged, opportunities created by the pandemic of 2020. I hope and trust that we will be reading about UofL grads who saw opportunity and redefined their concepts of ‘job,’ ‘employment,’ and ‘career.’ I also believe those students would have sent out their personal S-O-S early and often.”
Find out more about this topic and one specific entrepreneurship story that is near and dear to the heart of Sussman. “Breaking the Glaze Ceiling” utilizes his daughter’s business as an exemplar for tips on how to succeed. 

Job/Internship Searching During COVID-19 Outbreak - Part 2



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Most career development experts are cautiously optimistic about the job and internship markets.  We recently published an article that offered you tips on searching for opportunities amidst the current public health crisis.  Our first important piece of advice: despite the uncertainty, don’t sit back and wait - get moving now!  This article’s primary message is to network - network - network! 
The director of the University Career Center, Bill Fletcher, said while students need to get moving along with their searches now, they must also come to grips with the fact that these are not normal times and that impacts the process. “Job searching in difficult economic times requires a different approach than what most students are accustomed to during a prosperous economy.  When jobs are plentiful, it is a candidate’s job market. They can look at job boards and apply to positions.  When there are fewer positions, it is an employer’s market.  Everyone is looking at job boards and the volume of candidates is huge.  To be competitive in a COVID-19 economy, candidates will have to be more targeted and deliberate in their job search.”  
And according to Fletcher, that puts even more emphasis on one type of job search strategy.  “Students should be leveraging networking to tap into what is called ‘the hidden job market.’  It is commonly accepted that the vast majority of positions are filled without ever being posted (good or bad economy). If they are posted, hiring managers have often begun networking to source talent before the posting hits any job board.  Employers will expect candidates to be able to articulate their skills and abilities as related to the field or organization, have impeccable resumes and cover letters, and have a network of people who can advocate for them.  Finding these ‘unposted’ or ‘hidden’ jobs is accomplished through contacts who can provide candidates with information.”
When searching for an internship or job, it is always important, public health crisis or not, to network. Nationally, about 70% of college students find out about their first entry-level job via a networking contact. Set up a very specific networking plan. Make a list of everyone you know.  You won’t be able to meet with all these people in person, but you can send them an email, text, call them on the phone or meet virtually to catch up, let them know you are looking, and find out if they know of anyone you can contact to build your network out further.
The associate director of the University Career Center, Donna Lee, advises students to consciously work to advance  their network. “Who is in your circle of influencers? Be intentional in reaching out to them.  And you can do a lot of that on LinkedIn.” 
Among the people and groups Lee suggests students reach out to: “Faculty, they have contacts in industry.  Some of them are alums from the University of Louisville. Are you affiliated with any professional organizations on campus or in the ‘real world?’  Are you in a social fraternity or sorority? You should be able to build contacts there.  Are you following organizations that interest you? Again that’s also a possible source for contacts.”
When you access LinkedIn, be active on the platform. Commenting on posts and sharing articles or posts will help you to connect to more people.  For more information, see our articles Using LinkedIn Part 1 and Part 2.  This Forbes Article has excellent advice as well.  Finally, you can watch the recording of our previous workshop on Networking with LinkedIn for information on setting up your account and connecting with others.   
Here’s one other strategy for you to consider in the midst of COVID-19. University Career Center director Bill Fletcher suggests you use the local business newspaper to source leads.  Most major metropolitan areas have these types of publications - here it’s Louisville Business First. “Some students may think they are not majoring in business so why look at the business newspaper?  These publications cover what is happening in areas such as health care, education, non-profit, social service, research, government, etc.  In essence, everyone works in ‘business.’ Recently, a health care company announced in one of these publications that it was continuing its rapid expansion into three states and had quotes from several executives in the organization. How many different majors could be employed in numerous career fields with a company that has 225 locations in 12 states?  This is a bona-fide lead for a job search candidate.”  
In our previous article on the topic of job searches in the midst of the pandemic, we acknowledged that given the situation, it may not be easy for you to readily find that entry-level job or internship.  But with networking, sourcing all possible publications and position listings, preparation and persistence, it may take time but you will move forward.  So don’t sit around - get moving now!  For more assistance, be sure to connect with your UofL career center including the University Career Center, Speed/Engineering, Business and Law Schools.
We will also have an upcoming virtual workshop on the topic on May 20 at 12 noon.  Bill Fletcher will offer tips on networking, uncovering “hidden” opportunities and more during this session. To register, go to this link.

UofL Student Making a Difference



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Meet Josh Osborne, yet another Cardinal doing great work in our community during the COVID-19 crisis while simultaneously benefiting his career development. Josh is from Louisville and is graduating with an English major and Spanish minor.  Most important, he is making an important contribution now to the Backside Learning Center at Churchill Downs.


Josh Osborne

Intern Josh Osborne 

The Backside Learning Center is a non-profit that works with and assists equine workers at the racetrack, many of whom speak little English, as well as their families. Josh had been teaching English-as-a-second language courses to kids and families at the Center but that changed when the coronavirus hit. “We have shifted our focus from offering adult and children English classes to focusing on getting the families that are in need the food, diapers, and encouragement that is needed to survive in these troubling times.”

Osborne has experienced professional and personal growth through this work. “It’s helped me understand that I can overcome any adversity. It has been difficult to adjust to the rapid changing semester to be able to adjust to the changing workspaces, classes, and home life. Doing homework and being productive has proven challenging but I am pleased with the outcomes of my efforts.”

Gaining confidence that he could teach and advancing that skill set has been an important benefit for Osborne.  Beyond that, his selfless service to the Backside Learning Center carried a far  more important lesson. “After the virus, I was taught that even though things are falling apart for me, I can still do something to help the community and it makes me feel good in a time of the stressful unknown…If I can take one thing away from my time at the Backside Learning Center, it is that I, as one person, can team up with other individuals and make a major difference in the community. It doesn’t take money or a lot of time and effort to help people, all it takes is initiative and the desire to do good. Everyone who works at the center is so dedicated to their work that it is impossible to not be inspired to merely be in their presence, especially when you have a hand in helping the community as well.”  

It is hard for any member of the UofL family to not be proud of the work that students like Josh Osborne are doing for our community - well done Josh and congratulations on your graduation!  If you know of a Cardinal doing important work, drop an email to so we can tell that story.

Job/Internship Searching During COVID-19 Outbreak - Part 1



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The coronavirus crisis has all of us stressed out and anxious.  For students looking for their first entry-level job or an internship and for those who have been laid-off and are looking for a new position, the mental strain is likely high. In a situation like this with so much uncertainty, it can be easy for someone to get overwhelmed and decide to sit back and do nothing. The associate director of the UofL University Career Center urges you to fight that impulse.

Donna Lee notes the hiring process will be different amidst the situation but still, you can, and should, press forward. “To find a job is a job. When do you start? Now!”  Remember there’s still lots of hiring going on now, particularly in industries like health care, logistics and supply chain companies. See this previous article for more. 

As you start your job or internship search, you need to get into the right mindset. Don’t feel sorry for yourself that the marketplace is uncertain and prospects may be slow in developing. Pay attention to your mental health and focus on building your confidence since it shows in interviews.  Remind yourself what you are good at and why you are good at it so you can communicate that to potential employers.  Lee said, “A student should be their own mini advertising agency and they only have one product - themselves. No one can sell their skills and competencies to an employer as well as they can.”

Lee thinks you need to stay up-to-date on the rapidly changing trends in the industries that interest you. “Where is the top market/ area for what you want to do? Where are the jobs? Are there additional skills that you need to be researching?”

Given the COVID-19 outbreak, at least at this point it is important for you to be nimble and adaptable.  You may need to pivot for the time being from an exact planned career path.  Focus on your skills and what industries they can be valued in, even if different from what you originally planned. Remember your first job almost certainly will not be your last job since the average person changes careers multiple times.

Be sure your resume and LinkedIn profile are dialed up.  Place emphasis on those key points of what you are good at doing and your accomplishments. According to Lee, “A student should know what unique skills and competencies make them more marketable than their competition.” You can work with your UofL career center on resumes and LinkedIn profiles.

You also will need to be ready to send a cover letter for applications and while a basic template is desirable, you’ll need to go beyond that according to Lee.  “One size does not fit all.  You will need to tailor the cover letter and more than likely tweak your resume for every position you apply for. Your cover letter is your opportunity to connect the dots for the employer. If they want someone to juggle balls, tame lions and breathe fire, what have you done in the past that illustrates that?”  

You need to check in regularly with the specific career management platform position listings from your UofL career center. In addition, you should make regular visits to all of the major job posting platforms like Indeed, Career Builder, Glassdoorm, Monster, Zip Recruiter, and so forth.  Check all the localized and regionalized listings you can find as well - in Louisville, the Kentuckiana Works website is making regular additions to its listings and you can also see statewide opportunities through the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce website.

It is likely you will be interviewing (and subsequently working), at least at this point, remotely. Lee says, “Familiarize yourself with these technologies to prepare for the interview process. Microsoft Team Meets, Zoom, High View, Blue Jeans and Skype are the most popular platforms.”  You can practice virtual interviews through the InterviewStream online tool available through the University Career Center.

No one is suggesting that this is going to be easy, particularly given the current public health crisis. According to Lee, “Are you ready/committed to put in the work? Some people may submit one resume, get an interview and secure a position.  Others may need to submit numerous resumes and have multiple interviews before they land a position. So, be patient and stay positive.” 

If you are not proactive and persistent, you are not going to have success in this job marketplace, or for that matter even in a strong job market. Donna Lee of the University Career Center reminds you; “Work with your UofL career center.  Upload a critiqued resume into the employer database from your career center. Attend virtual career events and workshops. Attend employer networking events (future events may be virtual). Attend career fairs (future events may be virtual).” With some preparation, effort, and perhaps a little dose of luck, you will find yourself in the right place at the right time to obtain your internship or job.  

When searching for opportunities, it is also always important to network. Nationally, about 70% of college students find out about their first entry-level job via a networking contact.   That strategy becomes crucial in times like these where the market you encounter could be tight.  We’ll have more on networking and job searching in the COVID-19 economy in an upcoming news story. And, stay tuned for news about an upcoming virtual workshop on the topic as well.

Student Teachers During Covid-19



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Life goes on in K-12 schools around the nation despite the spread of the coronavirus, but obviously in a much different online format.  That means teachers across the country are learning on the fly about how best to virtually conduct their classes, assign projects, test and evaluate their students.  It also creates a challenge and new environment for the many UofL education students who are now doing their student teaching.  Meet two of those students; Hannah Kemper and Erica Barlow.

Kemper is a senior from Louisville, majoring in Elementary Education. She has been doing her student teaching with kindergartners at a Jefferson County Public School, Farmer Elementary.  When JCPS moved to online instruction, Kemper’s daily routine changed accordingly. “Now, each week we meet with our class on Google meets to check-in; this is the best part of every week. The students receive work every Friday for the upcoming week through Google Classroom. We are also using Seesaw in Kindergarten. It is an app where you can design creative activities for the students to complete. Once they are graded, the other students can see each others work and comment to one another.”


Hannah Kemper 

Kemper said the experience is making her much more technologically savvy and she has gained a level of expertise in developing online work and activities.  But, she also concedes that nothing replaces face-to-face contact with students. “The students are what makes teaching such a unique and incredible job. I am always thinking of them and wondering how they are doing each day. It has amazed me how quickly the students have adapted, especially being so young. It is awesome to see!”  

Erica Barlow is also a senior from Louisville who is getting ready to graduate with a degree in Early Elementary Education.  And she, too, is doing her student teaching at Farmer Elementary.  Barlow’s work since the pandemic hit has revolved around planning online lessons, grading assignments, providing students with feedback remotely, and leading weekly virtual meetings.


Erica Barlow 

Barlow says it has been more difficult to teach in the online environment versus face-to-face. “There was a definite learning curve going from in-person instruction to completely online.  I had to spend hours learning from other teachers and watching PD videos on how to use applications like Screencastify, Seesaw, Google Suite, etc.  Nothing will replace the excitement and joy that comes from teaching F-2-F, but I am appreciative of the opportunity to become more fluent in digital teaching and learning.”

Barlow acknowledges the experience has changed her, not only as an educator but also as a person.  “I think my perspective on what is truly important and what is a luxury has changed.  I also have a newfound thankfulness for technology and for how it has allowed me to stay in touch with my friends and family throughout all of this.”  She also gives a special shout-out to her mentor teacher, Gina Kimery. Like so many wonderful public educators, Barlow says Kimery has made the best of the COVID-19 situation.  “When things switched to online learning, she did not miss a beat and continued to push me and help me to grow.  This has become such a highlight of my student teaching career, largely because of her support and encouragement.”

Hannah Kemper and Erica Barlow are just two more Cardinals doing tremendously important work that benefits our community as we continue to fight the pandemic.  Thanks for everything that you are both doing!  If you know of a UofL student doing great things now, drop a line to so we can tell that story, too.

Virtual Meeting Etiquette



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

As we bunker down in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, many of us increasingly find ourselves in online meetings.  We are using platforms like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, FaceTime, GoToMeeting, and more for work, school, and for socializing.  But, an assistant director at the UofL University Career Center thinks that you need to behave differently, depending on whether you are using these conferencing tools for fun or for serious purposes. Mallory Newby has tips for those occasions when you will be conferencing for work with your supervisor and members of your team.

Sure anything goes when you are getting together with your friends for a Zoom happy hour, although it can be annoying when everyone tries to talk at the same time.  On the other hand, Newby said when you are going to be in a meeting for work, always be sure to mute your microphone when you are not speaking. “Background noises at your home and things like coughs, throat clearing, etc. will become a distraction to the meeting. This will require you to be attentive during the meeting and unmuting when you are called upon to talk.”

Newby thinks it is important to give your full attention to the meeting, treating it just like you would if you were in the same room. “Avoid working on other tasks, checking your email or texts as tempting as it may be, as you never know when it might be your turn to provide an update. You might also miss something important that someone else is saying. Look into the camera when speaking as opposed to the screen; doing otherwise makes it appear you are looking off or away from the attendees.”

Another tip is to NOT use your keyboard during a meeting. Because your computer microphone is close to the keyboard, that tapping sound can be distracting to others if your mike is on. If you need to take notes, better to do so the old fashioned way; with a pen and piece of paper. And have something to eat BEFORE your meeting; nothing worse than watching someone munching away in the midst of an important discussion.

Newby advises you to be conscious of your surroundings and how you’ll look on camera.  Make sure your background is appropriate and professional as opposed to using your disheveled bedroom for example.  Take a few minutes before your virtual meeting to look like you are working. Better that you are wearing a clean shirt and have brushed your hair than to let your co-workers see you in your jammies with bedhead. “And, make sure that you are in a place with good lighting, raise your camera so that it is at eye level; your table is likely to be lower than your face, and looking down at your screen is not a flattering angle. You can use a set of books to use as a platform to get your phone or computer camera to eye level.”

Newby’s last piece of virtual meeting advice: “Don’t slouch but get comfortable - you may be there for a while.”  

For more advice in a graphic format about virtual meeting etiquette, check out this graphic provided by the Manheim Central School District in Pennsylvania: 

Zoom Etiquette

Here’s a link to a recent workshop about online etiquette from the University Career Center.

And you can also always get advice about online business etiquette from your UofL career centers in the College of Business, Speed School, Law School, and the University Career Center.

Employers are Hiring Despite COVID-19



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

You might be under the impression that with the current public health crisis, the job and internship markets have totally dried up and that no one is hiring.  Statistics from some of the nation’s leading career development platforms and organizations refute that notion and provide hope for those in the employment marketplace.
According to Bill Fletcher, the director of the UofL University Career Center, “Cautious optimism would describe the current job market.  We are still seeing substantial increases in new jobs (all categories) posted in the Handshake career management system for March and April 2020 when compared to same months in 2019 (+117% and +157% respectively).  Another reason for optimism is that the slowing of the economy was caused by the pandemic, and not the financial markets. As the cases of COVID-19 start to decline, communities will be able to start opening businesses and people can get back to work.”
The Handshake career management platform said major employers are the source of much of the new job listings.  Handshake reports 500+ high profile employers across all 50 states are now hiring. 
According to Handshake, the top jobs roles being advertised since the beginning of March are:
* Software Developers & Engineers
* Business Analysts and Management Consultants
* Accountants
* Data Analysts
* Customer Service Representatives
Handshake reports 82% of all jobs and 52% of all internships being posted now are for full-time positions. 
The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) also suggests the job market is currently better than many expected, based upon its poll of nearly 300 companies around the nation. After quickly responding to the oncoming pandemic by setting up virtual operations, NACE said employers have remained at least “somewhat optimistic” in their hiring outlook. As of April 17, NACE reports that most employers were not revoking any offers to full-time recruits or interns, with only a small minority revoking offers to full-time recruits. Recruiting plans of these employers also show that most will recruit the class of 2021 at the same levels as the class of 2020. The biggest difference is that they plan to recruit the 2021 class using more virtual methods.
There is further evidence that the employment market in Louisville and Kentucky is active.  For example, 66 companies are currently listing full-time and part-time positions on the Kentuckiana Works website in fields ranging from health care to IT, retail to insurance and more. And the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce is listing hundreds of open positions on its website.
University Career Center director Bill Fletcher said students looking for jobs in the midst of the current public health crisis need be realistic about the situation.  “Students should definitely apply for open positions now, but given the COVID-19 outbreak, they should anticipate longer response times than usual from employers.”  He also advises they use all the resources at their disposal.  “Graduates who leverage the job postings in their career center's system, combined with online and personal networking, will rise to the top of the applicant pool.  Now is the time for candidates to make sure they are ready and to aggressively start the job search process.” 
In a future article, we’ll offer specific tips on job and internship searches during the COVID-19 outbreak.  For now, remember that given the opportunities that are out there, there’s still reason to stay positive and engage now in your job and internship search.

Check out the Handshake Blog on COVID-19 Higher Ed Recruitment Trends for more on what students and employers are doing now in the job market.