Virtual Job Fairs, Work and Learning: How APUS Helps Connect a Remote World in the COVID-19 Era
By David E. Hubler
Contributor, Online Career Tips
While the coronavirus pandemic significantly disrupted the economy and education, learners and workers have been turning to online education and organizations with strong experience in managing and engaging remote workforces well before COVID-19 hit.
Start a management degree at American Public University.
Schools and universities that were forced to shut down in mid-semester turned to online education programs to help students complete the academic year. Even traditional brick-and-mortar universities are now offering courses and degrees online, everything from certificates all the way to the doctorate level. But the transition hasn’t been easy for faculty and students alike.
As an online university, American Public University System has been at the forefront of remote work and education since its founding. The Alumni Affairs team is committed to creating a true sense of community among the more than 50,000 alumni, managing and supporting a variety of alumni services that include career counseling, coaching and resume reviews. All services are free for life.
The 2020 APUS Commencement Is a Virtual Celebration
Because of the strict restrictions on group gatherings due to the COVID-19 virus, the 2020 APUS Commencement is a virtual celebration. Invitations to tune in went out to all graduates. Alumni too are welcome to tune in to live messages from APUS President Dr. Wallace Boston, Provost Dr. Vernon Smith, graduate speaker Dominique Williams and undergraduate speaker Aaron Rios.
Recently, APUS was one of four universities invited to participate in a teleconference panel titled, “Supporting Alumni Remotely in the Age of COVID-19.” The panel was moderated by Tatia Zuloaga, co-founder and CEO of LiveAlumni, a provider of essential alumni and donor data.
Christine Muncy, Associate Vice President of Career Services, represented APUS. The other panelists were Karen Armstrong of Penn State, Michael Iris of Berkeley College and Tiffany Manning of Purdue University Global, all of whom work in alumni affairs.
Prior to the pandemic, the focus of these university officials was on career advancement and development. Now, however, as Karen Armstrong pointed out, with so many alumni having been furloughed or laid off, “they want guidance on how to quickly return to the workforce.”
APUS Is a Leader in Producing Virtual Career Fairs
APUS is also a leader in organizing and producing virtual career fairs (VCFs), supplemented by hiring managers with open requirements and a large network of top employers. There is also an online job board to help alumni who have lost their job to find new possibilities or who are looking to make a career change.
The next VCF will take place on May 20. In response to the job losses caused by the pandemic, this VCF will be open to everyone, not just APUS students and alumni.
In preparation for VCFs, “we use Zoom to do employer talks multiple times a week,” Muncy said. “We want our alumni to be so fully informed that they’re not wondering what employers are looking for now.”
A lot of training goes into preparing for a VCF, Muncy said, because there’s a difference between virtual fairs and in-person fairs. “The experience is different. The outcomes might be different too,” she explained. So both job candidates and employers must understand how to take advantage of the VCF opportunity.
Asked how to judge VCFs’ effectiveness, Muncy suggested examining the engagement between the employers and the attending alumni. “Also, check to see whether there a numerical balance between the number of alumni who attend and the employers,” she added.
Discussing ways to keep students and alumni informed about relevant activities, Muncy said APUS uses banners on its ecampus sites to highlight upcoming events. “Our university has some blogs that are very highly trafficked by prospective students and alumni.”
The various blog articles are written by outstanding faculty members, alumni, staff and contributors. They always include a plug to the effect that “if you’re an alumnus and you need help, come to us,” she added. “It’s a lot about targeting” the message.
Ready When You Are
At American Public University, students are priority one. We are committed to providing quality education, superior student resources, and affordable tuition. In fact, while post-secondary tuition has risen sharply nationwide, the university continues to offer affordable tuition without sacrificing academic quality.