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Date: Friday, March 23, 2020

Dear students,

We are all coming to grips with the new reality caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic. In these uncertain times, we recognize that navigating your career and life design can be stressful and challenging. Such difficult circumstances require us to be resilient, proactive, resourceful, and to rely on a strong support system of mentors and advisors to help us succeed in this fast-changing environment. Our community at Johns Hopkins University is mobilizing its resources and networks to provide such a system and to ensure that all our students and graduates will continue to thrive regardless of background or social capital. We would like to offer the guidance below to support you wherever you are in your journey.

Alumni Mentoring

Networking and direct employee referrals continue to be the best talent leads for companies and organizations. Social distancing will likely increase the direct outreach from candidates by email and social media. While you should still consider LinkedIn for your direct outreach, your best strategy in these times is to get around the competition and rely on your Blue Jay network of over 220,000 alumni.

The university has partnered with PeopleGrove, a new mentoring platform to connect you with alumni who are ready and eager to provide you with helpful advice, support, and guidance. You may also access a larger network of fellow Blue Jays at GoHopOnline. Create a list of alumni with expertise in your areas of interest, draft an email introduction, share a bit about yourself, and ask to schedule a time to connect virtually for advice and guidance. Don’t be shy. Our dedicated alumni are waiting to hear from you.

Jobs and Internships

We are monitoring changes in internship and job recruitment at Johns Hopkins and other college campuses. We are in daily contact with companies and organizations, and we have been reassured by many that there are no changes in internship hiring at the moment. According to a recent poll conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), over 80% of companies and organizations are continuing their internship programs as planned. We anticipate the internship numbers to go down a bit given the fluid situation, and we are concerned about the state of full-time job hiring, especially in the hardest hit industry sectors.

Nevertheless, the situation is fluid, and conditions could change rapidly. Now is the time to adjust your job and internship search strategy and consider emerging industry sectors. For example, platforms that facilitate online learning and remote work will likely increase their hiring. Government, shipping, and healthcare will also likely increase hiring in the coming months. On the other hand, we anticipate the hardest hit industry sectors, like tourism and travel, to continue to experience a slowdown. Watch economic trends closely, leverage your network, adjust your expectations and strategy accordingly, and use university resources.

The university provides you with free access to Handshake, a platform that allows you to connect with recruiters, apply for internships and jobs, schedule virtual interviews with employers, and meet with Johns Hopkins’ career and life design educators. Our teams are working around the clock to continue to bring more opportunities to you.

Career and Life Design

Our career and life design educators across the university are available and eager to connect with you virtually to help you develop job search strategies, prepare applications, practice interviewing, explore options, connect with job and internship opportunities, and design your life and career. Undergraduate and masters students at the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and Whiting School of Engineering may access specialized services via the Life Design Lab and connect with life design educators Monday through Friday from 11am to 4pm via virtual office hours. Graduate students at our Advanced Academic Programs, the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Carey Business School, Peabody Conservatory, School of Advanced International Studies, School of Education, School of Medicine, and School of Nursing have access to virtual resources provided by their designated career and life design offices.

Doctoral Students and Postdoctoral Fellows

Navigating professional and career development training while simultaneously balancing research, thesis related activities, and personal life demands is already challenging and time consuming for doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows. We recognize that the current global pandemic may complicate matters. We have created virtual resources and workshops focused on updating professional competencies, polishing CVs, building a professional brand, navigating the academic job search, life design, professional development, and networking.

Doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows may connect with PHutures on Mondays from 12 pm to 2 pm via virtual office hours and with the Professional Development and Career Office in virtual workshops and forums.

There is no doubt that this is a defining moment for you, your generation, and for our community. We are learning new ways to connect, work, learn, and design our future. Paradigm shifts like the one we are experiencing now are often the source of great anxiety and disruption. We will overcome these challenges if we accurately assess new patterns, pivot our strategy, and leverage our networks and resources. You don’t have to do this alone. Our educators and alumni mentors are ready to help you navigate this process. Reach out and connect today!


Farouk Dey
Vice Provost for Integrative Learning and Life Design
Johns Hopkins University
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