EVOLUTION OF A CAREERS IN THE GEOSCIENCES COURSE BEFORE AND DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
The careers course was developed to prepare our students for the types of jobs available to both undergraduates and graduates. The first 2/3 of the course is on finding employment, including covering the types of jobs available, finding jobs, networking, building targeted resumes and cover letters, developing a professional online presence, networking, licensure, and interviewing. The students develop resumes and cover letters for real job postings which are edited and peer reviewed during the course. The last third of the course focuses on developing skills around communicating data to non-geoscientists, including data analysis and written, oral, and visual communication. The course was originally an in-person 3-credit elective course for seniors and graduate students. However, the timing was too late in the program, so it was changed to a required 1-credit sophomore-level course. A parallel 1-credit course for graduate students was added in 2021. Initially the course was delivered in-person. In 2019, the course was moved to hybrid instruction (~25% in-person), followed by asynchronous on-line in 2020 and 2021. The courses will likely return to the hybrid format beginning in 2022.
One of the most useful exercises during the course is a series of mock interviews. Pre-pandemic this included mock 1-on-1 behavioral and group interviews, all in-person. With the pandemic, all of the mock interviews became remote. These included self-recorded interviews, phone interviews, Zoom behavioral interviews, and virtual group interviews. In the most recent class one of the most surprising interviews for students was a group puzzle interview where the group was emailed a geologic map and was given a few minutes to describe the geologic history of the area. The pandemic has affected how this course is delivered, but these parallel changes in hiring and employment.