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COVID-19: Fall 2020 plans and student resources ›

New Major & Career Exploration Planning Tool for Students


The Strommen Center for Meaningful work is committed to helping you identify the paths that will help you find work that is meaningful to you – work that sustains and fuels you – and that aligns with who you are, your needs, and your situation. It is for these reasons we are proud to present FOCUS 2 CAREER! 

FOCUS 2 CAREER is a career & education planning system that guides you through a reliable, intuitive career & education decision making model to help you choose majors offered at Augsburg, explore occupations & make informed career decisions. 

You also have access to five reliable and valid research based self-assessments.  Your assessment results are matched to occupations and supporting majors at Augsburg.

To access FOCUS 2 CAREER and create an account, please visit  

For more information on FOCUS 2 Career view this overview: 

We also encourage you to schedule a Major & Career Exploration appointment with a career coach in Handshake.

Don’t Have a Job? Build Professional Skills and Knowledge Anyway!


Build Skills and Knowledge

It is important to build your skills and knowledge even if you are not able to get a job or internship over the summer. Learn how to code, write short stories, or join a professional network. Whatever you decide to do this summer it will be important that you are able to articulate what you did, learned, and developed to future employers. When they look at your resume they may ask you “what did you do during the 2020 COVID-19 summer?”, be sure to have an answer ready for them. 

Here are the Strommen Career & Internship Center’s top recommendations for self-directed and directed learning this summer:


  • Read – history, biographies, local authors, or check out Business Insider’s list of 100 books everyone should read in their lifetime. You could even consider starting a virtual book club. 
  • Focused Reading – Research and read the books and journals suggested that everyone in your profession should read, ask faculty members for their recommendations.
  • Explore your creative side – through photography, writing, sewing, knitting, website design, painting, baking, cooking, music, etc. 
  • Start a blog or podcast – Improve your oral and written communication skills, explore topics of interest, partner with a friend or try it out on your own 


  • Volunteer – Consider volunteering virtually with Catchafire. Catchafire strengthens the social good sector by matching professionals who want to donate their time with nonprofits who need their skills.
  • Upgrade to a trial month of LinkedIn Premium and enjoy 30 days of free learning courses 
  • – Join a local group to meet people, try something new, or do more of what you love. 
  • Look for free webinars and MOOCs 

If you have questions or need help, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Strommen team. You can always make an appointment with our coaches on Handshake and you can also email

Network to Find a Job or Internship


Networking is the ongoing process of building professional connections. Career professionals report that up to 75 percent of job openings are never advertised, therefore, networking is a crucial element to job searching.

Plain and simple, the purpose of networking is to build relationships, connect with people in your field of interest, and an effective way to find job and internship opportunities. Networking can happen in a casual environment, a professional setting or at formally-structured networking events.

Opportunities to Network include:

  • Social media – We suggest creating a LinkedIn profile to seek out individuals you are connected to who are in positions or companies you are interested in exploring. 
  • Informational interviews
  • Job Shadowing 
  • Chamber of Commerce events
  • Professional organization meetings and conferences
  • Classroom speakers
  • Current employers, supervisors, and colleagues
  • Job and internship fairs
  • Mentoring groups (on-campus or community-based)

Networking Tips:

  • The more you network, the better your chances of hearing about job openings.
  • Present yourself professionally in appearance, language, and interactions.
  • Prepare a personal introduction or elevator pitch which includes your name, major, year in school, interest areas, and general career goals.
  • Develop a list of general questions to ask about an individual’s job, career path, and place of employment.
  • Maintain an organized list of contacts.
  • Send a thank you note to those who provide information and referrals within 24 hours. 

Check out our events page in Handshake to find and register for upcoming opportunities to network. 

Persistence Pays Off When Searching for a Job

Student Spotlight: Kristy Ornelas ‘20

As my senior year came to an end, I began submitting job applications to several employers around Minneapolis. Some were promising with good pay and good hours. Suddenly, the hiring freezes began and post-graduate life was not so promising. Hopelessness began to settle in, nevertheless, I persisted. Handshake was the first place I looked for any opportunities I could apply to and I found an AmeriCorps VISTA position with Kristy OrnelasMississippi Park Connection. It was a perfect fit for me; a combination of community work and environmental stewardship.


I knew my cover letter and resume had to be close to perfect if I wanted a good shot at the position, so I reached out to the Strommen Center for guidance. My desire to work with Mississippi Park Connection only increased as Kate, a Career Specialist at the Strommen Center, and I discussed my cover letter and were able to identify the true nature of my application for the position—a sense of vocation. She looked closely at my resume, as well, and helped improve it. I truly believe that due to her help, Mississippi Park Connection asked to interview me. Once again, Kate spent hours helping prepare for an interview that could potentially determine the next chapter of my life. So, I interviewed and got the job! With the help of Kate, my resume and cover letter were intact. Thanks to the Strommen Center, I was prepared to go after the job I wanted. Thanks to my persistence, my future was not hopeless. I can honestly say that post-graduate life is looking promising.


Written by: Kristy Ornelas

Augsburg Student Employment in the COVID-19 Era

Augsburg University COVID-19

At the end of March 2020, Minnesota saw a precipitous decline in job posts resulting in a 30% decrease in new job postings from the week of March 22-28, 2020 compared to the previous week and a 25% decrease in new job postings compared to the same time-frame last year 1. At the same time Minnesota saw the unemployment rate steadily increase and jump to 8.1% in April 2020 2

COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the economy and on the individuals who make up the workforce. Augsburg University students have not been immune to the consequences of the pandemic. The Strommen Center conducted a student employment survey of day undergraduate students from April 29 through May 11, 2020. The purpose of the survey was to understand how COVID-19 has impacted student employment and experiential learning opportunities for the spring semester and the summer. 151 students completed the survey. 

“Currently, I don’t have any money to provide for myself and my parents cannot provide for me as they pay bills, food, basic needs, and my brothers rent. If the career center could help me get a job ( as I am currently unemployed) that would be very helpful.”

-Augsburg Student


Of the students that responded:

  1. 54% lost a job, internship, or other volunteer experience during the spring semester because of COVID-19
  2. Only 17% of those that lost a spring opportunity were able to secure a new opportunity
  3. 46% lost a summer job, internship, or other volunteer experience because of COVID-19
  4. 61% are now seeking a job, internship, or other opportunity this summer
  5. Loss of income was selected as a stressor by the most students followed by lack of quiet and secluded space to do work and participate in Zoom meetings and classes
  6. Lack of quiet space and increased responsibilities at home were stressors selected by the most students that might prevent them from securing a job, internship, or other opportunity this summer
  7. Mental and emotional well-being programs were selected by many students when asked what programs and services would be most helpful this summer.

In addition to this information students also said they would like self directed ways to engage this summer (44.3%) as well as Zoom or virtual opportunities (46.3%). Only 9.4% said they did not want to engage at all.

The majority of students (51.4%) said they want to engage in programming and resources just when they want to. 

“I think overall I’m unsure about my summer employment since that may be cutback more now due parents being laid off and not being able to afford childcare. As well as the impact of how social distancing can affect students in a variety of ways. “

“My internship for this summer was shortened due to Covid and my spring internship was canceled at start of Covid. I am able to work at augsburg library but my original plans are no longer a thing.”

-Augsburg Students

The information students shared in this survey is helping the Strommen Center craft resources, programs, and services this summer. The Strommen Center is in operation all summer and is offering virtual career coaching appointments, workshops, virtual career fairs, and online resources. Students can visit Handshake to make appointments and register for events.


1 COVID-19 Job Market Impact April 3, 2020. (n.d.). Retrieved from

State and National Employment and Unemployment. (2020, May 21). Retrieved from


Best Practices – Job & Internship Search

best practices job and internship searches

Job searching involves using a variety of resources to find employment and internships. Many students do not realize they need to do more in their job search than just applying online. In fact, most positions are found using other strategies.

Here are 4 tips to help you develop an effective job and internship search plan: 

  • Identify your talents, interests, and skills – Many job searchers make the mistake of not focusing their career goals, and that is what can make job and internship searching extremely overwhelming. Before you begin your search, you need to have an idea of the kind of position you would like to have. If you have not already, spend time thinking about how your strengths, interests, skills, and values relate to work environments. Have an idea of possible position titles or career fields you might want to pursue. If you struggle with thinking about this, a career coach can assist you with this step. 


  • Resume – Make sure your resume is up-to-date and tailored to the position you are applying to. Your resume should be easy to scan quickly, while simultaneously containing enough pertinent information that will reveal essential details about you and your skills. Our office can assist you with a resume review. Make an appointment with a career coach on Handshake or take advantage of our virtual resume drop-in hours. Mondays & Wednesdays from 10am-1pm. No appointment needed! Use the following Zoom link to utilize our virtual resume drop-in service. 


  • Take advantage of networking Networking involves connecting with people who work in a field you are wanting to learn more about or break into. It is the most effective way to learn more about job and internship positions and obtain them. We recommend talking to everyone about your job search or career path. Your odds of finding a job or internship increases with the more people you tell. There is also value in requesting informational interviews once you have done your research on different companies and identified jobs and/or internships of interest. Use social media to find connections. We suggest creating a LinkedIn profile to seek out individuals you are connected to who are in positions or companies that you are interested in exploring. Be aware of fake job offers that seem too good to be true. Scammers are trying to take advantage of the pandemic and trick people into responding to fake job offers. Always check the organization’s website for legitimacy. You could also consider reaching out to the organization’s Human Resources department to double check they’re still hiring.  


  1. Interview preparation- Preparation is key! We recommend researching the company and the people you are interviewing with. Do not be afraid to ask questions about interview logistics such as dress code, parking, etc. Practice the STAR model of answering interview questions to ensure you provide concrete examples of how you meet the organization’s needs and to prove that you will be successful in that position. We encourage you to complete a “mock interview” (practice) with a career coach.  Set up an appointment in Handshake.

The Strommen Center would like to acknowledge that the job and internship search process has its unique stressors and we want you to know we are here to support you. We encourage you to make an appointment with us on Handshake and check out our new resources listed on our Community Moodle Site.

Be Flexible – Job and Internship Search

Be Flexible - Job and Internship Search

Because of COVID-19 we know many of you have lost your summer opportunity whether that was a job, internship, research, or volunteer experience. We know this loss is difficult and complicated because it may have put you in financial hardship, interrupted progress towards your academic goals, disrupted your career advancement, and just left you with nothing to do this summer. That is a lot. 


The Strommen Center is here to support you no matter the reason you lost a summer opportunity and we encourage you to make an appointment with us on Handshake and check out our new resources on our Community Moodle site.


Here are 3 tips to get you started in a new direction:

  1. Be active and flexible in their job and internship search. Even though you might be seeing posts about how few new positions are being posted, opportunities are available but they might not be your first choice. Consider broadening your idea of what you want to gain from a summer experience and how it could help you advance your goals and make you more competitive for your next job offer. This could be focusing on positions that offer you the opportunity to develop your interpersonal skills or learn a new technical skill. Check out to search for jobs and internships
  2. Continue to learn and develop skills even if you are not able to get a job or internship over the summer. Learn how to code, write short stories, or join a professional network. Whatever you decide to do this summer it will be important that you are able to articulate what you did, learned, and developed to future employers. When they look at your resume they may ask you “what did you do during the 2020 COVID-19 summer?”, be sure to have an answer ready for them. 
  3.  Focus on self-care. Loss of a job or internship is stressful because of the loss of income and also because of the loss of sense of purpose and progress towards career and academic goals. Visit the Center for Wellness and Counseling’s site for resources.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Strommen team if you have questions or need help. You can always make an appointment with our coaches on Handshake and you can also email

New Job Search Platform for Alumni and Students


The Strommen Center for Meaningful Work is proud to present CareerShift!


CareerShift is a set of integrated job search tools that allows you to search, select, and store job listings from job boards and company job postings including H1B Sponsorship jobs and companies. CareerShift provides an easy-to-use approach for cracking the “hidden job market” and for managing your job hunt all in one place. 

You have access to approximately 7.4 million jobs in the US and over 10 million jobs globally. Users can also get up-to-date contact information, including e-mail addresses, for millions of companies and access in-depth information about contacts and company postings.

Given the current historic unemployment levels because of COVID-19, the Strommen Center wanted to provide students and alumni with as many resources and tools as possible to be competitive in this job market. With grant funds from Wells Fargo, the Strommen Center is able to provide CareerShift to all current Augsburg students and alumni.

To access CareerShift and make an account please visit


For more information on the capabilities of CareerShift view this overview:

We also encourage you to sign up for a webinar to receive a tutorial from CareerShift on how to use the platform.



Strommen Open for Business

In this extraordinary time, the Strommen Center for Meaningful Work is committed to serving Augsburg students through delivering career readiness services and professional development. We are prepared to provide many of our services remotely and are working closely with our employer partners to help keep you informed of their plans. Here are some of the ways we can work with you remotely:

  • Appointments – Our advisers are taking appointments each week. You can choose to make an appointment by phone or via video conference. Schedule your appointments in Handshake as always, and be sure to select your preferred medium.
  • Same Day Virtual “Drop Ins” – Starting Monday, April 6th, you will be able to make same day virtual drop-in appointments. These 15-minute drop-ins will be available as an appointment type in Handshake and will be conducted by Google Hangouts or Zoom. 
  • Handshake Apart from making appointments with our staff, check Handshake regularly as employers continue to post jobs and message students. You can also search for any virtual events that employers may be hosting!
  • Document Review – We are continuing to review resumes and cover letters. Please have your resume and cover letter as a Google doc and during your appointment you will share it with the coach you are working with in order to review and edit it in real time.
  • Digital Resources – Visit Strommen’s Community Moodle site for online resources as well as Strommen’s website for links to valuable information. 

We know this is a stressful time. If we can be of any assistance to you, please take advantage of the above resources or reach out to us!

If you have questions contact us at:


Why go to a professional conference?

Augsburg students attended the 2020 United States Hispanic Leadership Institute in Chicago and Barbara Sabino Pina offers this reflection on the importance of professional conferences for students.

Augsburg students at the 2020 USHLI conference.
Augsburg students at the 2020 USHLI conference.

Written by:
Barbara A. Sabino Pina
Class of 2023
Major: Biochemistry
Minor: Psychology


Attending events such as conferences, seminars, symposiums, workshops, among others, present two great opportunities for your professional life: updating knowledge and networking.

Staying abreast of new trends in your professional field is more than essential in this globalized era where everything is constantly changing and innovating. Attending events with professionals from your industry and all over the country and from other countries and world gives you a great opportunity to expand your network of professional contacts. Aspects such as networking and efficient contact management are essential tools today to evolve as a professional.

Our success as professionals depends on two factors:

  1. Your own knowledge and experience
  2. Your ability to relate to people, inside and outside your company, job, and/or school.

Here come into play conferences and specialized professional events that reveal the main industry news on which the theme of the event deals and where the vast majority of attendees are professionals from the same sector.


One of the first reasons why you should attend a conference is networking.

As a collaborative culture, creating professional synergies through networking is one of the main reasons to attend a conference. These types of events usually include a networking time which was the case at the USHLI Conference. You can also take advantage of the breaks between the presentations to make new contacts. It is a perfect opportunity to generate leads and meet potential partners, event sponsors, or future employers.

Learn from great professionals

Another reason why you should attend a conference is to learn from great professionals. Rubbing shoulders with professionals is easy at a conference. Normally, these events are attended by speakers of great national and international prestige, giving you the opportunity to learn from their experiences and advice and use it to your advantage.

Meet the competition

Another of the great advantages of attending a conference is that the most influential people in the sector are concentrated in one place. Pay attention to their presentations, if they attend as speakers, or try to strike up a conversation with them to learn more about their business and strategy. These speakers most likely attract attendees who are seeking similar job opportunities or business opportunity which gives you a chance to meet and analyze your competitors. The more you know the more you can stand out above the rest.

Career focused

If you are a student, school is only a part of what you need to be thinking about, you also need to be thinking about your professional career. As students we must do well at school, and it is easy to get stuck in our routines and focused solely on our academics.  Professional events are you’re a way to shake this up and get out of your routine and out of your comfort zone. It is a great way to refresh your mind and bring up new ideas.

Conferences cover the latest topics in specific sectors. So if you want to be aware of the latest news, there is no better place than this. You will know all the current and future trends and how to put them into practice in your own career. Although it may seem very obvious, take note of the most important aspects of each presentation. Also, ask without fear anything that you do not see clearly or that you think can help you. Take advantage of the fact that there are professionals in the room, take advantage of their experience and knowledge, and apply them to your situation.

Build a community

Finally, attending a conference is a good way to develop positive relationships with other people. Good relationships are fundamental to your professional journey and the work you do. It is necessary to understand that each of us is part of a whole and that if someone fails, this will affect the overall result that will be presented at the end of the project. In conferences you often have the opportunity to work with other people, and participate in activities that will require you to work as part of a team instead of as an individual. This is great practice for how you might operate on a team in your future job.


This professional opportunity for Augsburg students was supported by the Strommen Center for Meaningful Work and a grant through the Wells Fargo Foundation.