Students look for work during record unemployment

Lacey Clark

With unemployment at an all-time high, many UMKC students are searching for alternative work.

Students who have found themselves unemployed are now seeking jobs that may not be their first choice, but will keep them afloat financially.

“I am looking for alternative work because I am financially independent, and I have a lot of expenses that come with that,” said junior Rebekah Shackelford.

Other students are seeking employers that are taking precautions to protect their employees from the spread of COVID-19.

“I tried to find somewhere close to my apartment that would pay okay, and was taking preventive measures,” said Kelsey Keith, a junior communications major.

Nearly 6.6 million people filed for unemployment last week, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Some states are offering additional unemployment benefits to help cover expenses. Additionally, the federal government is giving many Americans $1200 checks to bolster their bank accounts.

However, this may not be enough for some students.

“I won’t get the stimulus check because my parents claimed me as a dependent on taxes,” Keith said. “I filed for unemployment, but it won’t be enough to cover my expenses.”

Finding a job might be easier said than done. Shackelford says she hasn’t had much luck finding a job, but has found small freelance jobs to make extra cash.

“I have not necessarily found another job yet. I have been walking and grooming dogs for extra income, but honestly, that takes a lot of time and does not seem like it will provide enough to cover essentials like rent,” Shackleford said.

Keith and Shackleford said they didn’t consider using UMKC’s Career Services during their job search.

“Honestly, I didn’t even know they were doing anything,” Keith said. “I figured they were pretty much shut down.”

Keith was wrong. Despite coronavirus closures, Career Services is still offering help (albeit online) for those seeking work or internships. 

“Our career services staff is available to help you find a new position, update your resume, or prepare for an interview,” said Career Center Director Tess Surprenant in a statement on Handshake. “Chances are it will be tough to find similar work, but if you need to earn something to tide you over, take a look at temporary, part-time, or flex-time positions. These can get you through the next couple months.”

To meet with a career advisor, you can schedule an appointment online via Handshake for a video meeting or phone call.

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