As businesses start to resume, the job market deems to be more hopeful than in April, when the pandemic surged and 18.1M were temporarily laid off. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate fell to 7.9%. Although the current unemployment rate has been lower than in the past 5 months of the pandemic, it is still higher than in February, the pre-COVID era. The job outlook remains to be tough.
How Should College Graduates Approach the Job Market?
As a graduating senior in college, this news is very devastating. The hopes of working a full-time job post-graduation became questionable. As some may have experienced already, internships and full-time opportunities have been canceled due to the pandemic. As businesses resume, more job opportunities are being offered now; however, the chance of securing a job seems to be slimmer than ever because both the graduating students and those who have already graduated are competing for the same, entry-level jobs for new college grads.
If so, how should graduating students, like myself, should approach the current job market? Can graduating students and college grads even dare to dream of having a job anytime soon?
How Can College Students Get Through this Tough Job Market?
Despite the current job market, graduating students and college grads mustn’t give up so easily. Even though the job outlook seems unfavorable, there are 3 things to remember to get through this time and be prepared for future job opportunities.
How to Network to Connect with Real People
As a graduating student myself, I have googled “jobs for graduating students” or “jobs for new college grads” many times. I found, however, it was more effective to find job opportunities through recruiting and networking events held at my university. In addition to learning about job opportunities, the students can express their interest in the company and will grow familiar with the recruiters’ minds through these events. As a result, the students will have a higher chance to land interviews with the companies of their interest.
As a student myself, I firsthand benefitted from attending networking events. After a recruiting event, I was immediately scheduled for a phone interview with a recruiter. At other events, I emailed managers to discuss more the opportunity, leading to an invitation to a more exclusive networking event. Even when the host of these events weren’t recruiters nor hiring managers directly related to the job position, they connected me to recruiters who are looking for candidates for the position to which I applied for. Face-to-face interaction has become more crucial during this time of a virtual work environment. Browsing and attending networking events will increase the chance of landing interviews, a place to showcase one’s abilities and skillsets.
What is the Value of Resiliency
As Nemo and Dory swam across the ocean, students should keep looking for opportunities and networking events. This is not easy, however. Even after attending networking events, students may discover that companies may not offer job positions of my interest or they may not merely be hiring during that time. Nevertheless, graduating students should stay resilient and maintain their professional network. At a recruiting event, a hiring manager shared a story about a student whom he met since her freshman year. As this company was looking to hire seniors, the student didn’t qualify for the career opportunity at this company.
Despite the unavailable opportunity, the student remained in touch with the recruiter for 4 years in college and gained skills and experience from elsewhere in the meantime. Since the hiring manager had a good relationship with the student, he said that he will hire the student whom he connected with over the 4 years. At another networking event, a young professional shared about how she came to work at her company. Upon graduation, she did not have a job and felt unsure about which career she wanted to pursue. Thus, she reached out to a recruiter whom she met in college and began the recruitment process. Even if there aren’t opportunities available currently, continue building and expanding the network, through which job opportunities may become available in the future.
How to Keep Positive in Job Seeking Process
Due to the pandemic, the job market for college graduates does not seem very promising. Speaking from a personal experience, I found it helpful to acknowledge the current circumstances and accept that I may be unemployed after graduation. When graduating students receive the rejection letter, especially during this time, the reason may be largely due to the high volume of job applicants in comparison to the limited number of spots rather than their qualifications. Many graduating students are well-qualified as they have gained skills from prior work experience. The way in which they present themselves and pitch their experience will be a determining factor in successfully completing the recruiting process. As a graduating student who also attended many interviews, I practiced 100 times prior to the interview to ensure that I take advantage of the opportunity. This way, I felt no regrets from having a lack of preparation later on even if I was rejected. Furthermore, giving one’s best will propel students like myself to keep looking and perform better for the next recruitment process.
The job market is tougher than ever. Although there are limited job opportunities, the graduating students and recent graduates shouldn’t just give up the hopes of securing a job. Rather, they should prepare and make themselves stand out to companies by branching out to network, keeping up with their network, and having a positive mindset.
“Employment Situation Summary.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 6 Nov. 2020, http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm.