Dear Graduating Class of 2020,
To say this year has been....unique....would be an understatement. Like every other student, you were looking forward to walking across the stage, receiving your hard-earned diploma, tossing your cap in the air, and commemorating this milestone moment with loved ones. Unfortunately, 2020 threw us all quite the curveball, and plans had to be adjusted.
But these changes didn't stop at graduation, many of you also have also had to reconsider the plans you have made after graduation. For those choosing to enter the workforce, these plans have been altered by a challenging situation that carries several unknowns for the future.
Instead of surrendering to frustrations and panic, here are some helpful tips to stay organized and remain optimistic while figuring out the next steps in your job search:
Do not pause your job search. If you were talking with employers before the shutdown –especially if you received a job offer – now more than ever, you need to keep in contact. Even if things are on hold, sending a brief email every few weeks is an important indication of your ongoing interest.
Use some of this time to update your resume and professional profiles like LinkedIn. Also, take this time to review and clean up some of your social media pages and remove any content you do not want a potential employer to see. Consider making certain information on your profiles private or limited.
As you use certain online platforms to search for a job, do not just blindly apply to job postings. Applying to jobs all day long is a good way to burn yourself out and become discouraged. Rather, do your research on a job. If possible, look up the company, find a way to connect with the hiring managers, and do not be biased when connecting with staffing agencies that are working with the company.
The current situation will undoubtedly impact the start of your career, so be realistic about the situation, but more importantly, be kind to yourself.
Explore Unique Options
The talent pool is a bit tumultuous right now. Do not become discouraged if you do not immediately find your dream job while searching. In the interim, don’t overlook the possibility of contract-to-hire or temporary roles; this will keep up your skillset, show consistent work history, and build connections.
In some cases, temporary roles can lead to a successful long-term career path, so remain open-minded. Additionally, if possible, you should also remain flexible on work hours and remote options. Focusing on in-demand industries and companies such as healthcare and pharmaceuticals, customer service and support, shipping and delivery services, tech support, and logistics/supply chain are great ways to increase one’s chance of finding a job.
Get good at online processes. Zoom meetings and Microsoft Teams are just some of the virtual meeting platforms being used by businesses right now. Experiment with the free versions for a variety of services, so you will be up to par when an employer asks which platforms you can use.
Treat a virtual job interview as if it were an in-person interview. This includes prepping your resume and supporting material, reviewing all of it for at least a half-hour before your interview so it is fresh in your mind. After the interview is completed, you should make it a priority to follow up. If an interview is conducted, job seekers should always ask the interviewer when they can expect to hear back. Then, based on the answer, personally set a date to follow up /check-in for updates.
Don't Stop Chasing Your Dreams!
Even though the current job market is less than ideal, it is important to remain positive. This situation will no doubt impact the start of your career, but it does not have to derail everything.
Be realistic about the situation, but more importantly, be kind to yourself. Small steps matter even if you cannot be as productive as you would like.
Stay committed to your dreams and building a professional name for yourself; employers will appreciate that quality and you will be rewarded, even if it takes longer than expected. You may find that your persistence has brought you closer to new (and better) opportunities faster than you expected.