Graduating. Internships. Pandemics. Job Searching. Resumes. Interviews. Rejections. Recessions. Closed for business. Unemployment. These are some of the playing cards in the game of life, but who would have thought they would be dealt in the same hand? For recent graduates (and arguably anyone), this can all be a little overwhelming.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact economies across the globe, many institutions have had to shut their doors due to government regulations. Colleges are conducting zoom calls and graduation ceremonies have been canceled. Usually, this period is filled with the excitement of graduation and the nerves of entering the working world. For young adults currently, there is a high level of uncertainty as to how they are supposed to compete in a market filled with professionals who have been in the game for years and those who have just been laid off that are now also job searching.
So, what can recent graduates who are just starting their career (or anyone who is job searching) do to set themselves up for success in the current situation?
Embrace this time that you have
Not to say that the current global situation is ideal by any stretch of the imagination, but think of this time as an opportunity to define your career goals and set yourself up for future, long-term success.
For example, have you picked a career field? Do you know which companies exist within that industry? What kind of culture do you want in your ‘ideal’ office? This is the perfect time to research the companies you’re interested in, look at their social media profiles, and connect on LinkedIn to see what it looks like to work there and if it would be a good fit for you! It might not even be a bad idea to see how they’re handling everything during this time, as this is a great chance to see the character of an organization.
Develop your skills
As recent graduates, I’m sure the last thing you want to hear right now is to learn more. A diploma goes a long way, but often there are soft skills and technical know-how skills that can be overlooked throughout your college education.
Example: Are you planning to get a job in marketing? What about administration? Now is the time to become an expert on the basics. Take a Microsoft Office course, learn QuickBooks, familiarize yourself with social media platforms such as LinkedIn, or even practice your graphic design skills with Canva. Perfecting these skills and adding them to your resume will boost your credibility more than you think while keeping you sane with the tedious day-to-day that we’re living in.
Nova offers online training courses for our candidates, so reach out today and we can help get you started!
Don’t focus too much on job titles
It’s important to understand that with the current economy, the job you may have been planning towards might be harder to come by. Focus on what skills you have learned throughout your college career and which classes you enjoyed/excelled at.
Suppose you majored in economics. Your goal might have been to get a government job working on policy, but given the current environment, a vacancy may not be immediately available. Instead, focus on your skill set—the ability to do data analysis and research—and think about how you could use those skills within the industries and sectors that are currently hiring, such as insolvency.
Many first-time job seekers and recent graduates have a vision of what they thought their first job would look like and have a list of the expectations or things they’re hoping for with their first job offer.
Your wishlist might look a little like this:
a) full-time job
b) full benefits
c) $3,500 a month
d) paid time off (25 days, please).
These requests are a lot to ask for while searching for a job in a flourishing economy, never mind during a pandemic and could mean out-marketing yourself before you’ve even started. During this time, you are going to have to be more flexible than you wanted to be; This doesn’t mean giving up your ultimate career goal, but it might mean considering something you hadn’t before.
Think about options such as a trainee position, an internship, or even a 6-month temporary contract to get your foot in the door and some quality experience under your belt. Think about what positions would give you the skills and expertise you need to get closer to your ideal job.
No matter what your first “gig” or trainee/internship/job might be, you’re always broadening your network, gaining experience, and learning lifelong lessons, so make the most of it!
Lastly, don’t get discouraged
I think it’s safe to say that everyone, not just recent graduates, has been affected in one way or another in the past couple of weeks. Now is not the time to be hard on yourself or start to discount your skills. There will be time to showcase what you can offer, but for now, you must be patient and keep chugging along.
I hope these suggestions help, and while it may seem like the end of the world, it’s not, and you certainly don’t want to look back and think of all the ways you could have nurtured your career before even starting it! Think of this time as a virtue, use it wisely and don’t be afraid to reach out to the team at Nova for more advice!