Graduating During A Pandemic? How You Can Still Master the Job Search

May 22, 2020

It is the moment you have been waiting for your whole life or at least the last 2 to 4 years – Graduation Day! All the hard work, late-night studying sessions, hours spent in the library, and endless cups of coffee, have finally paid off.

Little could we have foreseen however, that the class of 2020 would be “walking the stage” virtually and entering the toughest job market we have seen in years. The COVID-19 pandemic has not only created uncertainties and anxiety among individuals, but it has also turned our economy, job market, and the country in general, on its head. 

But do not let that discourage you. It can be quite daunting graduating during a pandemic, but career experts say it is critical to keep looking for work during this downturn. So, whether graduation high school or finishing up your bachelor’s the opportunities are out there, you just need to know how and where to look.

Take A Breath

Just like any big undertaking, it is important to start with a clear and focused mind. It can be an adjustment going from the structure of classwork, projects, and tests, to jumping right into the uncertainty of the job hunt (with the added uncertainty of graduating during a pandemic). So, give yourself a few days to breathe and take everything in.

Be Flexible and Keep an Open Mind

Let’s be honest, applying for a job can be a full-time job in itself. And when graduating during a pandemic, finding a new job can even seem like an impossible feat. No, you may not land your dream job right away, but if you keep an open mind you could find opportunities that you never imagined. What is important during this economy is to cast a wide net and have multiple leads for yourself. Brainstorm other roles where you can utilize your experience, education, and skillset.

Do Your Research

What types of jobs are you most interested in? Is there a particular career path you want to build for yourself? What entry-level job can you get now that will help you build experience and skills that will help you achieve your overall goals? Researching will not only help keep you on track during your search, but it may even help you discover a whole new avenue where you can apply your skillset and education. Try visiting O*Net Online; O*Net Online is a website sponsored by the U.S. Government’s Department of Labor that can help you discover jobs you may have never heard about before, and learn about the career path you’ll need to take to get hired. In addition, take some time and research companies that may be hosting virtual internship fairs or career fairs. This is yet another way to connect with potential employers and new opportunities.

Network

Even six feet apart, there are still many ways to network with your mentors, professors, and industry professionals. First, start with Linkedin. If you do not have a Linkedin profile yet, we highly recommend you sign up right away. With more than 600 million professionals on Linkedin, it gives you the ability to showcase yourself and your experience. It also allows you to connect with essentially an unlimited supply of network connections and job opportunities. Reach out to individuals who work in the industry you are wanting to break into and ask for an informational interview. Call your former teachers, professors, or mentors and ask for advice and put the feelers out there. This may not yield job offers immediately, but you will be on people’s radars and begin to build relationships and connections that may turn into opportunities. 

Develop Your Skills

With most people still homebound, now is the perfect time to develop and learn new skills to add to your resume. Is there a certificate that you can earn online for your industry? Are there any free courses to further develop the skills you already have? Focus on building up your resume and cover letters. You could even take online courses in useful programs like Microsoft Excel or HTML. This not only helps to beef up your skills, but it also shows potential employers that you did something constructive with your time. Given the current climate, several online learning companies have offered to share professional training and courses for free, like Coursera, Skillshare, or Lynda.com.

Think About an Apprenticeship

If you are graduating during a pandemic, consider an apprenticeship like the Friday Services' Apprenticeship Program

If you are fresh out of high school and a four-year degree is not in the cards, consider applying to an apprenticeship program. As an apprentice you get the opportunity to work a full-time schedule, while also earning a free education. Apprenticeship programs can help jump start your career, getting you ahead of the curve without tuition debt! There are apprenticeships across a variety of industries, offering endless opportunities for grown and professional advancement. Our Friday Services’ Manufacturing Apprentices have gone on to work in Engineering, Management, Robotics, Automation, Machining, and more!

Partner with An Agency

Why go through the job hunt alone when you can recruit… well… a recruiter? Staffing agencies can be a valuable resource during your job hunt, especially when graduating during a pandemic.

Since recruiters have direct contact with companies looking to hire, they can keep the hiring process moving swiftly for job seekers. They can also help spruce up your resume and cover letter, catering it to the specific job you are looking for. These types of agencies are no longer just for temporary employment, they are the “foot in the door” you need to kickstart your career.  Recruiters, especially like the ones at Friday Services, are passionate about finding employees jobs that fit their specific needs.

Congratulation Class of 2020! Now let the job search begin! Good luck.

At Friday Services, we are proud to work with employees of all ages. Our goal is to place the right people in the right jobs every time. We would love to get to know you and match you with a job that helps you feel fulfilled. Check out all of our available job posts, and contact us with any questions.

Employees

If you see a lot of potential in yourself – so do we! Start your job search and learn about the opportunities and benefits offered.

Employers

Friday Services is independent and locally owned. We offer Western North Carolina employers strategic flexibility with greater attention to detail.