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Work and the Coronavirus

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Helping people understand how COVID-19 affects work and employment by sharing insights and help from ILR's workplace experts.

Adaptation for Graduates Seeking Jobs

photo of a net illustrating the concept of networking and casting a wide net

By: Anu Lyons

With unemployment continuing to rise and we approach a potential recession, students are anxious about their job prospects. Those who had secured full-time jobs through campus recruitment find they might be delayed. Initially, late starts were only a few weeks from the original plan. Now, it could be a few months, especially if the job is in a region significantly affected by the pandemic outbreak. Some employers have cancelled jobs, as their priorities shift to maintaining staff or they’re even forced to furlough or lay off employees.

The best advice is to adapt. Consider casting a wider net to catch as many leads as you can. If you’re interested in a particular region, expand it. If you’ve been focused on a specific area of work, consider the critical core skills and identify other job families where the same skills apply.

Entry-level jobs may be difficult to find, but some areas are seeking eager college graduates such as grassroots campaigns. Instead of waiting for that perfect job to come along, consider taking a short-term or micro-internship or a contractual position. It can pay the bills and provide quality work experience to show future employers. Anticipate delays in the search process. Employers’ priorities are shifting daily and as they adjust to their new normal, the search process may lumber along for them and you.

Consider carving out time to upskill and learn something new. Several organizations are offering free or low-cost training, certifications, or courses to develop skills that could help enhance your resume. These organizations include Coursera, Linkedin Learning, and edX. If you have savings or short-term support, consider using this hiring pause to rethink your next steps.

Take time to update your resume, practice virtual interviewing skills, and build your professional network. As a current student or recent graduate, take advantage of two critical resources: university career centers and your institution’s community including faculty, staff, and alumni. Career-center staff across the country are offering virtual support to help students retool their search strategies and to help identify next steps. The vast network of alumni and the college community can often lead to opportunities that are often part of that “hidden job market”. Networking alone can help elevate a an application and help that feeling of “cyber-abyss” when applying to jobs online.

Ultimately, by adopting a growth mindset approach to the uncertainty that lies ahead will help recent graduates and current students be more positive, confident, and resilient – all attractive traits to all employers.

Here is a list of other job-search resources:

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