Graduating from college and having to find a job for the first time can be a daunting prospect, even under the best of circumstances. But right now, recent graduates may struggle even more as the country continues to grapple with the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.
Although the unemployment rate has dropped significantly since its peak last April, it is still much higher than it was before the start of the pandemic. And while some industries seek to add staff to their payroll, other industries may hire more conservatively or not at all until the economy improves.
If this is your first time trying to find a job, you may feel frustrated, confused, and downright lost. Here are some tips for navigating this delicate market.
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1. Focus on networking
When jobs are scarce, you need all the help you can get. So ask for it. Contact your friends, neighbors, former university professors and extended family. Ask people to stay tuned for job postings. The more you network, the more likely you are to discover opportunities.
2. Be flexible
Your first job out of college might not be the job of your dreams. This is true in general, but especially today, when the labor market is still quite tight. The more flexible you are willing to be, the more likely you are to find a role that, at least, for now, will pay the bills and maybe allow you to put some money into savings.
Remember, the days are gone when not keeping the same job for many years would hurt you professionally. These days, it is common to change jobs frequently. So if you’re playing a role that doesn’t get you excited, know that you won’t be stuck there either.
3. Be prepared to rework your CV
Writing a CV takes work. But once you have this resume in place, you may need to tailor it to different job applications. While it might take some extra effort, tweaking your resume to match the job you’re applying for could get you called in for an interview.
4. Don’t turn down part-time work so quickly
After spending several years working in college, the last thing you want is to find yourself underemployed. But it’s a tough job market right now. If a full-time role continues to be out of reach, you may have to settle for a part-time job or a few part-time jobs. While working part-time might not be ideal, remember that some income is better than none at all. And also, any work you do is experience that you can put on your resume, which could lead to a better job down the line.
5. Look at the concert economy
If you are unable to find a job in today’s market, creating your own opportunities may be your next best bet. Think about what services you can offer and grow independently. If you love animals, start a pet sitting and dog walking business. If you like children, offer your services as a babysitter. Or spend your days driving for a rideshare company to make money until things open up and a company comes up with an offer. Again, the key is to gain experience and have some income so your bills don’t start piling up.
Graduating from college in the midst of a pandemic is a difficult situation to land in. But since you can’t change that, your best bet is to go with it and do your best. The good news is that as things improve on the coronavirus front, the job market could open up a lot over the course of the year. So do your best to keep a positive attitude and hang in there until it happens.