College Grads – Starting a Career During the COVID-19 Crisis

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Class of 2020 – this was certainly an interesting year to finish college. It’s strange enough having to finish a degree while remotely learning amidst a stay-at-home order. Then, to have everyone from Oprah to Barack Obama congratulate you virtually. Finally, to walk across your living room floor instead of a stage to get your diploma. And now, you’re starting a career during the COVID-19 crisis. It’s safe to say that no graduating class will have an experience as unique as yours. 

For the ones who have secured a post-grad job already, congratulations and we hope that training and beginning full-time work goes as smoothly as possible. But for the majority of recent grads trying to find a job in these strange times, you might have some questions for how to pivot the standard post-grad job hunt during this time. Use our below tips to help reach your goals!

Consider temporary, freelance, and contract work.

Even in normal times, temporary work is something to seriously consider for recent graduates. Temporary work allows you to try out different positions, industries and companies without making a full-time commitment. During these times especially, hiring managers are “accelerating the use of freelancers” in the place of full-time staff (CNBC). Getting one or more remote freelance jobs during this time allows you to explore your options and make the career decision that’s right for you. It’s also a great resume builder! There is also a strong possibility that the company you’re hired to work for will convert you to full-time once they’re back at the office.

Continue to grow your professional skill set.

One thing that hasn’t slowed down due to COVID-19… online learning! If you’re looking to expand on the skills you learned from college, there is no time better than right now. By taking an online course right now through a platform like Udemy, you’ll be able to devote more time and effort than if you were trying to juggle it with a full-time position. Plus, this is yet another thing that can be added to your resume. When you’re applying for jobs, the fact that you are proactive about continuously learning in your chosen industry will be a HUGE plus!

Be flexible and open about opportunities.

It’s tough to think about, but the beginning of your career probably isn’t going to look how you thought it would because you’re starting a career during the COVID-19 crisis. Your first role post-graduation might be a different job, company, or industry than you were planning on – and that’s okay. Remember that regardless of what your first position is, it’s important to gain experience, hone in on your skills, learn, contribute and meet peers. If you’re someone who’s searching for that elusive first job, check out some companies that are currently hiring. Keep in mind that your first job is not necessarily your forever job.

Consider volunteering.

Due to the pandemic, many individuals are in need – of food, shelter, etc. If your job search isn’t taking up all of your time, consider volunteering at a local soup kitchen or homeless shelter. You could even lend your experience virtually leading a webinar or teaching summer school. Besides looking good on your resume, volunteering enables you to give back to your community, which may really be hurting right now. Plus, you never know what connections you might make; something could lead to a full-time position or an opportunity to network. 

Research relief packages for recent grads.

Given that you might not be making a salary as soon as you were expecting, your bank account might be hurting a bit. Take a day or two to research federal and state level relief packages for recent graduates, and apply to the ones that you qualify for. For more information and helpful links, check out Indeed’s resources for job seekers.

While it can be daunting to graduate during a public health crisis, it’s important to keep the faith! The skills you learn now – virtual interviewing, remote working, etc. – will help long after this as you grow your career. Above all, remember that you’re graduating during an unprecedented era, and that while it may take longer to secure a full-time position, you must keep the faith. Your strength and perseverance will be an asset for years to come. Your team at Career Group Companies is here for you, and we will assist with resume workshops, interview coaching and career counseling.

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