For the class of 2020, graduation is far different than any of us would have expected when the school year began. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many new grads will miss the pomp and circumstance of walking across the stage in a cap and gown to receive their hard-earned diploma. However, there is a silver lining: the next exciting stage of your career journey is just starting. And, yes, entry-level jobs are still out there!
If you’re wondering how to find a job after college, we’re here to help. Instead of simply providing our tried-and-true career advice for college graduates, finding a job during COVID-19 warrants some extra guidance.
We asked our associates to share their best advice for college grads who are now navigating unfamiliar territory (in more ways than one). Here’s what iHire’s experts had to say:
“Focus on the positive possibilities and don’t worry about finding your perfect job; worry about that in 5 to 10 years. Take a job that may be a stretch for you – something that takes you out of your comfort zone. Then commit yourself to be the very best at the job. If you’re successful, so many doors will open for you in just a few years."
“Accept every offer of help you reasonably can. Neighbor will look at your resume for you? Show him. Friend’s mom tells you about a job opening? Look into it. Your parents offer to help with groceries, car payments, or health insurance? Take it. There will be less opportunity and more people looking for it. Accept help; it may be the difference between starting your career now or in 5 years. On the other side, offer help if you can. Remember how you got what you have. You didn’t do it alone. Reaching out to help someone who could use it can change their life forever.
Also, be patient. Understand that even in the best circumstances, beginning a career and advancing your life with student loan debt is a difficult undertaking and these circumstances are not the best. This will take time, effort, and money. Your parents didn’t get their house and furniture the day they graduated; it took time and you should understand that your journey will take time as well.”
“Research and explore the health of the industry you’re interested in. There will be some that are doing very well, and some that need to make a comeback or that may even be replaced. While researching and planning, make sure your resume specifically highlights how you can contribute to the position you’re seeking. This means you may need more than one resume to send. Market yourself widely.
Remember that you’ll learn from any job, if that is your mindset. Go into your job search with the understanding you have a great vantage point. You can grow in different directions if you keep your focus and mind open to what suits you best with your personality and skill set.
Lastly, take what you’ve learned in the past few months, such as how to virtually collaborate with classmates, and translate that into how you can help your future company. Call that out in your application.
“Make sure your resume isn’t selling you short. All relevant experience – paid or unpaid – is valuable and can be presented in a strategic way. In addition to internships and volunteer roles, think about school projects that directly relate to the position(s) you’re targeting. Also, course titles often make great keywords. Consider including a select list of courses you completed as well.”
“Show off a project in your [video] job interview, whether it’s a piece of computer code or a mechanical hand, to demonstrate how your thought process works. Explain the prompt, the problem, and how you got to your solution. With the world changing on a day-to-day basis, your ability to respond to difficult situations is as important as the skills listed in your resume.”
“Use your network! Reach out to people you met during internships, previous jobs, career fairs, etc. Talk with advisors or professors in your department, and even tap your friends and family. You never know who may have a job opportunity for you. Also, if you’ve had a job offer fall through due to recent events, don’t think of it as a loss. Stay in touch with your contacts at the organization, and an opportunity may open up down the line.”
“Prepare a designated remote workspace. Even if the job you land is not 100% remote, working from home isn’t going away anytime soon. You may also participate in video interviews during the hiring process, so ensure you have the right tools ready for wherever your job search takes you: a computer with good video and sound quality, a strong internet connection, and a quiet place free from distractions and noise.
You may not have a home corner office (just yet), but you can start getting the pieces in place now to avoid last-minute setups and troubleshooting. Plus, if you conduct all your job search activities from your designated workspace, you’ll get used to working in that environment, making for a smooth transition to ‘real’ remote work.”
"Take each step in the journey as a part of your story. Own it and learn from it. Even if you are not selected for one role, take that learning experience with you to the next role you apply to. For positions you applied to and/or interviewed for but were not selected, ask: What could you have said or done differently? How could you have submitted a better resume? What interview skills do you need to practice? Who have you not reached out to for networking opportunities? You should also be open to opportunities that are not an exact fit. They could be teaching moments and may lead you to your dream job after all.
And finally, don’t give up. Stay persistent. Persistence goes a long way in showing your commitment, strength, and endurance."
To learn more about how to find a job after college, check out our 50 Job Search Tips for New Grads Cheat Sheet. Ready to begin your search? Find a job that’s right for you across iHire’s 56 industry-specific talent communities.