So, you’ve finally graduated from school and are ready and willing to jump right into the workforce. You have completed your internships, navigated your way through the right classes, and have a can-do attitude. But unfortunately, with the numerous closures and blows to the economy during the current worldwide pandemic, the work world just may not be quite ready for you yet!
You are probably finding that your dream job either doesn’t exist right now due to lockdowns and quarantine periods or that the company you have been yearning to work for isn’t hiring right now. The biggest problem the pandemic brings to business is the unpredictability factor. Companies want to plan for the future, but the future seems uncertain.
So, what can you do?
Luckily, we have a few strategic suggestions to help you along with your job hunt! First, don’t be afraid to try open positions or take temporary positions if you are in a tight financial spot. It won’t reflect badly on you if you end up bouncing around or switching career paths entirely in an effort to stay afloat during the pandemic. The good news is that we are all doing what we can nowadays, so you’re not alone! But here are a few tips and tricks you can pull from your magic hat to help you find the right position after you graduate.
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Embrace Social Networks
Networking is the gold standard! In today’s technologically savvy world, it’s easy to forget about your real-life resources like friends and family, but they might be more valuable than you expect. Even if they are in completely different industries from your desired field, they might have crucial contacts or advice to help you on your journey. Alternatively, if you are looking for a temporary job to hold you over monetarily, they might have some opportunities that they can lead you to as well.
In addition to talking to members of your family and close friends, be sure to put yourself out there on social media. Whether you have 10 friends or hundreds, letting your network know that you are actively looking for a job never hurts. Make sure to include your:
- Ideal position
- Availability to start
- Technical skills for the job
- Soft skills (communication, working with a team, leadership skills, etc.)
In fact, your family and friends may even be able to teach you new skills in the interim. As long as you’re spending time applying, make good use of your down time by learning something new that you can add to your list of attributes. Don’t discount your retired loved ones, either. If you know anyone who has recently retired, they likely still have contacts at their previous position who can give you valuable advice or recommend you for open positions.
It’s all about who you know! Networking with the right people is everything in the working world. Let’s be honest, skills and education are useful, but having connections is much more likely to land you a good job, so you always want to be in the know and well-connected.
Utilize Professional Websites
Get your name out there! If you have already taken advantage of your traditional social media outlets and your own social network, consider expanding to professional websites. Why, you ask? Professional websites exist to help people like you: skilled people ready and willing to work. Many professional websites allow companies to list positions on them as well, so you can efficiently search for work that fits your experience and desires.
LinkedIn is a solid, reputable website because of its focus on professional qualities and robust capacity to feature your resume and individual skills. If you want to know more about LinkedIn, check out our other article, How to WOW Potential Employers with Your LinkedIn Profile. In addition to LinkedIn, we recommend checking out:
These websites are essential to finding a job unless you go through an employment agency. An agency’s advantage is that they shoulder some of the workload for you by finding jobs in your chosen industry and matching you with employers to secure interviews. The cons of agencies to be aware of are that they usually take a cut of your hourly wages, often don’t provide health insurance, and usually charge a fee for their services.
Venture Outside of Your Field
Change can be good! This might seem like a career no-no, but, as we stated above, these are trying times for everyone, so flexibility will be a huge asset in your job search. No one will begrudge you needing to find a job to support yourself, even if that job has nothing in common with your degree, experience, or ideal industry. Many industries simply aren’t hiring or aren’t working during the pandemic, especially in fields where you can’t work from home or aren’t considered “essential.”
So, if you have the freedom to choose, there are a few things you might want to consider. For one, try examining your dream job and identifying some of the key skills involved. Don’t forget about the soft skills, either! Once you have made that list, pick the top two or three skills needed for your ideal job and think carefully about them. Which of those are you already good at? Which areas could you use some work in?
Now, this is where you can get strategic and creative! Next, search for jobs that also incorporate those key skills. If you can’t find anything that uses all three of the skills, focus on the ones you think need improvement. We need to challenge ourselves to grow, especially in the areas where we are the weakest. Then, apply for those jobs. And when we say apply, we mean it! Apply to as many jobs as you can handle. Get your name out there, front in center!
Some employers have an automatic response to applications that don’t move forward in the system. Still, in many cases, you may have to assume that you didn’t get the position if you don’t hear back from the employer for several weeks. It’s always easier to get the confirmation, but don’t be discouraged either way. It’s completely normal to apply to quite a few jobs before you land an interview unless you go through an employment agency.
Graduating and waltzing off into the real working world is undoubtedly tough, but we promise that your optimism and good nature will be your best allies during the job hunt. You undoubtedly put your best efforts into graduating, and that hard work will absolutely pay off, but your dedication and willingness to work will be great allies along your journey. So, hype yourself up with your real-life social network and advertise your skills on job websites to catch the eyes of potential employers. Then, roll up those sleeves and start applying! Before you know it, you’ll have a solid position, and you’ll be growing your resume for that dream job that’s right around the corner!
Key Next Actions:
- Write down your dream job and the top 3-5 skills needed for that job.
- Give yourself a rating with a scale of 1-5 for each of those skills (1 – Needs A lot of Improvement, 5 – Very Strong).
- Reach out to your contacts and see if you can get warm leads for a job or advice on where to look.
- Apply to jobs that allow you to utilize some or all of the skills you wrote down. If possible, find a job that will help you build on skills you need to improve.
- For the skills that you need improvement, when interviewing, make sure to highlight that you plan to grow in those areas and have examples ready on how you plan to achieve that growth (books, seminars, courses, etc.). This shows that you are familiar with the role and have a plan for your future!
LEARN all that you can, BELIEVE in yourself, and take actions that allow you to GROW!
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