Are you a senior about to graduate college wondering what in the world you are supposed to do now amidst the coronavirus pandemic? You are far from alone.
With the coronavirus shutting down the U.S. economy, many worry this will be the worst hiring season for college graduates since the financial crisis of 2007-2008.
A number of companies have put hiring on hold until everything settles. Others are laying off employees, reducing salaries, and, unfortunately, some are going out of business.
It is an unprecedented circumstance for college graduates who, just months ago, may have had a pretty solid career opportunity right after graduation.
Luckily, 2020 graduates do have a few things on their side. While opportunities have shifted for the present time, there are still strategies you can use when looking for a job in this economic downturn/recession.
It may require a change in your plans and a detour to your final career path, but it might also give you an opportunity to explore paths and gain experience you otherwise wouldn’t.
Read on to learn the top tips we have for college graduates who are looking for a job during this pandemic and recession.
Career tips in a downturn/ recession
Here are our top tips on navigating the current economic conditions as a new college graduate.
Analyze the current market for opportunities
While many companies have come to a screeching halt, others have had to scale up without much notice. It’s important to take a step back and look at the economy as a whole to see which industries are still in demand.
If you were hoping to enter industries like tourism, aviation, or hospitality, chances are you are going to have to put that on the back burner for a bit. Starting a small brick-and-mortar business? Again, it’ll be best to put that on hold.
Pivot to a high-demand industry
In the meantime, you can look for a job in industries that are experiencing high demand. For example, with people staying home due to shelter-in-place mandates, new demands have risen for delivery services, in-home entertainment, groceries, and technology that keeps people connected. Zoom, Skype, Amazon, retailers, and grocery stores have all expanded.
Instacart is hiring 300,000 employees and Amazon plans to bring on 175,000.CVS Health and Walmart are each adding 50,000 new roles. While these jobs might not utilize the education you just acquired, they are a way to start earning income and could lead you to other opportunities.
Many students are feeling anxiety and panic about getting a job. The truth of the matter is that there are still jobs but there is a great mismatch between the sudden industry needs and talent.
Graduates may have to step out of the path they envisioned to fill a current need in the market. This may be difficult or unpreferred but can provide you with a source of income and varied experience which may help you become a more versatile hire in your preferred field in the future.
How do you find and get a job when you can’t leave your house? Some universities have launched virtual career fairs to help graduates connect with potential employers. Students can drop their resumes with employers and some will be able to interview virtually. You can also search for jobs on sites such as USAjobs, Indeed, ZipReruiter, CareerBuilder, and Craigslist.
Consider online work
Another option is to look into online work. There are many ways to utilize your education and skills through an online opportunity or to develop a new ancillary skillset. You can look for remote jobs from employers, or can package your skillset and employ yourself.
To find remote jobs, you can search the many online job search platforms including Indeed, LinkedIn, and FlexJobs. Forbes reports that the top career fields offering remote work are computer/IT, customer service, medical/health, education/training, sales, and finance/accounting, with healthcare and computer/IT leading the way.
Self-employed online work
But what kind of services can you offer if you want to work for yourself? Despite the recession, there is an ongoing demand for digital marketing which requires many pieces.
You could be a writer, a transcriptionist, a video editor, a web designer, a web developer, a virtual assistant, a social media manager, a voice-over specialist, a branding consultant, a marketing strategy consultant, an SEO specialist, and the list goes on.
Browse freelance work on job platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr to see what is out there and get your feet wet. Then, once you decide, you can build a website and begin marketing yourself through social channels and email to find clients.
If you want to use your education and stick to a certain industry, you could focus on serving clients in your industry of interest, if available. For example, say you studied psychology, you could take on writing jobs related to that topic.
If you don’t want to jump into a new type of work just yet, what other options do you have?
Alternatives to looking for a job in a downturn/ recession
Jumping into the workforce amidst an economic downturn/recession isn’t your only option. As many did in the 2008 financial crisis, you can consider other alternatives for the next few years, waiting for a hopeful upturn.
One popular alternative is staying in school. Going back and pursuing your graduate degree can potentially qualify you for higher pay and will delay the start of your student loan repayments. It’s very important to run the numbers first before taking on additional student debt at this time. Do reach out to us if this is an option you are considering so that we can ensure you borrow as wisely as possible – because at some point, you will have to pay back this debt.
Under normal circumstances, graduates may also take a gap year to travel or volunteer. Take some time to figure out what they want to do next. However, in current times, traveling is not an option and many volunteer opportunities have been paused (including the Peace Corps). However, there still may be creative ways to volunteer your time or skills remotely or with cautionary measures.
Another option, if you had a job that you have lost and you qualify, is to apply for unemployment benefits. This can help to provide you with some income as you search for your next job.
It’s more than graduating into an economic downturn/recession
The college graduates in 2020 are facing an unprecedented situation. It’s more than graduating into an economic downturn/recession as many did in 2008. You are also facing physical restrictions due to the risk of virus transmission. This creates an additional restraint on those trying to find work.
However, humans are resilient and there are always ways to adapt, survive, and even thrive. This situation will certainly demand a shift in what most had planned but not all is lost. There are opportunities you can pursue that can help you earn income now. And, the steps you take can be a testament to future employers of your ability to adapt and find creative solutions.
You will come out the other side of this, and success lends itself to those who push through adversity. If you’re interested in career coaching or need help getting your financial plans in place, you can reach out to us here. The first meeting is completely free so you have nothing to lose.
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