Written by Paul Kearney
As a senior this year, I was excited to enter into an extremely strong job market that offered great opportunities for 2020 graduates. Then COVID-19 hit, throwing the class of 2020 into a whirlwind of lost opportunities and financial worry.
Fortunately, there are still ways to secure employment after graduation this year, even as many employers go on a hiring freeze. Here are eight of them:
1. Network online.
If you’re not already doing this, do it. Create a LinkedIn account, and reach out to professionals in your career field. It might seem awkward at first, but if anything, professionals will be sympathetic to 2020 graduates struggling to find a job. A quick email or virtual meeting could give you the connections you need to land a position.
2. Be flexible.
Even if current opportunities don’t line up with what you really want out of a career, take advantage of the opportunities that are available. You will learn crucial skills, gain experience, and have better networking opportunities, all of which will make you more attractive to employers further down the road.
3. Use your school’s resources.
Your school’s career center is working around the clock to make sure their students are landing employment or finding other ways to grow professionally. Take advantage of these resources by setting up a meeting with a career coach or counselor.
4. Consider freelancing.
Whatever your skills may be, chances are someone wants them. If you are a good writer, computer programmer, graphic designer, or know how to come up with a catchy advertising slogan, companies want you. Putting your skills to use online can earn you money and provide a boost for your resume. Check out websites like Upwork and Fiverr to get started.
5. Start a business or develop your personal brand.
There’s never been a greater time to start a business or develop your personal brand through social media or blogging. With all this extra time on your hands, you can put more into developing yourself and your ideas.
6. Search for companies that are hiring during the pandemic.
There are plenty of articles right now offering lists of jobs and companies hiring the most right now. Search through some of these and make lists of the positions you would qualify for and which companies are hiring in these positions. Aside from networking, researching job opportunities is your best chance to find a great job. Again, take advantage of the time you have right now and research the best companies that are hiring to decide which ones you would like to work for.
7. Work in customer service.
Positions in customer service and retail are always in demand and can provide great opportunities to earn money. While these jobs might seem easy at first glance, they are not for the faint of heart. The workload can be intense, and angry customers can be frustrating, but the experience and interpersonal communication skills you will develop make these jobs worth it.
8. Embrace working remotely.
There are plenty of companies hiring remote workers, and they want recent graduates. Unfortunately, many graduates are not attracted to the prospect of working remotely and do not look into these opportunities. Embracing the idea of working remotely can open up many more opportunities for you and can bridge the gap between graduating and finding a more desirable position while offering you new skills.
Paul Kearney, ’20, is a history major local to Hillsdale, MI. You can find him reading, listening to indie music, or preparing for his next road trip while he procrastinates on term papers.
Published in May 2020