OCM Explains How the Job Market has Changed for College Graduates

Last updated on September 23, 2020

In today’s difficult economic climate, new college graduates may understandably be concerned about whether they will be able to work in their chosen field. The high unemployment rate and lack of hiring among many major employers have left some students out of luck when it comes to working in a professional field.

Understanding what you can do to increase your chances of getting a job during the pandemic is an important step toward gaining independence. OCM shares seven steps you can follow to make sure that employers strongly consider your application.

1. Be Flexible

If you aren’t able to find a job in your field, it is a good idea to be flexible. Right now, your primary concern is to be able to support yourself, and future employers in your field will respect that when they see unrelated work experience in your resume.

Applying for a job that isn’t related to your college experience will also broaden your horizons. Future employers will appreciate that you had the grit to work hard, no matter what field you were working in.

2. Research the Job Market

When you are working at your new job, you should take all the time you can to research the job market. Identify which jobs are in demand, thinking about how you can market your experience and skills to meet these challenges.

Your new job will help to keep you engaged and active while you look for the right opportunity in your field. You may find a different field that matches many of the skills you gained in college, and you may be able to pivot yourself into this new opportunity.

3. Networking

You may feel that you don’t have a professional network to fall back on, but you should take every opportunity to foster connections.

You need to be creative when thinking about your network. Former coaches and teachers, friends from high school and college, and your parents’ friends can be excellent sources of job leads. Talk to former supervisors from your internships and other interns you have worked with. Find people in your geographic area if you can.

Cultivating your network is a life skill, and one that you will be practicing throughout your career. No one likes it when a job seeker only contacts them when they need something. Work to keep your network engaged by asking them how things are going in their own careers. Of course, today it is difficult to visit with your network in person, but you can have video calls with them.

4. What to Do if Your Job Offer Was Rescinded

Having a job offer rescinded is a uniquely painful situation. You may have felt happy and relieved that you got an offer in such a competitive environment, but then you may get a call or email that the company cannot hire you after all. You may be hurt or angry, but don’t take your feelings out on the person who contacted you. If you are calm and measured in your response, you will be more likely to receive an offer in the future.

Stay in touch with the interviewer; you may be able to get in on the ground floor when they begin hiring again.

5. Build Your Online Professional Profile

One thing that can help a great deal is building your professional profile on LinkedIn. A clear, professional headshot will be appealing. Fill in the headline with keywords describing your skills. Write a summary highlighting your expertise. A summary should be at least 40 words.

OCM recommends that it is also a good idea to make sure that all of your personally identifiable social media, like Facebook and Instagram, is employer friendly. This is a good time to delete any incriminating photos of college parties. The last thing you want to do is give the impression that you are frivolous. It may also be a good idea to restrict friends from tagging you in photos, since some friends think it is funny to tag people in the most embarrassing shots.

6. Interview Tips

Most interviews will be conducted over Zoom or Microsoft Teams. You will need to make sure that your technology is working as it should. Having to drop an interview call because the technology is not working can be the difference when it comes to getting the job. You might want to practice with the software, enlisting friends’, or family members’ help.

You should find a quiet place to set up, asking others to stay away and keeping pets out of the room. The background should be simple, professional, and neat, and the lighting should be good.

If you have fought through the steps of getting an interview, you need to preserve your chances as well as you can. Dress for the part, even if you feel like your future employer won’t be able to tell that you are wearing sweatpants.

Maintain eye contact during the call. Too many Zoom participants look at their own face while they are talking, which can make it seem like you are not engaged with the call.

7. Apply Often

In this job market, you should have as many applications active as possible. When in doubt, apply anyway. If you have second thoughts, you can withdraw candidacy or turn down the job. If nothing else, you will be able to gain valuable interviewing skills.

Moving On

OCM shares these tips to help you succeed in your career. Moving on from college to the working world can be frightening and depressing. You will need to make sure that you keep a positive attitude, no matter how dire the situation may seem. Your focus should be on making enough money to support yourself in the present, even if you don’t have the opportunity to work in your field.

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