Indoor shot of young smiling hispanic woman who is an intern at a startup company.
It’s not easy for recent college graduates. Theyâ€™ve spent two years in less than ideal circumstances, sent home from school, forced to take classes online, and come back to the campus wearing masks and socially distancing themselves.
After graduation, they face â€˜entry levelâ€™ jobs requiring around three years of experience, or offered the chance to intern for free. If you come from a wealthy family you can afford to take a free or stipend only job to gain experience, which may lead to a full time permanent role.
For those of more modest means, they may not be able to afford working for no pay and will miss out on opportunities. People whoâ€™ve been out of school for some years, face difficulties finding a job that offers enough money to pay back student loans and get out of their parentsâ€™ home.
I spoke with Christine Cruzvergara, the chief education strategy officer at Handshake, a LinkedIn-like platform geared towards college aged young adults and recent graduates. The company offers the tools and connections to find a new job. Handshake enables students on college campuses to find interesting job opportunities, internships and entry level jobs. Over 21 million students and young alumni from over 700 universities use Handshake.
The virus outbreak disrupted in-person classes, graduations and access to internship and job opportunities. During the pandemic, fewer college students took internships. Those who were fortunate to obtain an internship or co-op, they were mostly online. This hampered the ability of this cohort to gain insights into the corporate world and make new connections in pursuit of building a network for their future career growth.
â€œYou absolutely can still build meaningful relationships and meaningful connections virtually,â€ says Cruzvergara. She added, â€œFor students, they do have to be more proactive. They have to think more intentionally about who and where they want to build those relationships, and they have to take the initiative to actually reach out and do that.â€
Here are some of Cruzvergaraâ€™s job search suggestions:
Treat the interview process like you would a tough college course. Do your homework by studying the company and check out the backgrounds of the people who you will be interviewing with. Carefully read the job description. Match up your rÃ©sumÃ© to the requirements. The more you know about the company, its mission and the managers you are meeting with, the better youâ€™ll feel at the interview.
Be mentally prepared, companies will request a large number of interviews. It’s common for human resources and managers to withhold feedback and ghost you. If this happens, donâ€™t be alarmed, everyone is going through this. Try your best to stay emotionally and mentally strong in the face of all the obstacles in your path.
Here is an unpopular piece of advice that you’ll appreciate ten years from now. After completing your degree, consider moving back home for a while. You can save on rent, food, utility bills and wonâ€™t get overwhelmed by the burden of student debt on top of all the other expenses.
Think long term. When you get a job, defer short term gratification for long term financial security by saving as much money as possible. You can invest it, buy some real estate or start a business. It adds up quickly. Soon, your invested money will offer a second income.
Politicians, celebrities and rich alumni at commencement speeches say you should change the world. It’s a lofty feel-good goal. Before you change the world, get your own life in order. Think of what you want to do with your life and career. It’s more important to figure out what will make you happy, and also provide for the standard of living you desire.