01 June 2020 | Career Advice | Guest Author
With headlines such as ‘Almost a third of graduate jobs have been cancelled or deferred due to coronavirus’, it’s easy to feel bewildered and disheartened about your graduate job search.
You’ve possibly swung from feeling optimistic about the beginnings of your career to feeling uninspired and that job-hunting may be an exercise in futility. But does lockdown need to be the “terrible time for young people” it’s being made out to be?
To thrive in this time, as a graduate, it comes down to adopting a new and creative approach to lockdown, your employability and how you go about the job search. We’re not saying it’s not a tough time — but we are saying there are thing you can do to help.
An employable graduate
The place to start is by using your post-study time constructively. Your mission is to build yourself into the ideal candidate who, when jobs are limited, is the one who shines out as the best.
There are multiple ways in which you can do this.
You could start by developing a new hobby which develops skills which will be sought after in the workplace. For example, choose hobbies which develop communication, leadership, goal-setting or teamwork. Choose something which you enjoy, as this will help you to stay motivated. All the while, you’ll be building and practising vital employability skills, which can also be displayed on your CV.
Alongside this, consider career-boosting courses that can be done remotely. This shows initiative and commitment and will give you an excellent grounding for confident interviewing. There are a huge number of online courses to choose from, covering an enormous range of subjects. It may be learning how to use a specific piece of software or gaining knowledge on a new process in your chosen industry. Soft skills courses, such as those in communication, problem-solving or time management, all demonstrate your initiative and, again, boost your CV.
Lastly, now may be an excellent time to do some voluntary work. Younger people are generally lower risk for Covid-19 and are therefore highly sought after as volunteers. Voluntary roles can help to expand your working knowledge and help you to demonstrate a committed team-based attitude to employers.
It’s time to take an honest look at current employers. If you’re one of the graduates who have been dropped from an internship, or who has lost a previously secured graduate job, we know this is hard.
However, the landscape has changed. And whilst that means some employers are reluctant or unable to take graduates on, other opportunities do exist. Do some research on different employers and find out how the current situation is affecting them. Consider which are worth applying to directly, as perhaps they are weathering this storm better than others. Find out more about specific roles and how you can make yourself more attractive to them.
Also remember that, unlike other recessions, this time is unique. Many businesses will bounce back. You need to be ready when they are. So, follow them on social media, regularly check their websites and keep in touch by interacting with their online content.
For those that are recruiting at this time, they are turning to online interviews and assessment strategies. Do your homework on how these work and how you can excel if invited to these.
Now is an excellent time to smarten up your recruitment admin. That means honing your CV, practising interview skills and dusting down your online presence.
By combining all of these approaches, you’ll be best prepared to take advantage of graduate opportunities as they arise. In the meantime, these approaches will keep you focused and moving forwards with your career goals!
Andrew Fennell is the founder of CV writing advice website StandOut CV – he is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to websites like Business Insider, The Guardian and FastCompany.