Career Advice for Graduates Entering the Workforce During COVID-19

Career advice for graduates entering the workforce during COVID-19

November 5th, 2020 by Rachel Hickey

New grads these days face a number of unique challenges. The job market has been turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic and navigating the world of work, networking, and job searching can be daunting.

With the amount of information being thrown at new grads from experienced workers on social media to your parents, it can be hard to find good advice. 

While great advice often comes from those listed above, we asked the BitBakery team what wisdom they’d bestow on recent grads.

Relevant work experience during your degree can set you ahead

Getting short term experience during your education is a great way to understand the world of work and explore your skills and interests. 

“Because of co-op, I really think I knew what I needed to know when I graduated, said Wes Worsfold, BitBakery’s CEO.” “Both knowledge and workplace stuff. Things didn’t alway operate in the ways we learned by the textbook.”

Graduated without co-op? Look for jobs that will help you explore and learn—even if it means starting out with something not so glamorous.

“I wish I had done co-op,'' said Alex Kinsella. “Graduating with limited work experience was tough. I had to work a lot of minimum wage and contract work to gain experience.”

Working on short-term assignments is a great way to get a variety of experiences. Once you’ve figured out your niche, you can better target employers that are looking for someone with your new-found skills.

Keep an open mind when it comes to job hunting

Depending on your financial situation, it may be necessary to consider short-term work or work outside your area of expertise while employers adjust to the coronavirus spread. These jobs may not be the type of work you may have anticipated, but having an extra income can help you navigate this uncertainty after graduation with more confidence. 

Showing employers that you were able to adjust to this challenging situation could make your application more competitive.

When looking for job opportunities, prioritize transferable skills and people skills that could support you in your chosen career path. Even if a job is not in your ideal industry, there may be opportunities to develop skills that you can leverage later when applying for future jobs. For example, complex problem solving, remote software use, defusing conflict and communication are experiences that could be added to your resume in the future.

Don’t make the interviewer work for you

You’ve landed an interview. You’ve spent hours prepping for potential questions. You know how to sell yourself in the best way possible to your potential employer. Just don’t forget to think about the interviewer advises Ryan Sweeny, BitBakery’s Director of Application Development.

“When interviewing and applying for jobs,  try to think about it from the interviewers point of view as well. How can you make their life easier and make it easy to choose you?”

Not sure where to start when navigating the virtual job hunt? Check out our recent post on how to succeed at a virtual career fair.

It’s okay to fail, or get off to a “slow” start

Personally, I never imagined I’d have to move back home to live with my family after graduation, with no job prospects and virtually, no plan. 

When you graduate it may feel like many of your classmates walk straight into their dream internship/job. The reality is that it may take many jobs to find out what you truly want to do. Everyone has a different journey, especially during a global pandemic. 

Comparing yourself to others will only cause trouble, so make mistakes, be patient and open to opportunities, quit jobs that don’t make you happy and never apologize for following your heart.

Be proud of yourself for facing challenges that many people will never experience

Sometimes, experience really is what you get when you at first didn't get what you wanted. No matter what you decide to do, it is important to acknowledge that you are facing challenges as a new graduate entering the workforce that many people will never experience. Above all, take care of yourself and the people around you as we navigate this situation together.

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