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How Recent Graduates Can Prepare for a Pandemic Era Job Market

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The COVID-19 pandemic impacted employment across the globe. In the U.S., the unemployment rate reached a high of 14.8% – the highest since 1948. Now that we are entering a post-pandemic era and businesses are starting to reopen, those about to graduate can breathe a small sigh of relief. The job market today is certainly better than what it was at this time last year.

But, it’s safe to say that some damage has been done

Some industries are experiencing a decrease in demand. They are being forced to lay off workers, and some businesses are still shutting their doors for good. Other industries are urgently trying to find workers to fill in gaps, so the competition is extremely fierce.

The unsteady employment landscape can be difficult to navigate for someone who is going to graduate or someone who recently received their degree. So, how can you find a job in the aftermath of the coronavirus? Start by focusing on the future and which industries are hiring. Then, you can hone your skills and determine where you’ll be a good fit.

What Does the Future Look Like?

It’s still difficult to accurately predict exactly what the job market will look like in the years to come. But, there are a few things that are likely to change in the future because of the pandemic. The jobs that will be most heavily impacted are those that require close physical proximity. That includes industries like:

  • Healthcare
  • Personal care
  • On-site customer interaction
  • Travel
  • Home support

While these industries may not suffer, they are likely to see the biggest changes in future operations. For some, that might mean fewer hiring opportunities. For others, it could mean putting more safeguards in place or changing their practices.

Another area that has seen change and growth during the pandemic is remote work. This is likely to keep growing in a post-pandemic world for several reasons. First, it was already on track to gain popularity. Advancements in technology have made remote work easier for some over the last few years. Now, employees and businesses alike are starting to see the benefits.

It should be no surprise, then, that remote onboarding will be around long after the pandemic. Virtual onboarding is impactful for businesses. For example, virtual training videos save time, they’re easy to share privately, and they make the onboarding process less stressful. If you’re looking for a job after graduation, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the remote onboarding process, including welcoming videos and software tutorials.

Industries In Demand

The pandemic wasn’t completely destructive for the job market. Some industries have seen exponential growth and demand over the last year. Breaking into one of those industries after graduating can offer you new opportunities and job security. Some of the most in-demand and fastest-growing industries of the moment are:

  • Data science
  • Software development
  • Healthcare
  • AI
  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Education

If you’re interested in any of these industries but your degree doesn’t seem to “fit,” consider where you might be able to use transferrable skills. For example, if you have a BS in Information Systems, you could put that to use in a hospital setting, an airport, manufacturing, or even financial services. Transferable skills are important for getting your foot in the door of an in-demand industry.

In addition to looking at industries with demand, you should also focus your efforts on highly demanded job skills. If you’re a recent graduate who doesn’t feel confident about landing a post-graduation job, you might already have skills that help you outshine the competition. You just have to know how to advertise them.

How Can You Stand Out?

So, if you’re trying to break into an industry in high demand, what can you do to get hired? First, focus on your resume. We already touched on the increased popularity of remote work. That also means an increase in competition because candidates from all over the world can apply to a work-from-home position. Most employers only glance at each resume unless something catches their attention. To do that, your resume should include:

  • A brief employment summary
  • A key skills section
  • Social media URLs
  • Strong action verbs
  • Achievements based on facts and figures
  • A catchy headline

Standing out with your resume also means highlighting your skills. In a post-pandemic world, employers are looking for individuals who are familiar with crisis management, digital engagement, and those who have emotional intelligence.

Stepping into a pandemic-era job market can feel daunting as a new graduate. Not every industry is actively hiring. There will continue to be ups and downs for quite some time. But, if you’re able to get your foot in the door of an in-demand industry and showcase your skills, you can find success quickly, and start your career with the pandemic in the rearview mirror.


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