At LaunchingU we work exclusively with college students, new graduates, and early career professionals. Right now, we know the job market is extremely tough for you. Covid-19 is still strong in our country, companies do not know what to expect, and they are being incredibly cautious about adding to payroll. Many companies had to lay off staff because almost across the board consumers and businesses stopped spending money. There are less jobs, and more people looking for them than any time since 2008 and perhaps even longer.
The Reality is Job Opportunities Are Down, but There is Hope.
On the job site ZipRecruiter the number of postings for entry-level jobs typically filled by college graduates has fallen 73 percent over the past three months, with the number of openings for internships declining similarly.
But… after three months of absolutely nothing happening for our clients, who in a normal market would have had a job by graduation or shortly thereafter, it is slowly cracking open a bit.
Here are three things differentiating our clients who are getting a look from companies and/or getting jobs, and things you can do to strengthen your position in the job market:
1) They are well prepared as candidates. Really, really, well prepared.
They have done the preparation necessary to present themselves as compelling candidates. And without jettisoning their vision of where they are headed in their careers, they have become more flexible in where they are willing to start.
Here is an example from one of our clients. Max graduated this Spring and prior to Covid19 was looking for a marketing opportunity in a technology company. Two weeks ago he started in a business development role in a technology company. Not what he thought he would be doing, but he is learning and is in a technology company that should be able to withstand this chaotic marketplace, which is allowing him to earn a living. Max took control of the things he could control and worked his network, built relationships with recruiters, and became a very strong interviewer. He worked very hard and it paid off. He moves out of his parents’ home next month and into the city he targeted.
2) They work their networks.
Evan also graduated this Spring, and he is doing a job that he is not deeply excited about, but it is teaching him a lot about an industry that does interest him. He got this job because he saw a job posted in a company that he interned with a few summers ago. He called his old boss and asked if he could support him as a candidate for the advertised position. His ex-boss was happy to, and helped Evan get an interview. Evan was well-prepared for the interview, had the backing of someone in the company, and started three weeks ago.
3) They work the process and are tenacious.
Jackie started out looking for marketing jobs in sports management. She has both work and internship experience in these types of roles, but this has been a dead industry for the past several months and will be slow and uneven to open up.
Jackie was willing to look beyond sports management and was targeting companies with management development programs. She was a finalist in a job opportunity she was excited about, came in second and did not get the job. She felt bad over the weekend and then pivoted to accept a six- month assignment that could lead to a full-time position in a different company. But Jackie’s eyes are wide open, and she is not sitting still. While she is doing an excellent job in this assignment, she is also looking at other possibilities and keeping her options open.
Victoria was planning on getting a marketing job in retail or hospitality and had very strong internships to support that aspiration. But both her top choice industries were hit early and hard by the Pandemic, and in a down economy marketing is often the first function to go and slow to come back as an economy rebounds. Because she had strong experience in retail, she was able to get into a management training position – and with a brand that has enough cache to actually survive this deep decline. Victoria applied to jobs, she followed up, she asked her network for connections and is a strong interviewer. She will get strong experience here, including supervisory experience, and has ideas about how to use her marketing skills in this role.
In our client pool, these are not new graduates who are obviously more highly credentialed then our other clients. But their heads were up, they were determined, well-prepared, and talking to everyone they knew about what they were looking for – and it paid off.
Someone is going to get the 25% of the jobs that are out there this year as compared to last year. It can be you, but you are going to have to be bullet-proof in your preparation as a candidate and you are going to have to work for it.