Meet the Class of 2020 – Facing An Unknown Future
It is one thing to finish University surrounded by resources like internships, career centres, and the support of one’s academic community; it is entirely disappointing to finish your time at University virtually alone, remote and isolated. Finding a job outside of University is never “easy” for any graduating class necessarily, but there are certain factors that make the job market more plentiful. However, the graduating class of 2020 is having difficulties entering the workforce around the globe. As the world enters into a global recession due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is becoming less likely that new grads will be solidifying anything particularly glamorous. That still hasn’t stopped a single young professionals from trying.
Unfortunately, many employers have had to release their long-standing workers from the payroll along the year, limiting their efforts to bring on new graduates to the team. This has caused a lot of anxiety for new graduates who have had to return to their parents’ home, unable to kickstart the future that was supposed to be spread out for them after graduation.
“If you can’t get an entry-level job today, that means that you don’t move out of your parent’s house, you don’t develop real work experience, you don’t buy your first home until later, and you don’t get married until later,” said Brian Kropp, Chief of Human Resources Research at Gartner, an industry advisory company. This is expected to have a long-term effect on Generation Z graduates, as well as the generations after them. A major struggle for recent graduates is the impending student loan debt about to resume, most of which might need to be halted, extended or paid in smaller chunks as young graduates scrounge for any work available.
Unfortunately, new graduates are extended only a six month or one-year grace period where they are considered fresh by the companies seeking new workers. If older workers are getting fired, and younger workers are being fired or having their offers rescinded, it is a wonder how this is going to impact the young graduates trying to find a job next year in the graduating Class of 2021.
Phoebe St. Ledger graduated from a British Clothing Design School with dreams of working for a major fashion company after graduation. The health crisis has forced her to return home to live with her parents and put her future dreams on pause currently. “All the jobs have dried up – everywhere,” she said, preparing to seek jobs in the food industry after submitting forty ignored job applications.
Jessie Dibb graduated from Ohio State University with a dual English and Communications degree. Like St. Ledger, she has applied for a number of jobs – nearly 200 jobs in a wide range of marketing, copywriting and communication-based jobs in cities across the United States – but she hasn’t had any hits. She makes a point that if she had known COVID-19 was about to strike, she would have tried harder to secure something before the job market shut down. Unfortunately, hindsight is 2020.
Maria Jose Casco finished her PhD in Ecuador ready to search for health-related jobs or a similar career path. Currently, although the need is there, health services aren’t hiring new staff for full-time positions. She and her husband are now considering, like so many others, to relocate to another country in search of different options.
While Li Xin finished her Statistics degree in China, she finally secured a data research position in Beijing after searching since the beginning of January. She confides that half of her class has not been nearly as lucky.
Kevin Zheng graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a degree in Criminal Justice. His internship with the Chicago Police Department was terminated at the beginning of the pandemic, and he is now beginning to look for part-time work locally. Another fear looms over the younger generation as they are released out into the workforce: potentially bringing COVID-19 home to their parents and loved ones.
The list of names and disheartening stories continues to go on.
However, as disheartening as a global recession feels to everyone alike, there are ways for young grads to raise their morale. For one thing, it is important to learn early on that no matter how plentiful the rejections are, being rejected is not personal. Job hunting is strenuous, tiring, and often heart wrenching, but resilience is key.
Apply, apply, apply.
And then apply some more. Ensure that your resume, cover letter, CV, and LinkedIn page are up to date, clean and flawless. Update your computer system’s database with services like the azure database migration service. Take the time to review everything carefully before you submit a job application and leave little margin for error. Now is the time to strive for perfection: do not become complacent.
Finally, divide your time well: continue building skills as well as applying for jobs. If you spend 100% of your time job searching, you are likely to burn out or to drive yourself insane. By applying yourself to new skills, like coding, editing, SEO or continuing to strengthen your own talents, you are showing how proactive you are to recruiters.
To all new grads out there: You are worth it. Keep trying and you will succeed. No one will ever forget the Class of 2020.