What 2020 college grads should expect as they enter the job market

As recent graduates enter the job market, they should expect employers to be slow in responding, interviewing, extending offers, and scheduling start dates. The vast majority of human resource professionals for medium- and large-organizations are working from home due to COVID-19. Although those and others working from home proved, on average, to be more productive, that productivity will likely wane over time as people inevitably settle into bad habits. Even if the people you’re interacting with are very productive, it is likely that at least one of the people involved in the hiring process won’t be and that will slow down the entire process.

Also, there are huge variations industry-to-industry and even metro-to-metro in terms of the job market. We’re 2.5 months into the shutdown and a typical job posting ad on a typical job board or employer’s career site automatically expires after 30- to 60-days and so very few job postings that you might run across are now leftover from the pre-pandemic days. If you see a job advertised, there’s an excellent chance that employer is actively hiring for that role.

What recent graduates can do to prepare themselves for the job market is to be more proactive and less reactive. Focus on the quality instead of quantity of your interactions, meaning that you’re more likely to get hired if you focus your efforts on five to 10 employers within one industry than 100 to 200 employers across several industries. Just as you would do your research prior to writing a paper in school or taking an exam, do the same when getting ready to apply. Research the industries of interest to you and focus on the one that best aligns with your competencies, interests, values, and needed compensation.

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By Alicia Hibbard
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