Entering the job market during a global pandemic affecting 81% of the global workforce and resulting in skyrocketing unemployment figures can feel daunting, scary, and surreal.
While there is no sugarcoating the current situation, it is important to remember that some companies and organizations are still hiring and that there are many steps you can take to increase your chances of successfully starting your career despite the challenges.
You are not alone
We would also like you to know that you are not alone. No matter where you are in your career development, the CEU Career Services Office is here to help you, this spring and beyond. CEU alumni have lifelong access to Career Services, so you can count on working with us after graduation, too.
Purpose of this guide
In this guide, we provide a number of resources, suggest actions, and offer ideas which we hope will help you navigate your entry to the job market in the age of Covid-19.
Invest time in figuring out what you like and want and what opportunities are out there
It can be stressful to think about the future and your goals and aspirations, even under the most perfect conditions—let alone during a global pandemic, when the future seems unclear at best and downright scary at worst. But one thing is for sure: there will be a future. Investing time in clarifying your goals, aspirations, and values and in researching opportunities that are out there gives you some agency over what that future looks like.
Conducting thorough research helps you to narrow your focus and gain a clearer sense of the types of sectors, organizations, and roles that would be a good fit for you. Gaining an in-depth understanding of a field will help you to prepare strong application materials and to perform well in interviews. You are also more likely to have better luck at networking and securing informational interviews if you invest in some desk research first.
Plan for multiple scenarios and be flexible
Be pragmatic. A part of this process should, of course, be about pursuing your dreams, but even in normal circumstances, career paths do not always go according to plan and dreams do not come true right away. This is even more so in the current situation. Therefore, it is good to be prepared for multiple scenarios; make sure you don’t only have a Plan A and Plan B, but also plans C, D, and possibly E, as well. Be flexible and ready to adapt your ideas about what you will do after graduation and about the time it will take to reach your goals.
- Book an appointment with your career advisor
- The Five O’Clock Club book series by Kate Wendleton
- Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans
- 10 Awesome Free Career Self-Assessment Tools on the Internet
- 16 Personalities
Build and strengthen professional networks
While meeting people in person might be more difficult under the current circumstances, you should not stop networking. Most positions get filled without ever being publicly advertized, which means that if you are not connecting with people, you may be missing out on a large number of possibilities. During the Covid-19 crisis, when employers are scrambling to deal with the new situation, the easier you make it for them get to know what you have to offer, the more likely you are to get hired. As such, networking is now more important than ever.
Additionally, talking with people who already do the sort of work you’re interested in is a great way of learning more about the field, career paths, and requirements. So do some informational interviews. Professionals are usually flattered to be asked, and right now many people have a bit more time than usual to connect to others and are also looking for ways to give someone a helping hand.
In sum: join online webinars and discussions, ask your already existing contacts if they can help you to connect with people in their networks, connect with CEU alumni on LinkedIn, and attend virtual career fairs.
- Networking handout
- Informational interview handout
- LinkedIn’s Rock Your Profile series on how to make a great profile
- 7 Non Irritating Ways to Network Online
- Coronavirus And Your Career: How To Effectively Network During A Quarantine
- At-Home Networking Strategies
- Devex Live 2020 (Connect with development professionals)
- List of networking events on Eventbrite
Keep applying and developing your skillset
Many companies have frozen recruiting and hiring for the time being, but not all have. This means you should keep looking and applying. And while the competition might increase, as the number of job openings potentially decreases, many people do get hired during economic slowdowns and recessions, and that will happen in the current situation as well.
To increase your chances of getting hired, make sure your application materials, LinkedIn profile, and social media accounts (yes, employers do look at those) are in good shape. You might also want to consider enrolling in online courses to further develop your skills.
- CV/resume handout
- Cover letter handout
- CEU Library - Open Resources during COVID-19
- Coursera: Earn earn a free certificate - available through July 31
- 41 Classes You Can Take Right Now to Advance Your Career (and They’re Free!)
- 8 Certifications to Add to Your Resume (For Free!)
- 20 Best Free Online Certifications & Courses for 2020
- Want to Learn French? Italian? Russian? There’s No Time Like the Present
- Job Hunting During COVID-19? 6 Things You Need to Know About Remote Hiring Right Now
- Starting a New Job Remotely During Coronavirus? Here’s What You Need to Know to Succeed
- EURAXESS (Career advice and resources for researchers)