AUSTIN, Texas — Finding a job during the COVID-19 pandemic is challenging – and it might be even harder for recent college graduates trying to get their first job. Indeed Hiring Lab Economist Annelizabeth Konkel said they've seen hiring slow across the economy as a whole.
"Please don't get discouraged. The job market right now is nothing like we've ever seen before and a rejection and having trouble getting that opportunity isn't reflective of their talents and education and their skills. It's reflective on the economic situation," Konkel said.
She said some college graduates might have to take jobs with lower pay than they wanted or accept positions they weren't planning to do with their major.
"Unfortunately, a lot of the popular industries, like marketing or tech or finance, that traditionally attract new grads, they are not faring well right now," Konkel said. "But that is OK. Eventually this will pass, but take opportunities as they come right now."
vCandidates CEO LT Ladino Bryson said to make sure your resume makes it clear that you're available to work from home or at a job site.
"They also need to understand that you're probably going to have a lot of interviews over the internet, so you have to be virtual interview ready," Ladino Bryson said. "The best advice is to remember that you don't know everything, that you're going to have to seek out awesome career development because you can have the highest degree with the best grades, but you're going to have to present yourself as a viable candidate."
Ladino Bryson said people looking for jobs should consider looking for essential worker or customer service positions but remember to be patient.
"You may have to look at what talents you have that you can utilize in a different role while you take your time and build some good tenure," she said. "You definitely want to make sure that you're being realistic."
"It's really tough to dive into this and it be your first experience in the labor market. I think that's really tough, but it depends on each individual's background how they will fare in the future," Konkel said.
Workforce Solutions Capital Area Career and Education Outreach Specialist Natalie Obregon said Workforce Solutions helps high school students learn how to make their way into the job market and it is trying to keep things as normal as possible during the pandemic.
"The biggest thing for us is to make sure they know that we're not expecting this to go on forever," Obregon said. "At the end of the day, like, we're still thinking of them as an investment in their future selves."
Obregon said they have several resources for high school students and soon-to-be graduates navigating the workforce:
- WIOA (Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act) Youth can provide support services (case-managing) and tuition for certification and associate's degree programs.
- Workforce Solutions Capital Area encourages students to check out its Instagram for information about upcoming events and in-demand careers in our area.
- There are workbooks for high schoolers if they want to take some time to mull over careers that may interest them.
- There are Texas Workforce Commission resources like Career Check and Reality Check.
- Workforce Solutions has a webinar series, which will help job seekers prepare for the world of work, including guidance on resume writing, interviewing, WorkInTexas, etc.
- If seniors need assistance, they can email firstname.lastname@example.org. Job seekers can also check out Workforce Solutions Capital Area's COVID-19 youth resources or the MC3 program if they want to pursue a career in skilled trades.
"We keep pushing to our students. Apply to this. Even if you're not sure that's what you're going to be doing six months from now, because what if the economy opens up? What if we go back to normal and we feel like we didn't do enough," Obregon said.
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