Typically, with graduation comes the start of a person’s career.

Unfortunately for the 2020 graduating class, they are entering a job market that has been turned upside-down by CoVid-19. The class of 2020 has traded caps and gowns for loungewear, and packed stadiums for computer screens. In April, the unemployment rate soared to 14.7%; the jobless rate for 20 to 24 years old college graduates rose to 17.2%.

How does a recession affect graduates?

graduate during COVIDThe CoVid-19 outbreak has put a lot on hold, including employment opportunities for graduating seniors. Those who do land jobs during a recession tend to start at lower salaries than graduates who start in a stable economy. NACE conducted a poll of 283 employers in April and found 26% are going ahead with internship programs as planned. Most others have either reduced the length of the internships or moved them entirely online. For graduates who do find jobs, the jobs tend to be less prestigious and graduates are waiting much longer for promotions. New graduates are struggling to pay off student debt, buy homes, and saving for retirement. Graduates face an uphill battle on two fronts. Fewer jobs are available now, creating more competition. Companies are much more likely to rehire the talent they originally let go because of the pandemic. Those who do find jobs in a recession tend to be happier with their jobs, show more gratitude, and are less narcissistic.

How should graduates approach this uncertainty?

There is no sure path right now because everything is so unstable in the economy. To combat these uncertain times, graduates should establish a network. They can target alumni, older friends with jobs, parents’ friends, and friends’ parents. Staying active on social media, especially on LinkedIn is a great way to put your name out there for opportunities. Graduates should look out for companies that are launching virtual internship programs to help guide your job search. For example, AmrockSynopsys, and HP are offering virtual internship programs during the COVID-19 lockdown.  According to a report by recruitment platform iCIMS, the graduating class of 2020 is expected to each apply for 20+ jobs during the shutdown. Graduates should not be afraid to self-promote and continue to reach out in polite professional discourse. Searching for jobs during this tumultuous time will be humbling for many graduates. In the future, saying you graduated with the class of 2020 will mean that you overcame a great deal of adversity and still made it.

Seiler Tucker