The graduate jobs market has been turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic. As students prepare to enter the fray post lockdown, they face an uncertain time as the mid- to long-term economic damage remains unknown.
Some companies have upheld offers made to graduates before the crisis, others are withdrawing them, pushing back start dates, or preparing virtual workplace introductions. Internships, typically part of an assessment for future job offers, are being cancelled, deferred or made entirely virtual. Other, non-finalists, who had internships for this summer are being offered full-time jobs for 2021, building up issues for next year’s graduates.
A survey by Prospects, the UK graduate jobs website, found that 28 per cent of graduates have had job offers rescinded or the start date delayed. According to the US National Association of Colleges and Employers, 4 per cent of members are withdrawing offers and 20 per cent are considering it, while 21 per cent cancelled internship offers.
Other graduates who have only just embarked on their job search and are trying to figure out what it is they really want to do with their lives face an even tougher gig. Previous ways to gain vital work experience through networking, summer jobs, or volunteering are all drying up.
Whether you are set on forging your path in law or banking, have your eye on product development in a tech start-up, or even have a strong business idea of your own, navigating the months ahead to ensure your long-term career prospers could be tricky, if not daunting.
So how can graduates make a positive start? For those only just beginning their search, how should they get started and manage their expectations? There will be more competition for fewer jobs, so how can graduates differentiate themselves in their applications and have a higher chance of being interviewed, and subsequently stand out in that interview?
Many industries will be contracting fast while new ones will take time to emerge: as a new or recent graduate, where should you place your bets for long-term career success? Or should you just focus on the short-term for now, even avoiding the question altogether by going back to university for a masters degree?
Whether you are a graduate with a question or someone who has expertise that could help them, please join the discussion in the comments field below.
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