4 Steps Every New College Graduates Should Take During Covid-19 – Forbes - Freelance Rack

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Thursday, June 11, 2020

4 Steps Every New College Graduates Should Take During Covid-19 – Forbes

More than 4 million students in the graduating class of 2020 have walked across a virtual platform to receive their diploma. They expected to job hunt in the healthiest economy the United States has seen in recent decades, but suddenly are faced with 14.7% unemployment rates as of May 8th and a fluctuating financial market place.   

This may feel like a hopeless time, where graduates find themselves floundering with what to do entering into the workforce. But the truth is, if you’re a new grad, there are steps you can take right now to continue setting yourself up for success. After helping thousands of job-seekers land multiple offers through my online coaching programs, I have realized that getting a job isn’t directly tied to your declared major or the experience you think you need to have. Your major itself is not going to pave a yellow brick road for your career success, because it all comes down to getting resourceful and knowing where to place your focus. Know this: companies are still hiring. As a career expert, I could shout this from a rooftop!

Here are four steps you can take to ensure your graduation leads into the beginning of a successful career.

1. Create your own internship.

If you had hopes for a shiny summer internship that could lead into a job offer, don’t let a rescinded letter stop you.  First of all, know that you aren’t alone in this.  In a recent poll 25% of employers are considering revoking offers to full time recruits and interns, while 29% are making internships virtual and 35% are deciding to delay summer internships all together. 

Instead of lounging by the pool all summer, reach out to a list of companies you believe in and offer your services, and if needed, do so for free. Roughly half of internships in America are unpaid, so you won’t be missing too much of a financial win donating a few months of your time as a volunteer. This is particularly accessible if you’re interested in working for a non-profit… Experience and learning lessons can often be far more valuable than an intern stipend. That said, know that each state has different laws that permit, or block, interns from working unpaid.

There is nothing more compelling than someone reaching out to say, “I find your company’s mission inspiring and I want to help you stay in business.” Follow this up by outlining the skill sets you carry and offer to be of service for your summer months. Although this may look like remote work, lean into your innate technology skillset to be of even great assistance. Take note that you can offer whatever you’re willing, meaning you can let them know you have 5 hours a week to support for free, etc.

For college graduates of 2020, you are one of the first Gen-Z (those born between 1997-2012) classes to enter the workforce, a generation that has been raised with technology. Don’t let this selling point fall to the wayside. Instead, you can even offer to train staff on how to use online platforms or act as a support for technical questions team members may have. The key is that you want to become a resource they don’t want to lose, and offer yourself up in a way that hones a core skill set you’d like to carry with you in the workforce throughout your career, possibly.

2. Beef up your networking skills.

Although you can’t attend physical networking events or on campus job fairs, there are still massive options for cold networking. Join a networking organization in the industry you want to be a part of. Since the majority of networking groups have transitioned meetings online during this time, you can take full advantage of their services regardless of stepping foot into a ballroom or happy hour event.

The benefit of online meetings is that most networks have opened connections nationally, so you could hop into an online event with people from all across the country to be put in contact with professionals that you wouldn’t normally have access to. Here are a few networks to check out based on your area of interest that are meeting virtually:

  • Creative Mornings– A national organization for the creatives, artists and entrepreneurs of the world to connect and find inspiration. They are offering online monthly meetings for free!
  • Six Degrees Networking: A networking group for all professionals from business owners to lawyers and entrepreneurs.  They hold monthly meetings as well as virtual happy hours across the country.
  • Business Networking International: This is a great networking group to join for the small business owners or careers that rely on referrals.  As a national organization there are many groups you can join that are currently meeting virtually. 

When you hop on the call, always remember to introduce yourself with a short and to the point elevator pitch.  Here is a great example of a short pitch you can use when someone asks what brings you to the networking group: 

I am [insert name] and I’ve always been interested in [insert career interest], I am hoping to grow in [job functions (i.e. marketing, communications) of interest] so I’m here hoping to meet more people in that area, and of course, to just connect in general. 

3. Engage on Professional Media Platforms.

Take your newfound free time after graduation to professionalize your personal online brand. Considering that seventy percent of employers use social media to screen out potential employees, you want to have a presence online that supports your career, which means saying goodbye to your super cute cat public pictures. With more than 95% of recruiters admitting that they use LinkedIn for hiring on a regular basis, this is one work party you don’t want to miss out on. 

While it’s key to create a profile, what will really make you stand out and connect with more potential hires or professional connections, is to engage within the platform. 

Join LinkedIn groups within your area of focus and become active on their community feeds. Comment and contribute to conversations, share articles you find interesting or, better yet, start to write articles with your own established thoughts on topics that are valuable for your career. Publishing content directly through LinkedIn is not only one of the best ways to grow organically from an audience perspective, but also a great reference point for a portfolio of your work as you apply for jobs moving forward. 

4. Ban together.

Instead of sheltering inward within this unprecedented time to graduate, connect with your fellow graduates. Use this as an opportunity to investigate how you can work together and help one another succeed. Set up your own networking forum, build a side hustle together or share contacts with one another that could help land someone a job.  

It is really easy to feel alone when you walk off the virtual stage with no clear future outlined any longer. The reality is, there are thousands of others in the same situation and it is up to you to ban together to create the future you want. As research indicates, the givers and connectors tend to win in their careers. So don’t hesitate to reach out to your network and offer support however you can…. You may just get a reply offering you the support you didn’t realize you need.

If you want to succeed, you will have to put in the effort There is always success and work to be found, but it’s up to you to go out there and find it… or better yet, create it.



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