Finding Graduate Jobs in a COVID-19 World
|Author: Kirsten Nash
|Published: 4th February 2021 16:10
Graduating from university can be a scary prospect at any time, as students leave their University bubbles and enter the real world, looking to find an opportunity to start their career. However, graduating during a time of such great uncertainty has introduced added worries for recent and upcoming graduates looking for jobs, as lots of sectors have moved to working from home or furloughing staff.
As a third-year student myself, I understand the apprehension students may feel, but that does not mean we should believe there are no possibilities for us, as there are still plenty of opportunities out there.
I spoke to two recent graduates who have successfully found jobs in their respective fields, to show why current students should not have to worry about what the future holds.
Gina Curtis, 21, from Portsmouth, graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in July 2020 with a degree in Veterinary Nursing. She now works as a Veterinary Nurse at the PDSA in Portsmouth.
Gina explained to me that the placement she completed whilst at University played an essential role in securing her job. "I did my placement at the PDSA in January 2020, during which they expressed they would like me to return, which led to them offering me a job in March. So, I didn't have to search for a job, and it was reassuring knowing I had secured a job before [graduating]."
After receiving a job offer in March of 2020, the Coronavirus pandemic hit the UK, plunging the country into lockdown.
"The pandemic did cause disruption to me by delaying my employment and by adjusting the current ways of working, but it has not had an impact on my job role directly because the UK population will always have pets, and pets inevitably get sick or injured," Gina explained.
This gives an important message for all students, graduates and people seeking work; that although the pandemic may have affected the dynamics of how some jobs operate, the world has not stopped and these jobs are still out there, with vacancies that need filling.
We then discussed what advice she would give to current and future graduates who may be seeking employment in these times. On placements in particular she said "Form strong bonds when on placement. Even if you don't want to work there in the future, they might know somewhere that you may want to work and put you in touch or give a good reference."
She added, "Don't give up. New opportunities come up all the time and don't be scared to go outside of what you always thought you would do. Going to university provides you with a lot of skills that can be used in a range of departments, so use those skills!"
Amber Hall, 22, from Clanfield, like Gina found herself graduating amidst the Coronavirus pandemic. She graduated from Portsmouth University in January 2021 with a Master's in Law, and had achieved her undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice the year before.
I asked her how she had felt about finding a job in the current circumstances. "I was apprehensive, but I needn't be. I managed to find a job within my first five applications. Finding a job during the pandemic was not as difficult as I had imagined," she explained.
Amber now works as a legal advisor at Simpson Solicitors, a job she found and applied for after seeing the vacancy online.
"After reading the company ethos I knew it was exactly the type of place I wanted to work. I had to attend a number of single and group interviews. I was unsure about attending interviews virtually, but I shouldn't have worried so much about this as it actually made the process easier," she said.
On the impact coronavirus has had on her job, she revealed that she found there were actually some advantages for her. "I work remotely from home. This is actually beneficial as it means less commuting time, so the working day is actually shorter."
She then pointed out why coronavirus would not affect job opportunities in her field. "Providing legal services is essential. Whether there is a pandemic or not, people still require this essential business to help with all kinds of matters. I work within the wills and probate department, so we have seen an increase in demand for work parallel to the worsening of the virus."
I then asked her what advice she would give students looking for work. "Make your CV as strong as possible. A strong CV is what gets you the interview, then it's just about selling yourself. Most companies want the best person rather than who has the best qualifications on paper," she explained.
But she further added that there was no need to put too much pressure on yourself. "I would advise people not to rush into a job. Just find one at your own pace. There is no urgency to finding a graduate job, as the right one will come out eventually."
Their stories show that although coronavirus has changed the way many jobs operate, in most cases, it has not got rid of our need for them. Yes, jobs may look a little different to before; your house may become your office, and Zoom meetings may be in place of face-to-face interactions, but these jobs are still out there, with available positions for graduates to fill.