Data analytics alumna Shalviya Giri said just getting her first interview for a job was enough to give her hope.
She applied to a bunch of listings on LinkedIn and Indeed before getting the interview but rarely received any notifications to move forward in the application process, Giri said.
She isn’t alone. Unemployment rates are up in 40 states since March 2020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This caused many 2020 graduates to stress and worry because with the pandemic in play, a steady income is needed now more than ever.
Christy Spivey, economics clinical associate professor, said in an email that she expects the job market to be better for this year’s graduates than 2020’s. But it won’t return to pre-pandemic levels.
Spivey said industries that have thrived during the pandemic may be hiring more than others. Students should pay attention to e-commerce, health-related fields, home workout equipment companies and anything else done online.
There is still some uncertainty involved in what will happen with COVID-19, especially given the new variants. But the vaccine is a counterbalance to that and offers a lot of graduates hope moving forward, Spivey said.
When Giri had trouble getting callbacks, she learned to note the skills she didn’t have for the jobs she wanted and found ways to fulfill those skills with online classes.
She recommends graduates research the companies they’re interested in and update their LinkedIn profiles with relevant information.
Networking with others who are currently in the company is useful as well. Giri herself received an email from someone in her network who sent her a link to apply, and she actually got the job.
Internships are another way graduates can get a jumpstart in the job market, economics senior Geovanny Mendoza said.
Through internships, Mendoza said graduates can become familiar with day-to-day operations and experience the work culture of a specific company. Personally, he was able to shadow others, ask questions and imagine himself in their position to get insights, he said.
Mendoza used the Lockheed Martin Career Development Center to help him tweak his resume and practice interview questions to make sure he was on top of everything. He stood out because he used the resources provided by professors and people he met along the way, Mendoza said.
He’s currently optimistic about the 2021 job market and believes the Metroplex’s state of development means hiring opportunities are not in short supply.
He also believes finance will be the profession to have the most college graduate hires because a large portion of financial advisors will be forced into retirement due to COVID-19 or other related issues, Mendoza said.
Giri said networking, volunteering at a company and taking any small opportunity can make a graduate stand out.
“Sometimes you might have to give up a couple of hours in your gaming or movies or social life to gain that experience,” she said.
If all else fails, Giri said to at least network and talk to people who can sometimes be a better resource than the internet. In small circles, an ambitious graduate can really shine, she said.
“You take those small steps and you go a long way,” she said.
Spivey said the job market appears more open for this year’s graduates than last’s, and students should remember that there is no shortage of resources available to help them land a career.