Job searches are often nerve-wracking, but the current environment has complicated things in new ways. With everything from college classes to job interviews and even work itself having gone virtual, job-seekers may find themselves in largely unfamiliar terrain. This may be especially true for individuals who are seeking their very first professional opportunities—my own niece and nephew among them. My niece is studying to be a social worker. And my nephew is transitioning from community college into a four-year program. A basketball player hoping to work in sports administration, he’s currently looking for an internship.
I’m so proud of both of them, and I know they’re worried about the future. This is a time of profound change, and new graduates may be frustrated by what’s out of their control. Though there are still reasons to be hopeful about what comes next. While most companies expect that it will take some time to return to business as usual, many are making changes that will benefit future employees, like making steps toward a more inclusive environment.
As the PwC US & Mexico Talent Acquisition Leader, I lead a team that recruits for a variety of levels, entry-level to executive, and skills like accounting, computer science, marketing and product developers. While many companies may have limited hiring at this time, graduates should be focused on making sure they are well-positioned to enter the workforce in that changed—and changing—world. Here are some things they can do to be ready for a new reality, and stand out in the job market.
Solve Important Problems in your Community
At PwC, our purpose is to solve important problems, and we are continuing to find solutions to fight racism and injustice. There’s never been a more important time to listen and learn about what’s happening where you live so that you can use your skills to act and help make a difference. Not only can this benefit your community, but it can help you develop into an inclusive leader…a skill that is in high demand.
Reimagine your Network
A high unemployment rate across the U.S. has prompted many to determine how they can expand their networks. It starts with making sure your presence on networking platforms, like LinkedIn and Handshake, accurately reflect your personal brand. Then, make sure you reach out to all the different people who can help your job search. Recruiters should be on your list. We are using these networking platforms more and more to find potential candidates. Engaging with recruiters at companies you’re interested in now can help you stand out when they get back to hiring.
Embrace Learning and Skill Development
Prioritize your learning and growth as these are a personal investment in your future. Companies are changing at a rapid pace. PwC has been on a journey these past few years to help our workforce improve their digital acumen in order to reimagine the possible. If you’re not sure where to start, PwC’s Digital Fitness App can help: Our free app offers an engaging way to figure out where you have the most opportunity for learning, or need for growth—and then go after it.
With so many people out of work, it’s understandable recent grads are concerned about the job market and available opportunities to launch their career, but most companies realize the key to long-term growth is having the right talent. So in this time, as in any other, job-seekers should think about how they can demonstrate the long-term value they bring to the table. They should be prepared to adapt to change and take advantage of the unexpected connections and opportunities that can come along with it.