By Jeanelle Jacobs
Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, America was at an unemployment rate of 3.5 percent, according to Fortune. Now, it is at a rate of 4.4 percent. The current pandemic is clearly affecting the job market for our graduating seniors.
As this unemployment issue mostly affects entry-level employees, Barry seniors are encouraged to begin job searching now.
Senior English major Joshua Caley believes that especially during this pandemic, it is important for students to get a head start in their job search.
“One thing I’ve already been doing is looking at and contacting different places of interest,” said Caley. “I'd advise everyone leaving college and entering the workplace to begin looking at potential places before senior year even starts."
According to an Early Stage Careers survey of 30,000 randomly selected college students, it was found that only 32 percent of students were confident that they would graduate with the knowledge and skills to succeed.
This ill-prepared feeling brewing in student’s minds stems from the mistakes that many students make when it’s time to enter the workforce, according to Kimberly Timpone, associate director at the Career Development Center.
"In general, the biggest mistake that students tend to make is waiting too long to begin their job search," Timpone said.
In addition to time management, Timpone notes that applying to online vacancies only is another mistake that students make.
"Networking is still the best way to find employment, so it takes more than just submitting your resume in response to a job," said Timpone.
However, job fairs and meet-and-greets are not available to students during this pandemic, so Timpone provides guidelines for students to adhere to in the meantime.
"It's important for students to prepare by researching potential employers and the job market. This will inform how you adjust your resume or your job search approach,” said Timpone.
She also notes that making constant adjustments to your resume and cover letter to suit each position you apply for is crucial.
While job searching is difficult, the required quarantine amidst the COVID-19 outbreak furthers that difficulty by providing a new hurdle for job seekers to jump over.
Non-essential businesses have been closed, flights cancelled, and schools have resorted to remote learning as many states have a stay-at-home order.
This is bound to have a negative effect on the economy. Now more than ever, graduating students are concerned about what they should expect the workforce to look like during this outbreak.
According to John Moriarty, director of the Career Development Center, students should not expect immediate availability of jobs during this pandemic.
Students must adjust their expectations and demonstrate an ability to adapt to changing situations.
"The Career Center sent out a survey to employers this week to see what changes they are making concerning their hiring and recruiting needs," said Moriarty. "Most employers are still recruiting and hiring but delaying the start dates until the pandemic subsides."
In addition, Moriarty provides a look into the statistics surrounding job availability.
Fifty percent of employers have immediate needs for which they are recruiting. Forty percent of employers are recruiting for summer jobs and internships. Ten percent of employers are recruiting for fall internships and jobs and 36 percent of employers are offering remote work opportunities.
According to Moriarty, the top industries that are reporting job openings during this time are healthcare, social services, education and business.
Due to the fast-changing job market, Caley believes it is best for students to start seeking solutions now. He recommends searching for vacancies in the job market and companies on and offline.
Though the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the job market and the economy to suffer, it has also created job opportunities as companies are struggling to meet the demands of customers during this health crisis.
Delivery services such as UPS and FedEx; pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens and grocery stores such as Whole Foods Market, Publix and Walmart have expressed their need for more employees at this time.
Other companies offering stay-at-home opportunities include Amazon, offering full-time virtual positions from customer service associate to digital devices and Alexa support; Zoom, offering jobs in technical support, data science and customer care; PayPal, with jobs in customer support and business operations; and Intuit, with jobs in bookkeeping.
"Call around. Send emails. Find out who may be of help to you if you think you're at stake for a job delay," said Caley.
The Career Development Center is there to help students prepare for the workforce. Moriarty assures students that the center is working diligently to help students navigate their job search during this difficult time.
"We understand the challenges that you are going through as students and we are ready and willing to do whatever we can to help with your transition to the workforce,” he said.