The pandemic has changed what we know about traditional jobs after college. Here's what grads need to know.
The global job market suffered significant setbacks throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and nearly two years later, the rebuilding process has begun. We’re starting to see some interesting phenomena in the hiring process and working conditions of employees, some of which can prove instrumental in finding a good entry-level position.
The 2022 job market is saturated with well-paying jobs, both in-office and remote. You can find opportunities if you know how to present yourself — it’s just a matter of using the right tools and techniques. Here are 10 things college students getting ready to enter the new job market need to know.
1. Remote Work Is More Than a Trend
Much of the workforce that remained employed during the COVID-19 pandemic had to stay home and work remotely, and that change might become permanent in white-collar professions. Your potential employers could offer office and work-from-home options for entry-level positions, so make sure you let them know your preference early on. Remote jobs can take the form of temporary contracts or full-time posts, so you need to understand the difference.
2. Jobs Are Returning
While the global job market took a huge hit in 2020 and remained stagnant in early 2021, we’re finally starting to see an increase in openings. In fact, so many opportunities are available a labor shortage has occurred. Companies worldwide are actively seeking recruits, so market yourself with confidence.
3. Virtual Recruitment Is the New Norm
Companies turned to a virtual recruitment process during the pandemic by necessity, and they’ve found that it’s a much more efficient way to sift through candidates and find the people they want. What does this mean for you? Your resume and portfolio must look polished and have all the necessary keywords that stand out to the hiring team.
4. AI Plays a Big Role in Finding Candidates
Keywords are vital because companies now use artificial intelligence (AI) to screen applicants in the first stage of recruitment. The AI looks for certain words, phrases and qualifications the company wants, narrowing the number of candidates quickly. An incomplete resume or poorly written cover letter stands no chance of making it through the first stage.
5. Networking Still Matters
Despite the recruitment process becoming more robotic, networking still plays a crucial role in creating job opportunities. Form human connections on your campus with professors and other students in your major. If you meet the right person, you could get an internship or entry-level offer without needing to fill out an AI-friendly application.
6. Autumn Is the Main Recruiting Season
The most opportune time to make connections is early in the school year during the autumn season. Most colleges and universities host many of their networking events during the first semester, so you should take full advantage. You might end up starting the spring semester with a few offers in your back pocket.
7. White-Collar Has More Opportunities
As you might expect, white-collar professions revolving around digital work aren’t as vulnerable to COVID-19 restrictions as blue-collar jobs. This fact is reflected in the number of office job opportunities in recent months — 15.7 million in the United States alone. Professional positions largely opened back up to full operations, while blue-collar jobs such as restaurant workers still suffer from strict mandates and thus remain understaffed.
8. COVID-19 Mandates May Affect Your Job Search
While white-collar occupations aren’t subjected to many mandates, the few that remain in place can make or break your job search. If you choose not to get the vaccine for religious reasons or otherwise, you might have a hard time finding an in-person job. If you don’t plan on getting vaccinated, focus your search on remote positions.
9. Too Many Jobs, Not Enough Labor
COVID-19 mandates are just a tiny part of the many factors contributing to the current labor shortage. The job market was abysmal during the height of the pandemic: wages were low, hours were long and lockdowns occurred off-and-on for over a year, enticing many people to quit. Long-term unemployment will remain a problem until businesses adapt to meet the needs of the working class.
10. Wages Are Stabilizing
One of the adaptations we’ve begun to see is the stabilization of pay. With so many jobs opening up and so much labor available, companies can no longer low-ball candidates with poor compensation. They are finally adjusting their pay rates to account for the increased cost of living, even in entry-level and blue-collar positions.
New Job Market Shows Promise
The aftershock of COVID-19 will persist for a long time, but after nearly two years of chaos, we’re starting to see things level out. Jobs have flooded the market, wages are catching up and technology plays a more prominent role in recruitment. College students have to change their strategies accordingly.