January 30, 2021
Given the change of course that has happened in the world, we wanted to provide expert opinions on what aspiring graduates can do to start off their careers in an uncertain economic climate. We wanted to know what skills will be more important, where the economy is doing relatively well, and if there will be any lasting effects on the job market.
Companies are looking for candidates that can handle the new responsibilities of the job market. Recent graduates actually have an advantage because they are comfortable using newer technologies and have been communicating virtually their whole lives. They can take what they've learned and apply it immediately.
We spoke to professors and experts from several universities and companies to get their opinions on where the job market for recent graduates is heading, as well as how young graduates entering the industry can be adequately prepared. Here are their thoughts.
Stacie Hays: I think one of the biggest trends we will see is an increase and continuation for remote work or work from home opportunities. Specifically, I think the pandemic has allowed employers to really see and understand that you don't need someone in the office to succeed with work tasks. I think this will cause employers to increase their searches for the right candidate, not only the local candidate, or one that is willing to relocate. This opens up opportunities in a way that perhaps we have not seen before.
Stacie Hays: Definitely being adaptable or flexible is going to continue to be one of the most desired skills that employers will be looking for. In our current professional environment, it is so important to be nimble and able to change focus quickly to capitalize on opportunities. I also believe the ability to prove to employers that one can self-initiate on tasks will be paramount. Employers in general are looking for more evidence that links employees to specific experiences that illustrate their skills and abilities.
Stacie Hays: I'm a huge proponent of utilizing labor market research in searching for jobs. One site I'm particularly fond of is Careeronestop. Here you can search for occupations, get a report, and learn more about job demand. You can also see each state's job demand for certain occupations, which makes it easy to see what state's would have more need for students with those specific majors. I'm also a fan of searching for your local state's workforce development system, as well as chamber of commerce sites or LinkedIn to determine what employers are part of that community's economy. Overall, I recommend using lots of job search websites and then going back to your favorites when you start job searching in earnest.