March 2, 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.
LaShone Manuel: Some skills graduates should possess will be excellent communication skills (written, verbal). Persistence, relating to determination and hard work ethic. And lastly, I recommend students expand on their technical skills.
Film Studies Program
M. Thomas Inge Ph.D.: When I graduated from Randolph-Macon College in 1959, I was one of 600 students. I wanted to be a writer and literary critic, but the closest thing we had were majors in the liberal arts. Majors in English and Spanish opened my world view, but today more than 1200 view for places in the sciences and technology. Randolph-Macon has become a mega-college and conveyor of the latest information and research like no other in the United States. Books and language work side by side in laboratories and with computers to provide the best education possible.
"What can you do with a degree in the novel or medieval studies?" Just about anything if you attend a school that takes a full perspective on life.
M. Thomas Inge Ph.D.: We learn from the textbooks of life and practice. What employers look for are students who not only reflect current knowledge but move it beyond to new frontiers.
Dr. Phyllis Seawright: Based on what our grads this year are doing, it appears that the market needs people with technical and writing skills. Social media is only as good as the writers and thinkers who create it. Our graduates are building web pages and social media platforms, PR and marketing plans. A graduate trained in media and people skills can find a job in this changing marketplace.
Dr. Phyllis Seawright: A gap year is only as adventurous as the budget allows. An up-to-date resume, thorough research of job websites in the desired area, and the ability to Zoom or Skype for interviews will help a fledgling fly farther from the nest. Having excellent presentation skills will secure that job over the Zoom universe.
Dr. Phyllis Seawright: General advice: Practice professionalism while you are still in classes. When it's time for the BIG interview, you will feel more confident in how you present yourself to a potential employer. Keep a friend handy who can review your resume and other materials. It's too easy to miss an error when you have the INTERVIEW on your mind. And keep your interview suit READY to wear.