October 7, 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.
Jim Clune: Virtual work is certainly here to stay. Interest in remote work has skyrocketed. This is good news as geography is less restrictive than it used to be, particularly in the information industry. LinkedIn reports that members are more likely to connect with others outside of the area where they live. One positive aspect of remote work is that it can shift the focus from how employees present themselves - for example, what they are wearing - to how employees demonstrate their expertise through what they say and what they can do.
Jim Clune: Beyond technical skills, another key skill continues to be an ability to work in teams, particularly with people who are different than yourself. This requires even more skill in how you communicate. How you communicate defines who you are in the eyes of your coworkers, and this is just as important, if not more important, when working virtually. This means not just an ability to clearly and concisely express your ideas but also your ability to project confidence and competence.
Jim Clune: When reviewing resumes with students, I always emphasize that they go beyond output to outcome. They should definitely share what they have done and are capable of doing, but it is far more important to explain their impact, the direct employer benefit. What really stands out is when someone can quantify their accomplishments.
The other thing I share with students is to frame their non-career work experience as relevant skill building. A budding PR professional can learn a lot as a barista at Starbucks: customer relations, marketing, problem resolution, organizational representation, etc.
Mark Zanter: Not much change in the music education market. There are fewer positions this year because of the uncertainty.
Mark Zanter: All graduates should be able to write and express themselves clearly and communicate effectively in their discipline.
Mark Zanter: Most of Bachelor's students obtain a Masters degree since that is entry level for teaching in Higher ed. In recent years they have set themselves up as entrepreneurs in music business (writing jingles etc.), working as liturgical musicians, teaching privately, teaching in Higher ed, or working for an Arts Institution. Some will go into other fields like law, medicine, computer science, or public school teaching.
Spokane Community College
Hospitality, Tourism and Event Management
Duane Sunwold: Curb-side To Go, Food Trucks, Personal Catering, Family Farming, Farmers Markets. The meeting and convention market is expected to see an increase by 2022.
Duane Sunwold: Personal Communication Skills, Vocational Math, Food Science
Duane Sunwold: Look for employment in Private Clubs, Supermarket Baking, Resorts, Casinos
Dr. Jokima Hiller: -Virtual interviews as the final interview. In the past, an interview via phone or Skype may have served as the initial screening interview prior to having the candidate come out for an in-person interview. Now, the virtual interview may be the pre-screening and final interview prior to offer.
-Virtual job fairs. There are a few online platforms such as Handshake that are being used for recruitment purposes. This prevents applicants from having to come on-property or to gather to see who is hiring. Job seekers can create a profile, log on to the platform, and go from employer to employer to see what opportunities they have available.
-Virtual tours. Candidates that are doing their own research on a business will definitely review the company's website. A hospitality company most likely has already provided photos and videos of their location for their guests. Now, these resources are being utilized by job seekers versus showing up or coming in for a tour.
In addition, there is more reliance today on social media as a way to get to know candidates.
Dr. Jokima Hiller: Employers are seeking candidates who are:
- Adaptable, Flexible
- Have transferable skills such as customer service, financial management, problem solving, critical thinking, etc.
Dr. Jokima Hiller: Look at secondary markets for opportunities. Unfortunately, many of your major markets have been hit hard resulting in closings or in closings, reopenings, and then closings again because there hasn't been enough business to sustain them. But, you will find that the next town over had hospitality businesses that scaled back but never closed thereby meeting the needs of their regulars and attracting displaced business from the larger markets. For example, Indianapolis is a major market where their downtown area was greatly impacted. However, some hotels in Fishers remained open and are now actively seeking candidates as they ramp back up.
Barbara Connell: Depending on the position that is available, various items draw attention. If a manager or junior role is being filled, an experience that shows continued alignment within a field or type of activity and learning within that field or activity is appealing. Dedication and consistency are always attractive. If a senior role is being filled, deep levels of varied responsibility and achievement are indicators that an individual is committed, focused, and likely to be a successful leader. Tenure is also attractive; staying in a position for 3-5 years or more is a positive trait and shows that the organization's investment will be protected.
Barbara Connell: The pandemic has shown us that we can deliver events and programming in a variety of ways with technology. Frankly, the field has been expanding in this direction over the past ten years; it was necessary to make a hard decision to move virtually more quickly and with greater breadth than originally anticipated. Delivering content virtually, testing remotely, and engaging learners or participants by using technology in a broader sense is promising. The face-to-face element of education and interaction will never go away, but organizations and associations have the opportunity to reach audiences they previously never envisioned. Each organization has a chance to be truly global now, as warranted, if they provide relevant content that is tailored for the remote learner and make it valuable. Shorter, more digestible content with clear objectives and outcomes will make organizations approachable. Don't try to do too much; however, use technology to do what you do best and reach previously unreachable constituents.
Barbara Connell: Inevitably, there will be an impact, especially in those fields that rely on face-to-face learning, such as medicine. While we're learning how to better engage individuals safely in all areas, there are some fields that simply require personal, hands-on education, which is difficult and can be unsafe, especially when working with sick or compromised patients. Those who were scheduled to enter their final year of education over the last 5-8 months are going to experience education in a different fashion and likely have an altered outcome. It is critical for all educators to try to engage at a deeper level while remotely teaching, and then encourage the student to seek ongoing education after graduation to further hone skills. The concept of life-long learning is more important than ever.
Department of Hospitality & Event Management
Siddharth Mobar: There will be a reset of wages, cross-training as hotels will pivot to more efficient operations and there will be a demand for graduates with more specialized skills, professional hospitality industry certifications.
Siddharth Mobar: More brands will invest in check in and check out kiosks and apps will be more promoted than before. Better air quality and other ultraviolet cleaning tools.
Siddharth Mobar: There will be an increase, will go back to pre-pandemic levels when demand increases.