January 24, 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.
University of North Alabama
Dr. Hunter Waldman Ph.D.: Regarding Kinesiology trends, I think we will start seeing a bigger push to remote "coaching" whether that be personal wellness coaching, nutrition counseling, or even acting as an online personal trainer. I think people are realizing that several popular careers in our field can be performed at home as long as both parties have internet access. I'd also state I do not think that the "quality" of these jobs will suffer as these individuals will still need the necessary credentials to pursue each job. The only change is the actual setting. I am already seeing quite a bit of jobs being posted with remote work locations as an option.
Dr. Hunter Waldman Ph.D.: I think verbal and written communication is lacking quite a bit in today's college graduate generation. This is coming from someone who was a college graduate just a few years ago, but since my time as an undergraduate and students today, there is a clear inability for a large percentage of students to pick up on social cues, maintain a productive conversation, or write a respectable email. Jobs in our field are competitive and interviews are still conducted in a face-to-face format. Even if you go to work for yourself, let's say as a personal trainer, then you'll still be interacting with people in a personable manner.
Each interaction can be looked at as if you are marketing yourself to that potential client or employer and if communication is a weakness, that is an issue. Therefore, I'd recommend graduates taking a gap year to 1) find a temporary job that puts you into contact (face-to-face or online) with various people throughout the day so that these skills can be sharpened over time and 2) practice! Excellent written and verbal skills are honed through practice. Everyone can improve these skills and practicing, watching YouTube videos from communication experts, or even having someone read over your email or recording you converse can all be helpful tools for the recent graduate student.
Dr. Hunter Waldman Ph.D.: Stay relevant. I've seen too many graduates find a job and fall into a routine of least resistance. I think the pandemic definitely showed in a lot of jobs, who is needed and who is not. This may sound harsh, but in extreme circumstances, this is how it works. Become efficient at your job and find ways to assist your colleagues or employers in ways that are not necessarily written on your job description. Stay updated with current trends in your field, read the most recent research regarding your area, and identify what you bring to the job that nobody else does and excel at those tasks.