December 24, 2020
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.
Dr. Todd Peabody: There was initially some concern and hesitation amongst hirers because of the uncertainty of the pandemic and the speed with which patients would resume seeking care but by the summer of 2020, that concern was abated as demand surged. We're seeing that practices are looking for job candidates who are comfortable with both engaging in full-scope optometric care and newer technology.
Dr. Todd Peabody: Consider formal business training in programs like the one that we have established here at IU in partnership with the Kelley School of Business. Whether you plan to own a business or just manage your own finances, financial literacy and business acumen can help set you apart and give you a leg up on the competition. There is no better investment than an investment in yourself especially with skills and training that is immediately applicable.
Dr. Todd Peabody: You're not an island and can take better care of your patients with the help of fellow professionals as well as friends and colleagues. Don't hesitate to reach out for guidance and advice. Find a few mentors who can help you plot your course through your professional career. Create specific, actionable goals that you revisit on a periodic basis.
Dibby Bartlett: To enter the field of opticianry in the future, a young graduate will be glad they have a strong grasp of math and science skills and an ability to work with their hands. Additionally, customer service skills are always important, as we are interested in fashion and medical knowledge. Opticianry is such a diverse field, and it encompasses so many areas, which is why it is so interesting!
Dibby Bartlett: There are many areas where the field of opticianry blossoms, but primarily in licensed states. Due to the licensing process, opticians working within those states need to have more knowledge and are tested on it. This raises the demand for the optician as well as providing a better living wage. If the state has a state professional organization, this would always be a plus.
Dibby Bartlett: Emerging technology will help the optician, but the importance of the basic understanding of optics will always be critical for the dispensing of eyewear, despite technological advances.