January 17, 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.
California State University - Long Beach
Advanced Studies in Education and Counseling DepartmentWebsite
Dr. Lesley Farmer: Many employees have trouble pivoting to online work so in the short term, tech support and instructional design jobs are in high demand. Data privacy and security are also hot topics and need ed tech expertise. Tech maintenance, including cloud services and networks, continue to be needed, rather like car maintenance. Thinking forward, software development is another area of need, particularly with more online-based education. If grads have data analytics expertise, they can find jobs on data management and learning analytics.
Disabilities continue to be an issue, particularly in terms of equity, so jobs dealing with assistive technology and other ed tech supports are possible. Finally, grads should broaden their concept of educational settings; informal education is more important than ever: in business/HR, libraries and museums, recreational and youth-serving clubs, mass media, government and non-profit agencies. All of these entities are involved in training, outreach, PR, and public awareness/education. Be creative and persistent.
Dr. Lesley Farmer: Internships are probably the best option, even if unpaid. Some institutions provide career placement services, and grads could contact their instructors about possible options. Companies, professional associations, and non-profits also advertise internships.
Dr. Lesley Farmer: Get to know the site before interviewing, and remember that even interviews are an opportunity to practice communication skills-and to see if there's a good match between you and the site. Once hired, learn about the organizational culture and develop trustful relationships. Make one memorable contribution the first month, but focus on becoming an expert before changing others. In addition, join a local and national professional association to keep current and network.
School of Information StudiesWebsite
Kate Marek Ph.D.: Probably an acceleration of existing trends - remote working, skill-set based job openings (rather than degree-specific), along with an ongoing need for necessary skills such as writing, problem-solving, collaboration, and project management.
Kate Marek Ph.D.: If possible, find a paid internship in your area of interest, which will help expand your professional network and build your skillset. Use this time to keep scanning job ads to identify skill sets in demand; look for online mini-courses to make those skill sets.
Kate Marek Ph.D.: Choose an organization in tune with one's values. Look for a job in growth areas, such as data asset management, data analysis, etc.