Job Advice for the Class of 2020

The sizzling hot job prospects the Class of 2020 college graduates were dreaming of have evaporated. No longer competing against one another for new openings, they’re having to contend with candidates who have a wealth of experience and honed skill sets, and the 4.2 GPA they’ve worked so hard to maintain doesn’t carry the punch they anticipated. It’s a brave new world, and they have to find a place to fit in.

Creativity is going to be required, says Jacob Shupe, Branch Manager for Robert Half Finance and Accounting, a national job placement agency with multiple offices in the Houston area. First time job-hunters are going to need to find a way to stand out, and stressing their strengths will be paramount. “They are traditionally very comfortable with technology, not that there aren’t many others who are not, but a lot of times they are more used to a video interaction than the person who is interviewing them,” he says. Go with what you know. They will have fewer “at bats,” and every one has to count, he suggests, and says applicants will have to increase their volume of best prospects. Spend time on job boards, dig into who is hiring and find out what’s moving in your local market. His best piece of advice may be to work with an agency or staffing firm such as the one he runs. They know who is hiring, and have contacts in the region.

Hiring expert Amy Fulmer, Director of Staffing for Futuretech Staffing has 21 years of experience helping people find work. Her first suggestion is to limit how much media you consume with discouraging stories about limited prospects. Frame of mind is important. “Your generation is not the first to come out and be faced with great adversity,” she tells the new grads. Every breakdown comes with a breakthrough, has become her mantra. Old systems and old paradigms are fading away. “Don’t despair,” she councils, new jobs will be created to fill the void, and no one is better positioned to take advantage of cutting-edge opportunities than someone who has recently spent four years in training. Those new and dynamic opportunities will emerge. Her advice is clear and concise. Keep your best outfit ready to go. “Don’t wear it all the time. Keep it for that.” Keep your phone charged, she charges. “They’re going to call you once and they’re not going to call you twice.” Finding a job is a full time job, she teaches those new to the path.

20.5 million jobs were eliminated last month, and we don’t know how much deeper the cuts will be this month. The current unemployment rate of 14.7% eclipses the previous record set in 1948. College graduation is about forging a new path, and those who embark on careers for the first time now will inevitably be trailblazers. They don’t have much choice.

photos: getty images

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