Congratulations Graduates! Job Search During COVID-19 | Articles & Tips | | Rochester




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 Congratulations Graduates! Job Search During COVID-19

By Joe Stein

   First of all, before we get too deep into the topic for this week…Congratulations!  Whether you have just completed your college studies or are preparing to finish High School, you have completed a tremendous hurdle during especially challenging times.  For those leaving a university, it is now time to either move on to graduate school, or (for most) enter the workforce.  Similarly, for many High School grads who are not furthering their studies or are joining the military (and Thank You for your service, if you are), it will also soon be time to join the full-time work force.


If you are following the news (and who isn’t?), you are entering at unprecedented times related to COVID-19.  I am sure you have read the weekly unemployment updates of large surges of new unemployment cases each week during this pandemic.  What you might not have read about, because it is much less covered, is the current challenge by companies that are operational (and more will be open with each new wave) in finding individuals to fill open positions.  Yes, whether it is because of the current enhanced unemployment benefits or general concern regarding the virus, many companies are struggling to stay operational amidst the strain of open positions that remain unfilled due to the lack of candidates.  So, for many, this is still a good time to enter the job market and find that first position.


As a new graduate it may be very tempting to take time off before entering the job market. You may be enjoying the warm weather from our beautiful weekend and thinking that there is no harm in waiting.  You also may be receiving some ill-advised advice from loved ones to relax and take the summer off because you deserve it after working so hard in school.  The reality is that you are an adult now and it is time to work. The savvy Job Seeker will do whatever it takes to have  any competitive advantage in the labor market.  In other words, when others are sitting out waiting for the virus vaccine or the Fall/Winter, you can be interviewing and landing that first job.  Who knows?  Because of the people sitting out, you may also find yourself landing a position better than you thought you would be accepting.


For any new graduate, a major challenge will be the adjustment to job searching in a COVID-19 world.  You probably have been preparing and role playing for a traditional job search.  Luckily for you, you are in the same position as everyone else who is in the market with you trying to navigate these unchartered waters. 


As you prepare, just take these potential tweaks of your search into consideration:


• Look for opportunities to connect with Recruiters and Hiring Managers.  Go beyond the online postings (and the printed paper of and look for Virtual Job Fairs and the opportunity to connect via social media. Get yourself noticed in a positive manner.

• Since you may not interview in-person (or you will in a socially distant acceptable manner), your Cover Letter and Resume take on an even greater importance in telling your story.  Please make sure the documents are complete, concise, error-free, and accurately reflect why you are qualified for the position.
• Your interviews may be exclusively via phone and/or video conference.  These methods work a bit differently than doing an interview in-person, so prepare in advance.  There are several articles on each type of interview in the archive section of to assist you in your preparation.

• Recruiters right now are stretched and stressed.  They will naturally gravitate to those people who are easy to work with.  So, answer the phone/e-mail, make time on your calendar for appointments, and be on-time for your meetings.  If you are going to do a video interview, be sure to test the technology and your computer ahead of the appointment, to make sure there will be no delays or other computer malfunctions.

• The research and networking that you do on the company will be even more important.  You may not obtain as sharp of a sense of the company and its culture remotely, so some legwork in this area should come in handy.  I find that phone and video interviews tend to have less ice breaking than an in-person interview, and it may be harder to get a read on your prospective Manager (or other key leaders).  Some earnest networking with people in or related to the company can help you fill in those gaps.

• Finally, do not forget to sell yourself a little.  It is perfectly acceptable to reference how you wanted to job search right away, and not wait for after the summer, like others.  State how you want to assist the company in being successful during these difficult times and how willing you are to get started.  Companies will appreciate and note your initiative in going against the path set by others.

This is currently new for all of us, including those in a job search.  As noted above, there are several reasons to not follow the majority, so begin your job search now! The biggest thing of all, however, is to stay safe!

As always, best of luck in your job search.

The following has been prepared for the general information of readers.  It is not meant to provide advice with request to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.