By: Ellie Forkins

Searching for your first job post college is stressful enough, but add in a global pandemic, and it becomes daunting. With the national unemployment at 6.7 percent in December, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed, but don’t let that get you down.

During this time of uncertainty, it is still important to continue job hunting and actively staying connected to those in your field of interest.

Check out a few of our tips and tricks for finding work during the pandemic:

Network, network, network!
I cannot say this enough, but networking is crucial when job hunting. Referrals go a long way when looking for a job – whether it be your first or third. Make sure you are continuously reaching out to people you know from school, internships, previous jobs and professional development groups. Let your network know you are on the job market and ask them for any advice they may have.

If a connection of yours happens to know the hiring manager of a company you are interested in working for or applied for, reach out and ask if they would be willing to introduce you to the hiring manager or put in a good word.

One thing to note – be mindful of your connection’s time. Everyone is processing and dealing with the pandemic differently. Make sure to show your connections that you appreciate their efforts – don’t solely reach out for help with your job hunt. Check in on your connections or compliment them on work they’ve done recently. No one wants to feel used.

Prepare for a different hiring experience.
No matter where you apply, chances are that most of the hiring will be done virtually. Take the time now to prepare yourself for virtual interviews. Ask a friend or family member to practice mock video interviews and phones interview with you. Video and phone interviews are in fact quite different than in-person interviews. It can be more difficult to “read the room” in a virtual interview.

The hiring process may also take longer than pre-COVID times. If you are applying to multiple places, be sure to track your activity in a chart or spreadsheet. Be sure to write down important deadlines, what materials you have submitted, upcoming interviews, etc. In addition, save a copy of the job description in case the posting is removed before your interview(s). And don’t be afraid to follow-up with the hiring manager – this can make a real difference in how your application is reviewed.

This is also the time to work on your social media and online presence. Make sure your LinkedIn is updated and focus on creating a professional presence on your social platforms.

Pat yourself on the back.
It can be easy to feel discouraged and stressed, especially as a recent graduate entering the workforce during a global pandemic. But remember, you are facing challenges that so many of us will never experience. Those in charge of hiring are aware that this is an abnormal situation for graduates to be in. I think I speak for all of us when I say that we admire and respect your perseverance and determination more than ever.

If you are a recent graduate and have questions or need advice for your job hunt, don’t hesitate to reach out to any member of the Commonwealth PR team.