Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, college students could confidently approach a robust job market by following a familiar process. Start by preparing a resume, attending job fairs, searching job boards, networking, talking to friends and family, submitting applications, interviewing, etc.

But then, COVID-19 appears and suddenly the world, along with the job search process, is teeming with unknowns.  

As we are all too aware, the job market looks vastly different than it did just a few short months ago. Unemployment has reached historic levels, hiring is down and, due to the necessary safety restrictions of social distancing, practically anything with an “in-person” component is either canceled or drastically altered. This includes job fairs, internships, interviews, and even those networking coffees at Starbucks. The list goes on.  

Things are definitely different – and likely will be different for some time to come. The good news is that there are jobs available right now. Getting a job in today’s market may require a recent graduate to pivot toward the good jobs available in economic sectors least affected by the pandemic. And, considering the possibility of future outbreaks, making this adjustment now may have longer-term benefits.

At Ascend Indiana, we have compiled a list of the most resilient industries in this pandemic, which include: Information Technology, Insurance, Logistics and Supply Chain, Pharmaceuticals, and Education (K-12).

Control What You Can Control

In good times or bad, the job seeker still has control over how he or she stands out from the crowd. Ideally, you want an employer to consider two candidates; “you” followed by “everyone else.” Pandemic or no pandemic, that has not changed. So, prepare for your job search and work at it diligently.

Put your best foot forward.

  • Perfect your resume and cover letter.
  • Review your social media to ensure it is sending the right message to prospective employers.

Prepare to interview virtually.

  • Text, phone, Zoom, Teams: any technology is fair game for an interview these days. Find out how the interview will be conducted and make sure you are comfortable with the technology beforehand.
  • Dress professionally, as if you were having the interview in person.

Be patient with employers.

  • Respect the challenges employers are facing and expect that they may take a little extra time to respond to applications and inquiries.

Look for additional ways to develop your professional skill set.

  • Engage with various resources to become knowledgeable about industries and learn new skills. Employers appreciate seeing that you worked to build relevant experiences and skills.

Connect with Ascend Indiana and the Ascend Network.

  • The Ascend Network is a unique way for college students and recent graduates to connect with career opportunities in Indiana. The Network uses a software platform and team of recruiters to provide guidance throughout the job search. Nearly 400 employers have joined the Network to share their open roles with early-in-career talent.

The Network can be the difference between ‘seeing a light at the end of a tunnel’ or having a well-lit tunnel. Both let you see the destination. One provides a visible path to that destination.

Jason Kloth is the President and CEO of Ascend Indiana, the talent and workforce development initiative of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP).

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