The year 2020 has seen many ups and downs due to COVID-19, especially in the job market. Many students who are finishing out their college time virtually now face a job market that is global, online and more competitive than ever.
For those fresh out of college, and with less experience, trying to find a job in the pandemic can be challenging. Up & Coming Weekly spoke with Dr. Antionette Bellamy, the director of career services at Methodist University, on what guidance she is providing to local students about to enter the workforce.
“Recent college graduates should be very flexible with little geographic restrictions and a willingness to relocate,” Bellamy said.
“The job market can be different depending on the location of the position. New graduates must have the ability to effectively work remotely.”
Graduates should apply to organizations that have formal recent graduate and leadership development programs, she said. These programs are designed specifically for new professionals, and employers are not expecting a ton of experience. College career fairs are a good place to begin the job search.
Bellamy answered a few additional questions offering advice for those entering the workforce.
How can one set themselves apart while looking for a job?
Students or new professionals should focus on developing core career readiness competencies to enhance their professional profiles and be ready to demonstrate these skills through examples. These competencies include written/oral communication, critical thinking/problem-solving, and leadership. These skills can be obtained through internships, professional organizations, and athletics.The ability to write well and analyze data can make a huge difference in candidates.
What are some do’s and don’ts of resume writing?
Do’s for new professionals:
·Do limit resumes to one page.
·Do include contact information with a professional email address that is checked often.
·Do use power verbs and numbers to
clearly demonstrate your skills and
·Do proofread your resume and ensure it is error-free.
Don’ts of resume writing:
·Don’t include pictures of yourself or irrelevant graphics.
·Don’t include your high school
·Don’t include personal hobbies that are not related to the job.
·Don’t include your birthdate or professional affiliations related to your religion or political views.
Are cover letters important?
While not all recruiters or hiring managers consider cover letters, for those who do, they are important. Cover letters give candidates the opportunity to elaborate on their skills by sharing examples of their work and relevant accomplishments. While the resume is limited to short bullets, the cover letter will connect those bullets to your experience.
How can one be a good interview candidate?
Good interview candidates are prepared. They have researched the organization, they know why they want to work there, and they are able to articulate why they should be selected over other candidates. Good candidates also look the part. They are well- groomed, and they are dressed professionally. In addition, they speak industry language.
How does one network, and why is it important?
Networking can be done in small, informal settings and in organized settings such as career fairs. Young professionals can also network with professors, their parents’ colleagues, and former internship supervisors. Professional social media platforms like LinkedIn are also great for networking. Networking is important because it creates a pathway into the workforce. This is also why your brand is important. People should be confident in your abilities and work ethic so they can refer you for positions and serve as references.
What are some good websites to look for jobs?
LinkedIn is a good website that is used by recruiters to post positions in various fields. There are also a few industry specific sites that provide career opportunities such as agcareers.com for agricultural/environmental positions, usajobs.gov for federal positions including the Recent Graduates Pathways program, and ncworks.gov which posts positions state-wide.
Since COVID-19 many more interviews are virtual, do you have tips on how to do well in a virtual interview?
·Make sure you have a good internet connection.
·Test your camera and microphone.
·If you are using a video platform that displays your name, make sure your full name, not the computer’s nickname is displayed. For example, your name should read Jordan Doe, not Doe Family PC.
·Select a space that is free from noise, distractions and mirrors. You would be amazed at what people see from reflections in mirrors.
·Dress for the virtual interview as you would if it were in-person. You should assume that the interviewer will ask you to stand up for a complete picture.
·Participate in a virtual mock interview with a career services professional or a trusted friend and get feedback on your body language.
·If possible, engage in small talk prior to the interview beginning. This will help relax you.
What are some good questions to ask the company you are interviewing with?
First, never ask a question that can be easily found on the organization’s website. Secondly, you should always ask a question or two. A few good questions to ask are:
·Does the organization offer a formal mentorship or professional development program?
·What does a typical day in this role
·What do you like most about working here?
Methodist University offers resources through the Career Services Hub at www.methodist.edu/career-services.
Pictured: Dr. Antionette Bellamy, Ed.D., the director of career services at Methodist University spoke with Up & Coming Weekly to offer advice for new graduates navigating the job market during the pandemic.