College Graduates traverse job market during COVID-19

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When COVID-19 began to rapidly spread in the United States, thousands of businesses closed their doors, and millions of people were forced to time off work or were laid off. This has caused unemployment rates to skyrocket, and many jobs to disappear. This has directly affected many groups of people, one of them being recent college graduates, who are struggling to break into their professional fields. Those who did manage to find jobs are now trying to navigate through the ever-changing professional world.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in April of 2020, the United States unemployment rate reached a record-shattering 14.7 percent. That number fell to 6.9 percent in October of 2020, but with cases of COVID-19 reaching record highs once again, another lockdown may be imminent, causing unemployment rates to increase once again.

Data and Graph courtesy of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

With the job market in shambles, college graduates are struggling to break into their professional fields. While there are still businesses and fields that are still hiring, there are plenty of people who are finding it difficult to find a position in their respective fields.

Recent SUNY Brockport graduate Hannah Danielski is one of these recent grads who is struggling to find a job in her field. Danielski studied Journalism and Broadcasting at Brockport, but says that she has been unable to find a position during the pandemic.

“One of the biggest difficulties I have found is finding places that are hiring and are responding”, Danielski said. “There are so many places that I have applied that are asking to just send us your resume, and then I will never get a response”.

Danielski also says that the pandemic has led to her giving up her job in the meantime of the pandemic.

“I began to understand why places weren’t hiring which made me stop looking entirely or look at places that I wouldn’t really expect to have a job in my field”, Danielski said.

While there are many people like Danielski who are struggling to find jobs in their field, there are some recent grads who were able to find jobs. However, COVID-19 has changed the way in which they are starting their careers in their field, such as being forced to start their brand new career completely online.

Alyssa Reesor is a recent graduate of Manhattan College in New York City. Reesor graduated in December of 2019 and was able to sign on to her new position before COVID-19 began spreading in the United States. She planned to start her new job as an auditor in the Fall of 2020 and move back to NYC. COVID changed that, and now she is starting her career completely online.

“Thankfully, I was able to sign on last year after my internship so that has been a big relief for me. Currently, I am complexly remote for the time being. I am supposed to be in New York City but at the current moment there are no plans to be in the physical office”, Reesor said.

Reesor also says that starting online poses many differences and challenges, some core to the beginning of a new job.

“Being an auditor, this is really difficult for me because we are supposed to be spending a lot of time in the offices with the clients. It is also challenging to be online because I am not actually meeting any of my bosses or coworkers, and my training does not feel as thorough as I would like”, Reesor said.

Reesor is not alone in her struggles. The reality of the current professional world during COVID-19, is that it is safer to do business virtually. Even professionals who have been at their jobs for decades are struggling to adapt to the online world. But people like Reesor are being required to learn how to do their job, and then learn how to do it online, at the same time.

This is the reality for many recent college graduates. A lack of jobs and an everchanging job market has led to uncertainty and confusion. Those who are able to find jobs are working under extreme circumstances, and those who aren’t are trying their best to break into their professional world.



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