The Way We Work

Top Tips for Recent Graduates Entering the Workforce Post-COVID

by Shanea Patterson
Top Tips for Recent Graduates Entering the Workforce Post-COVID

When you first entered university, you probably didn’t envision that by the time you graduated, you would have gone through a global pandemic.

Nobody could’ve predicted that. Entering the workforce after graduation post-COVID is an entirely different ballgame. This means you need to prepare to face whatever new challenges await you in a predominately remote workplace. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t be successful at it, especially once you realize that there are even more job opportunities now than previously. Take the following into consideration while you head out into the world for the first time as one of the many graduates entering the post-COVID workforce.

Network Online

Networking online can be a great way to get your foot in the door when opportunity hasn’t quite come knocking yet. That means putting your feelers out wherever you can, but it also means being present in the community, whether that amounts to attending a fundraiser, a conference, a campaign event, a seminar, a training program, or an association meeting. It also means finding new and unique ways to be relevant online. You could post interesting links in groups related to your industry, publish engaging content on your LinkedIn page, or post comments on other people's posts that move conversations forward or open up new discussions in your industry.

Creating a social media presence to help you network with people who can help you get started on your chosen career path can be a great way to approach your job search. It'll also show potential employers that you've got what it takes to be successful in bringing positive attention to their brand if they hire you.

Prepare for Virtual Interviews

Virtual interviews have become the norm, and if you’re going to apply and interview for jobs in this post-COVID era, you need to prepare for virtual interviews. This means making sure all of your tech is in good working order, so there are no surprises once interview time rolls around. You should also wear professional attire and limit the number of distractions in your immediate environment. This means let your dog outside beforehand or make sure the kids or others in the home aren't anywhere near your interview space. 

Another preparation tip is looking up commonly asked interview questions and coming up with appropriate responses so none of the questions catch you off guard. If you want to get more interviews, it helps to research relevant keywords for your industry and not only sprinkle them throughout your resume, but if you land the interview, naturally pepper them into the interview as you answer questions.

During the interview, sit up straight (pay attention to what your body language is saying), speak clearly, and project your voice (but don't yell). Remember to ask the interviewer questions you have about the job, so you can be clear on what the job duties are. Avoid asking about salary, though, at least until the second interview. It's very helpful to build a rapport with the interviewer first. (Of course, if you find a role on Crossover, you won’t need to worry about that as the pay is always included in the job listing).

Expect a Slow Remote Hiring and Onboarding Process

Before COVID, you might’ve had to wait about a week or two to hear back about your hiring details and the onboarding procedure, but thanks to COVID and the amount of companies that still haven’t adapted properly to remote work, the virtual job hiring and onboarding process can be slower than it once was. Since everything is online, employers have to find a way to help employees immerse themselves into the business and become a part of it in a virtual environment.

Onboarding means helping someone become part of the team and understand the company culture, policies, and procedures. It also means providing clear directives, information, and great leadership. Give it some time once you get the job. Be patient and know that the process is moving along as quickly as it reasonably can, given the circumstances. However, if it's been longer than normal and you haven't heard back from your new employer, don't be afraid to politely follow up and ask about the status of your start date and the onboarding process.

Learn New Skills or Consider More Training or Education

If you’re nervous about whether you’ll be able to make an impression on employers, it can’t hurt to obtain more training or education that’s relevant to the type of job you’re trying to land. For example, if you’re a content writer or content creator, you might consider completing a content marketing certification from HubSpot or another reputable institution. Other institutions to look at include Udemy, Coursera, or Teachable, which have tons of online courses that may give you a leg up on the competition. On sites like these, you can take courses from top colleges and universities, as well as from individual experts on topics relevant to your industry or job search. If your goal is to land a role on Crossover, you can use our badge system to take relevant assessments and measure your progress. 

Be Flexible and Consider Interim or Short-Term Positions

Entering the workforce post-COVID means you need to be flexible. If you’re not finding the type of position you’re looking for right way, don’t be afraid to take a short-term or temporary position to tide you over until you can find work you like that’s going to pay the bills. 

Perform a quick search online to find temporary jobs. You could also contact your local employment staffing agency to help you find a short-term job. Even if you don't find something in your field, temporary work in another field can help you keep food on the table and the lights on. (Worth noting that all the roles on Crossover are full-time permanent positions, so you’ll need to look elsewhere for freelance work).

Final Thoughts

Entering the job market in a post-COVID era means realizing that things aren’t going to be the same as they were before COVID. It’s just not possible. This doesn’t mean you can’t be successful in your new role (whatever that might be). As long as you recognize the adjustments you need to make and understand the workforce strategies for post-COVID, such as preparing for virtual interviews, learning new skills, and networking online, you can be a success.