How to Get a Job After College (Even During a Pandemic)

Figuring out how to get a job after college is hard enough for any college graduate. But for the class of 2020, the challenge is especially daunting because of repercussions from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead of graduating into a robust job market, you’re likely facing serious uncertainty. As of April 16, 2020,  22 million Americans filed for unemployment within four weeks. That means there’s a shortage of open job opportunities, making it difficult for new graduates.

When it comes to finding a job after college graduation, it’s important to be proactive. To get you on the right track, follow these six tips:

1.Review your resume

Prepare your resume, as it will be a requirement on almost any job application you submit. It’s a good idea to edit and revise it frequently with your latest accomplishments. A good resume will help you get noticed by recruiters, but a great resume may help you land your dream job.

Polish your cover letter. Your cover letter is an introduction to who you are and why you want a specific job. Customizing your resume and cover letter for each job you want may seem like a lot of work but putting in that effort may help you find a job after college.

2. Start searching now

Your job search can take a surprisingly long time, even in the best of economic conditions. A recent Randstad survey found that it takes job-seekers five months to secure a position, on average. But with growing unemployment, getting a job after college will likely take longer.

To get ahead, start job searching now. Once you have your resume and cover letter ready to go, recruit a few professional references that can vouch for you and your work ethic.

3. Tap into your network

Your professional network is more essential than ever. In a CivicScience survey, 31% of respondents said they got their jobs through their network or someone they knew.

As you start job searching, reach out to your professional and personal contacts. Consider your internship supervisors, professors, mentors, and local professionals in your field. Tell them what kind of role you’re looking for, and what your qualifications are. Even if they don’t have an opportunity for you, they may know someone who is hiring.

4. Explore remote opportunities

While some companies are scrambling to adjust to working remotely, you may be better off focusing your job search on employers that were set up for remote work before the pandemic occurred. Those companies already have procedures in place for hiring workers in different states and are equipped to onboard employees remotely.

Remote work opportunities are increasingly common. According to FlexJobs, there was a 159% increase in remote work between 2005 and 2017, and the shelter-in-place orders only emphasize how important working remotely is.

To find remote job opportunities, check out sites like Remote Bliss and

5. Prepare for a virtual job search

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, most companies have their employees working from home. You won’t have the opportunity for in-person interviews, so your online brand is more important than ever. Make sure your social media accounts are professional and use a clear headshot of yourself for your profile pictures.

If you get called for an interview, it will likely be done through a video conference platform like Zoom or Google Meet. Before the interview, make sure all your technology works, including your webcam and microphone. Be sure to dress professionally and try to set up your camera so that you have a clean and uncluttered background.

6. Consider freelancing or alternative work arrangements

What if you can’t find a job after college? The entire global workforce has been disrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic. Because so many companies have scaled back their headcount, finding a traditional full-time position can seem impossible.

With so much change, you may have to reconsider what your career will look like for now. Instead of a regular 9-to-5 job, there are alternatives that can help you gain experience and pay the bills:

  • Freelance: Many companies have laid off employees, but still need some work to be done. To fill the gap, they often hire freelancers. For example, freelance writers, graphic designers, and programmers are often hired on a contract basis to complete specific projects. You can find freelance gigs on FlexJobs and Upwork.
  • Get work with a temp agency: Temp agencies like Kelly Services and Adecco can help you find temporary positions with companies that need workers for short-term assignments, like when an employee is out on medical leave. But some opportunities can turn into full-time positions, and temp work can allow you to build your resume and professional network.
  • Pick up a side hustle: You can earn an income by taking advantage of side hustles, like delivering groceries for InstaCart or Shipt, teaching English with VIPKid, or becoming a virtual assistant with Time Etc. While these jobs are usually a source of extra cash, they can be lucrative, and can even provide you with a full-time income. For example, Shipt reported that its shoppers earn up to $22 per hour.

Finding a job after college

Securing a job after college can be especially difficult now that the country is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. To increase your chances of finding a role, start your job search early, tap into your professional network, and be open to alternative work arrangements.


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