Technological advancements and the echo of significant layoffs in the tech sector paint a complex picture for recent grads entering the job market in 2023. These factors may be intimidating, but you should know that now is an excellent time to enter the workforce.
4 Ways New Grads Can Prepare to Apply for Jobs
- Build a strong professional network by participating in alumni events, job fairs and other networking events.
- Customize your resume for each job posting to demonstrate you understand the role’s requirements and how your experience aligns with them.
- Research companies before you interview with them to understand their missions, values and culture.
- Practice interview skills, including how to highlight your strengths and articulate your career goals.
The aftermath of the Great Resignation means that there are plenty of roles to fill, and as the economy continues to shift, adaptability and open-mindedness will be key. Here’s what new grads should be aware of in this unique job market.
The Jobs Are Out There
This is a great time to be graduating from college. While the tech sector has experienced historic layoffs, these are being seen with the big players such as Amazon, Google, Meta and Microsoft. The scale of these layoffs is in part a contraction resulting from the massive waves of hiring that took place during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Feeling concerned as a graduating student entering the job market is valid, but there’s just as much, if not more, reason for excitement. The number of job openings continues to edge up with some industries experiencing shortages in needed workers.
Those entering the workforce will find a diversity of opportunities to work in a desired role as corporations across the board are hiring writers, creators, engineers, analysts and more. The key is to differentiate yourself. It’s a question of how you can turn the realities of the job market to your advantage.
Adaptability Is a Crucial Skill
Even though college is wrapping up, life-long learning is just beginning. With the pace of change continuing to accelerate, someone’s specific skills may no longer be as valuable as their demonstrated ability to learn.
Adaptability remains one of the most important characteristics in today’s economic environment. Many of the roles in and requirements of today’s job market did not exist when this year’s graduating class began their college careers. Hiring employers are already in a race to take on new capabilities themselves to keep pace with competitors. Naturally, they are looking to hire people who are ready to do the same.
Look for opportunities that value career readiness and your ability to learn. Consider taking online courses, workshops or certifications to enhance your skill set and make yourself more marketable. Seek opportunities to gain practical experience through internships, part-time jobs or volunteer work.
Your First Job Matters
While pressure to get a job can lead new graduates to take any job, this may not be the best approach for your job-hunting strategies. Entry-level job applicants should widen their view of what a good potential company and employer might be. The right choice may have more to do with your own goals than simply taking the first opportunity available.
Knowing what you want is crucial. For instance, when choosing between open positions at a larger organization versus a smaller one, it’s important to consider your own disposition. In larger organizations, you can expect a more formalized training program that provides fundamental skills development. Moving up the ranks may take longer, but the onboarding process tends to be more robust.
The right choice may have more to do with your own goals than simply taking the first opportunity available.
Smaller organizations, though, offer the opportunity to engage in a variety of tasks and roles outside of what you may have been hired for, as well as less formality on progression from position to position. Consider whether you are someone who thrives in an environment with less certainty, or whether you are better suited to a more predictable and prescribed path.
Think about which option best aligns with your goals, especially if you’re uncertain about your career path. Take the time to think about your long-term objectives and personal learning style.
Your Major Might Not Matter
I often hear people say that your major doesn’t matter, and while this is clearly not true across a variety of industries, for example in healthcare, engineering, legal or other specialized industries, there are still opportunities to expand the organizations or roles you may have originally imagined could benefit from the topics you studied in school.
Regardless of industry, every organization is now a technology company. To meet the increasing demands of optimizing business processes and digitalized experiences, a variety of skills and considerations, from design to communications, will be in high demand. The reality is that plenty of graduates end up working in a different field from what they studied. Thinking through how your studies and experience can be applied to other roles, as well as highlighting your ability to master new skills versus leaning too heavily on experience with a particular tool or technology, is very desirable to employers.
Get excited to explore opportunities that you didn’t expect and be prepared to apply outside your major.
In my own personal experience, beginning my career as a system analyst and software programmer, I didn’t imagine at the time that I would work my way into my current position as the chief marketing and customer experience officer of WorkForce Software. While the two roles have unique paths, the truth is that my background has been a great service to the work I do today, as marketing functions require extensive technology skills as marketing has increasingly become more data driven.
Your college diploma is proof that you have the discipline to work and that you possess a baseline of knowledge to apply to the company you join. At a time when the pace of innovation and change are only accelerating, your ability to demonstrate not just the skills you’ve acquired in college, but your ability to learn, adapt, and rapidly assimilate new information and apply it are equally if not more important than any specific skill you bring to your employer as a result of your degree. Get excited to explore opportunities that you didn’t expect and be prepared to apply outside your major.
Make AI Your Ally
Many of the roles you’re looking at applying for today, and the requirements for those positions, did not exist when you began your college experience. This is most apparent when considering the role of AI and how it’s reshaping the way businesses will operate in the future.
The explosion of natural language functionality seen in ChatGPT is redefining how businesses operate right now. You are on the cusp of this tremendous change.
Regardless of which field you are considering, it is worth your time to examine how you can leverage AI tools. Your competency and comfort with these just might put you ahead of the competition.