Rachel Campbell, Senior Regional Director, Page Personnel

The Coronavirus outbreak has left many of us facing tough times. University students are no exception to this trend, with many thousands preparing to take their first important step onto the career ladder after graduation this summer.

However, the economy contracting has meant that many graduates are now seeing themselves squeezed out of the roles they had provisionally secured as firms prioritise maintaining their existing workforce over bringing in new talent.

For those university students approaching graduation this summer, here are some tips for how you can approach the next few months.

1. Firstly – try not to panic

If you are in a situation where your ‘dream job’ has just paused or withdrawn its offer to you, the first thing to remember is to stay calm. Their decision is not a reflection of your talents, but an unfortunate consequence of the bizarre times we are in. The company will likely be open to considering your application in the future, and you may well be in a strong position if you had previously had an offer waiting for you.

2. Be proactive

Employers and recruiters will value any future candidates who have assessed the current situation and made a conscious decision to stay active and build their experience. Therefore, before you fire up the PlayStation, consider the sectors that are recruiting heavily, such as retail, supply chain and food production, as there are opportunities to develop new skills hidden in all areas of the economy.

3. Think laterally when making your first step

As you near the end of your degree it may be daunting to consider branching into an industry which is not directly related to your area of study – particularly if you had your heart set on a certain career path. This doesn’t mean it’s not achievable! What you can do is think about the transferrable skills and experience you can develop by pursuing other avenues such as teamwork and people management, which can help you make the transition into your dream role at a later date.  

4. Consider virtual internships or volunteering

One positive is that many leading companies are also considering ways of facilitating virtual internships over the summer months. Therefore, keep your eyes peeled on the job market and what other opportunities are out there. It will be worth keeping your CV up to date, even whilst doing a temporary role, and practicing your interview techniques ahead of any later job applications. 

5. Network and stay in touch

Even if an employer is not taking on new staff members at the moment its worth keeping them in mind for the future. We would recommend waiting a few weeks or even months and then reaching out again to see if anything has changed. Keeping in touch with hiring managers sends a clear signal of your intentions, and keeps you front of mind for when positions do arise in the future.

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Rachel Campbell, Senior Regional Director, Page Personnel

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