5 Tips on Graduating into a Recession

With the number of graduate jobs available having fallen by 12%, the largest fall in graduate recruitment since 2008/9, and with the majority of employers anticipating further decline next year, how do you face graduate recruitment and job hunting going into 2021?

I was one of the ones that graduated into that 2008/9 recession, and here are my top tips I’ve learnt from my own experiences and those around me:

1. Be flexible in your work experience 

As a graduate, we worked in bars, call centres, ski resorts and warehouses. Working gives you the opportunity to understand what you like and dislike about the world of work, where your strengths and weaknesses lie, and how to juggle working life and home life. Regardless of the career you have in mind, it’s much better to be in work than out of work. 

If you are looking for something that requires using your degree, opportunities such as tutoring are great and post COVID there are more parents than ever looking to tutor their children. If you want to get into anything involving an office, temping in admin positions is a great way to get your foot on the ladder and show off your skills.

Plus, you never know, you might also find a future business partner or someone with the right connections to get you that first step on the career ladder. 

2. Think about where the demand is going to be

Industries such as retail and leisure might not exist in the same way ever again, while the government is investing in sectors such as electric cars, green energy and games design. 

If you’ve just completed a degree in a retail or leisure subject, or anything you think might be in an industry in decline, think about how the industry might change a how you might fit in. For example, if you’ve done a merchandising degree, people will continue to buy products, but where and how they buy them might change and online retail is likely to be the way forward. What other skills do you need to add to merchandising to help you secure a job in the future? Do you need to know more about web design and development? Do you need to know more about how the e-commerce industry works? Do you need to know more about online marketing?

If you don’t have a specific industry in mind, perhaps you could focus on one where there’s going to be greater demand in the future. This doesn’t mean throwing away your degree entirely, not at all, but thinking about where your skills could be put to good use. What skills are you missing to enter into a career in this industry? 

Once you know where your gaps lie, you can then start to develop these skills or knowledge. 

3. Learn specific skills

As a university student, you will certainly be able to show off your transferable skills to any employer, but it’s the hard skills, the knowledge, that you may be lacking. 

This is your perfect opportunity to get stuck into something and a good way to fill your time, when for a lot of it you might be twiddling your thumbs. 

Ideally, you’ll want to learn something that’s relevant to the position you are applying for, so that you can talk about it in your application and when you go for an interview. Showing employers that you can take the initiative, learn something by yourself and are motivated to excel is a great aspect of yourself that employers will love. It will also give you something extra to talk about. 

There are plenty of free online courses to help you get the ball rolling, and you never know, you might just find yourself down a rabbit hole of something you really enjoy. 

4. Celebrate the small wins

Completing a job application or receiving an interview request might not seem like a major achievement, but celebrate as though it is one. Telling yourself that you can walk to dog or go for a run after you’ve finished an application or seeing the process you’ve made by applying for ten jobs in a week can feel like a real achievement and at the end of the day you’ll be able to relax and indulge in what you enjoy and sleep easier knowing that you’ve not wasted your day. 

Just remember that a slice of cake can’t be for every day!

5. Do things for yourself

Remember that this recession is not your fault. Even though you may not have a hell of a lot of spare cash, it’s still important to do things for yourself. Whether you enjoy seeing friends on the weekend, indulging in a weekly bath or are knitting your way through family Christmas presents, it’s important to continue to do the things you love. 

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