Fresh Grad and Unemployed: What to Do With Your Spare Time

fresh grad

The pandemic has seen the worst in employment. People are not only losing jobs; even fresh college graduates are having a hard time finding work.

According to Pew Research Center, 31% of the 2020 college graduates could not find jobs due to the pandemic. This includes 20 to 29-year-old graduates of a bachelor’s degree or higher. On a larger scale, the employment rate among U.S. citizens ages 16 and above is at 58%, lower than the rate in 2019 at 61%.

These figures show how the pandemic has limited job opportunities. This is because most industries are also affected. Some companies have declared bankruptcy, while others had to temporarily shut down their operations.

Here are some industries that have been hit harder by the pandemic:

  •  Airline industry
  •  Oil and gas drilling
  •  Restaurants
  •  Auto parts and equipment
  •  Leisure facilities

Meanwhile, here are some industries that have been least affected by the pandemic:

  •  Specialized real estate investment trust (REITs)
  •  Property and casualty insurance
  •  Multi-line insurance
  •  Health and life insurance
  •  Industrial REITs

Given the limited opportunities in different industries, what can fresh graduates do to earn a living? Should they wait, or should they make use of their spare time?


Learn More While Waiting

Survey says 45% of 2020 graduates are still applying for jobs, according to the employment website Monster. Meanwhile, most college grads are willing to do freelance or “gig” work until they get a full-time job.

Given the limited situation, career experts encourage fresh graduates to use this time to expand their skills and knowledge. Remember that not all industries are affected by the pandemic. Some are thriving. This can be the perfect time to get out of your comfort zone and try applying for jobs that are in during this pandemic.

With all the online training and courses, you can maximize your time studying while waiting to be hired. Here are some things you can do to explore more job opportunities until this pandemic is over:

  • Do your research and find which industries are in.

Freelance jobs are in, although not stable. These jobs include writing gigs, virtual assistant tasks, transcription jobs, and other online freelance opportunities. You might also want to check if the restaurant jobs or delivery services are a good source of income these days.

Find which job you can do within your neighborhood. Examples of this are cleaning or plumbing services. Learn the fundamental business concepts and marketing strategies if you’re planning to set up a small business like online reselling or selling baked goods. There are tons of opportunities if only you do your research.

  • Study and expand your skills.

You may be a graduate of other business management, culinary arts, accountancy, or tourism management. But these are not in demand right now. Some industries are even on freeze-hiring due to the pandemic. While waiting, you might want to enroll in online courses available. You can study other courses to expand your technical skills. Or you can learn more about your field.

Look for continuing education (CE) programs online. There are CE programs for aspiring electrical contractors, plumbers, chefs, teachers.

  • Build your confidence.

Since you have so much time in your hands, why not improve your writing and speaking skills? These skills are essential in every job application process. There are also online courses on personality development to enhance your confidence level. The way you present yourself in every job interview is crucial. If you want to impress your new boss, you might as well take this time to improve yourself. So that when the right job comes, you’ll be ready to ace that interview.

  • Apply as an intern.

Some agencies are not yet hiring but are still accepting on-the-job trainees. While these stints are for free or for a minimal fee, you can consider this as training. By working as an intern, you can experience how it feels like to be on board in the industry. You will not only gain relevant experience. You will also have some solid background to add to your resume. Employers are very keen on an applicant’s experience, so putting one company on your resume is a plus.

After completing your internship, you can ask your superiors for recommendations or referrals. You’ll never know. The company might absorb you once the industry has recovered.

These are just some of the things that you can do while waiting to get hired. It’s not the end of the world, and soon enough, this pandemic will be over. Industries will get back, and companies will recover. Soon enough, you’ll receive that much-awaited phone call, but for now, make use of your time and learn more.

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