Graduates entering the job market in 2021 are faced with new and unusual challenges. When companies shut down or moved their workers to remote work due to the pandemic, the job market changed and now looks very different than it did just a few years ago.

Many people are still working from home and may continue to do so for a long time to come. Meetings are online through video chats. And collaborative work is done through apps and software programs instead of around a workstation.

Top Tips For Entering the Job Market

While some may thrive in this kind of job market, others may struggle. Here are the best tips for 2021 graduates preparing to enter the job market.

1. Prepare For A Long Job Search

Hiring and onboarding new employees is slower than usual right now. With many department heads working from home, it’s taking longer than expected to process applications, schedule and conduct interviews virtually, make offers, and onboard new employees.

Be patient. If there’s a job you’re interested in, talk to the HR manager to find out the timeline for filling the position. Don’t assume the worst if it takes longer than expected. According to a Forbes article, “Think of your career as a marathon—not a sprint. ”

2. Prepare To Work From Home

Working remotely is more common now, and many companies are choosing to reduce their overhead and continue to let employees work remotely on a permanent basis. Recognize that this may be a job requirement and start preparing for how you’ll manage that.

You’ll need a quiet workspace where you won’t be interrupted, a computer, and a strong internet connection at the least. Some companies will require you to install their own software and join online work sites for collaboration with coworkers. Remember working from home can contribute to promotions and success too.

Be honest with yourself and potential employers regarding whether you can comply with their requirements for working from home.

3. Do Your Research

With some companies struggling to get back to their full earning potential, you may be offered a lower salary than you’d expect. Do your research and find out what the starting salary is for a position you’re looking for, set up job alerts through work search sites, and keep your options open.

This may be an excellent time to learn some negotiation skills as well. While your salary offer may be lower, you may be able to negotiate extra time off or additional benefits in exchange for a higher salary.

4. Apply For Help

With the hiring process taking longer than usual, you may find yourself in a financial bind. Federal, state, and local governments are offering a variety of relief efforts to help.

You can find help with financial aid, food and meals, delayed rent and mortgage payments, and deferred student loans.

5. Consider An Interim Job

Consider looking for an “in-between” job to get you through. Many retail stores and restaurants are in desperate need of staff, and the income can help you get through until you find a permanent job.

Plus, having some kind of job experience on your resume and proving that you’re willing to work even if it’s not your ideal job will impress your future employer.

The 2021 job market is unique for recent graduates with little or no experience. Take your time, do your research, and find a temporary job to hold you over. The right job will come along; it just may take a little longer.

Do You Need Career Search or Interview Help?

If you need help updating your resume to include all of your qualifications, practicing for an interview, or organizing your job search information during these challenging times, consider reaching out to Rachel Schneider, CPC at Career Find to assist you.