Entering the job market during a pandemic

The stock market crashed in the beginning of March, seeing one of the worst crashes since the 2008 recession. The entire planet is amid a pandemic, causing municipal shutdowns, self-quarantine and an escalating death rate.

Georgia State students reported back to their homes to begin spring break and finish classes online. All Georgia State commencements are canceled. A 2020 college graduate could not ask for more as they are thrown into the “real world” this summer.  

Before the coronavirus outbreak, job seeking was simple.

The ability to apply, score an in-person interview and become hired is a deteriorating concept. Companies are unable to conduct an in-person interview; therefore, job seekers are less likely to be hired. Not only will recent graduates become challenged with finding jobs, the currently employed are likely to lose theirs. According to the Economic Policy Institute, 3 million jobs will be missed by summer. 

For a recent college graduate with a bachelor’s degree, the already daunting task of submitting applications and interviewing with companies is only getting worse as the media updates the world on what businesses are crashing. Businesses are less likely to hire recent college students, and the amount of unemployment insurance claims increased to its highest level since Sept. 2, 2017.   

For senior journalism student Tia McCullough, every news is bad news this month. 

“I can submit an application and get no response, or there are just no open positions at all,” McCullough said. 

Without any applications available and the remaining jobs becoming overfilled with recently graduated applicants, the anxiety increases for many students. The idea of not only finishing classes and graduating at home but searching for jobs in the middle of a global economic crisis does not sit well with many graduates. 

Layoffs for current employees are to be expected as the year progresses and will increase with quarantines and store closures. If the current employees are laid off from their jobs, there should be no available jobs at the entry-level. Unemployed workers are unsure whether it is temporary or not. 

Senior nursing student Morgan Hash will be one of the few who will enter the job market with relative ease. 

“The demand for nurses is pretty high right now,” Hash said. “I guess I am one of the lucky ones who chose a solid career path.”

According to MarketWatch, the jobs that will be impacted the most by the economic collapse induced by COVID-19 will be the travel industry and manufacturing. Airlines are decreasing the number of domestic flights and already asking for billion-dollar bailouts. Without the typical amount of traveling this year, the hotel and hospitality industry was significantly impacted, causing entire departments to be laid off. 

To flatten the curve of coronavirus patients, the film industry vowed to shut down every set currently in production, causing significant delays for premieres and post-production work. Popular film festivals, including South by Southwest, were canceled. SXSW provides exposure for newer and more independent movies. The festival will proceed through online streaming, but the onsite workers no longer have a job. 

Film industry member Alex Nagle, who works as a freelance production assistant on many sets in New York, reported that all production members are laid off without pay and should wait for the virus to pass to proceed with work. Nagle will return to Atlanta and live with her parents to save money and wait for time to move. 

“The production just stopped, and we were all sent home,” Nagle said. “It is not much you can do when you are a freelance worker.” 

With a terrible job market directly on the cusp of the spring graduation, the idea of effortlessly searching and becoming hired at a successful job is general. Before the pandemic started to affect the economy, jobs were already scarce. Most applications were searching for entry-level positions but requiring experience as well.

“The weirdest part about applications is the company’s idea of ‘entry-level,’” McCullough said. “But they require the applicant to have at least two years of experience in the position.”

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 1,975,000 students will be awarded a bachelor’s degree in 2020. The rate increases annually in the hopes that the job market will stay consistent and open.

Graduates have to either stand out, have connections or continue to higher education like senior Madelyn Ott. Ott will be attending the University of Southern California to receive her master’s degree. 

“A higher degree means you have more options to choose from once you graduate,” Ott said. “It will look great on your resume, and the education will help in the long run.”

Ott encourages students to look beyond just a bachelor’s degree if it is possible. Graduate school can cost as much as $223,800, depending on where a student is accepted.

Although the benefits of a master’s degree appeared to be superior to a bachelor’s degree, students should consider the cost, time and logic of pursuing higher education. 

“Think about your major and look at what you can do with it and how far you can go with that degree,” Hash said. “Do not spend an unnecessary amount of money if most of your job applications require a bachelor’s.”

The 2020 graduates are aware the job market is scarce, and the economy is at an all-time low. To stay above other applicants, students should build connections with people and the businesses they strive to be a part of. 

“The key to getting the attention of an employer is to find a person who works at the company, not the employer, and builds a connection with them,” Hash said. “Use social networking to reach out.”

Undergraduates should message through LinkedIn or Instagram if emails are not provided. The catch-all and most common career websites should be avoided.

Applicants can quickly become lost in the thousands of resumes submitted to popular companies; therefore, starting at a smaller business is never a bad idea as long as they are still viable.