If you graduated in 2021, you deserve congratulations. Not only did you achieve a critical milestone, but thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, you endured a lot in your final two years of education and made it out the other side successfully. As a recent college graduate looking for jobs, you might think you’re in for a continued uphill battle as you look to launch your career. However, armed with critical information about the job market, it’s actually great to be a new grad in 2021.
New Demand for Several Key Industries
While most of the headlines you see tend to focus on industries that suffered and lost jobs in 2020, many industries have actually experienced a boom, providing unique job opportunities for 2021 graduates. Some of these industries include:
Ecommerce: From frontline eCommerce workers like personal shoppers and delivery drivers to fulfillment workers, manufacturing employees and customer service jobs, there has been a sharp increase in demand in this sector. Since 2019, jobs in eCommerce are up 73%, and with people getting used to having food, groceries and household items delivered, this demand is likely to remain high in the coming years.
Construction: In 2020, housing and construction seemed like it might take a nosedive, but quite the opposite has happened. In 2021, residential and commercial construction companies will need to hire 430,000 more workers than they employed in 2020, according to an analysis of US Bureau of Labor Statistics data. This includes everything from builders to project managers to office and corporate employees.
Manufacturing: The semiconductor shortage that came out of 2020 caused some problems for manufacturers, but overall, US companies need to hire more employees from top to bottom, including floor workers, skilled workers, engineers and corporate employees.
Aviation and aircraft: When air travel was grounded for 2021, job growth virtually disappeared, but now that people are itching to get out and travel again, job demand is up, including for engineers, mechanics, technicians and inspectors.
More Contract Roles and Temp Work Available to Build Resumes
Most new graduates are chomping at the bit to land their first full-time job, but it’s not always simple to find that first opportunity. Many employers want experience – but how can you get that experience if no one will hire you?
Savvy graduates looking for jobs know that temporary work can be a great way to build a resume, and right now there are many new temporary and contract opportunities out there. As companies look forward to economic recovery, they need people but may be wary of taking on the expense of hiring full-time employees. Therefore, they are leaning on contractors and temporary workers to help with critical projects, deadlines and seasonal demand.
There are many advantages to choosing contract roles or temp work as a new college graduate, including:
- Finding your ideal working environment: Since assignments are temporary, you are able to try out different industries and environments before committing to one employer or even one career path.
- Gaining critical industry experience: Employers are far less concerned about industry-specific experience for contractors and temporary workers, which means you can start building your resume with industry jobs through these types of assignments.
- Eliminating employment gaps: The longer you go without finding a job, the harder it will be to land one because employers will wonder what you were doing with your time. Taking on temporary roles as a new graduate will eliminate employment gaps and allow you to earn money and experience while you continue to look for a full-time job.
- Potentially open doors with an employer: Not all temporary jobs turn into full-time jobs, but many do. If you put your best foot forward on a temporary assignment, exceed expectations and express interest in staying on, you may be able to parlay a short-term role into your first post-graduation full-time job.
- Get access to benefits: Most temp jobs are filled through staffing agencies. And when you work with a staffing agency as a job seeker, you may be eligible for benefits if you meet certain criteria. If you’re considering temp work, you may want to choose a staffing agency that offers you the chance to access benefits.
How Proper Management of Your Online Presence Can Help
When looking for jobs as a recent college graduate, you’ll need to start thinking about your digital footprint. All of the social media profiles you’ve spent years building up can either hurt you or help you.
It’s important to remember that just as you research potential employers for new jobs out of school, employers will be doing their own “recon” work on you, as well. According to CareerBuilder, 70% of all employers screen candidates on social media and nearly three-fourths run a quick Google search on a candidate prior to an interview. That’s why it’s so important to properly manage your online presence as a recent grad on a job search.
- Make your personal accounts private: It is just smart to keep your personal life protected. Ensure each of your personal accounts are set to private and double-check to make sure the only people who can see your photos are your immediate friends.
- Clean up your profiles in case someone does find them: Going private is a good first step, but it is just the first step. You should still clean up your profiles, as there are many ways to find back door entry into your photos and posts. Go through and delete photos or posts that could be questionable and remove any photo tags you aren’t 100 percent comfortable with.
- Create professional profiles: Once you’ve cleaned up and privatized your personal accounts, create public, professional accounts. It should go without saying that you should also have a public LinkedIn profile with a personalized URL that you can include on your resume. Revisit that profile and make sure it is accurate and up-to-date.
Companies Have Developed a More Diverse Recruiting Strategy
Thanks to the social movements of 2020, employers are starting to really focus on improving diversity, inclusion and equity in the workplace. If you identify as a member of a minority community, joining professional groups for women or minorities can be a great way to meet influential people in the market and get tips on how to launch your career. Remember when networking within one of these groups that you also need to be able to bring something to the table to help others.
It’s also important to keep in mind that many companies aren’t as evolved as they present themselves to be in terms of diversity. Do your research and look beyond the workforce. It’s one thing to have diverse entry-level staff, it’s quite another to have diversity among managers and company leadership.
On the other hand, many companies have embraced diversity and inclusion and they may ask you about it during an interview, so research their approach, philosophies and any programs they have enacted in terms of diversity.
Remote Work Expands Job Opportunities
In 2020, employers that had previously resisted remote work were forced into it almost overnight, and many of those same employers quickly discovered that remote work is worthwhile. Moving forward, you’re likely to see more fully-remote jobs, hybrid-remote jobs and even job-sharing opportunities that didn’t exist just two years ago.
Employers that embrace remote work also open up their talent pool. You can now work for a company four states away (or halfway around the world) without having to relocate.
If you’re pursuing remote work, you’ll want to make sure that you practice your video interviewing skills and that you’re ready to talk about your ability to remain productive when working from home. If your school was remote only in 2020/2021, you’ve got lots of experience staying focused and managing your time at home.
Employers are in Demand for Workers
With so many industries booming and many more opening back up and ramping back up, talented workers are in high demand. Businesses that had to downsize during the economic downturn are now struggling to attract people back to work. Some of this is due to extended, enhanced unemployment benefits, some people were forced out of the workplace to care for their children, and many older workers chose to retire during the pandemic.
To attract new workers, employers are starting to offer enhanced benefits and perks, which makes this a great time for new graduates to find a job.
Increased Flexibility from Employers
The pandemic shone a light on the need for greater work-life balance. Spending so much time at home and with family made people more aware of how much time they were spending at work. That’s why office jobs are now becoming at least partially remote. And in industries where work must be done in person, like manufacturing and construction, employers are offering flexible scheduling and non-traditional shifts to allow employees to achieve better balance.
Higher Pay Available
Employers are also starting to realize that higher wages are going to be the key to attracting talented people. Now is the perfect time for new graduates looking for jobs to cash in. Employers are offering everything from sign-on bonuses to additional vacation pay to enhanced bonuses and base pay.
Demand for Frontline Workers
Frontline workers carried the brunt of the work during 2020, and the demand for these critical employees is not slowing. Unfortunately, some workers burned out during the pandemic and left, while the demand for services in these industries has only skyrocketed. New graduates looking for jobs can find real opportunities applying for frontline work as a means to get their foot in the door and gain valuable experience.
How to be a Competitive Candidate
Hiring managers see a lot of applications and meet a lot of candidates, so you need to do everything you can to stand out and be a competitive candidate.
- Write a cover letter: As a recent 2021 graduate, you may think, “who writes cover letters anymore?” The answer is not many people, and that’s what will help you stand out.
- Customize your resume: Every resume you send out should be customized to the job you’re applying for. This takes some extra time, but by using keywords from the posting and highlighting specific skills, you are more likely to pass the screening process.
- Focus on your skills: Your resume should always address the specific skill requirements listed in the job posting, but you should also showcase skills listed as “preferred.” Finally, include specialized skills and don’t be afraid to mention any licenses, certifications or industry training programs you successfully completed.
- Be realistic: As a new college grad, it’s great to reach for the stars. But unfortunately, nearly everyone has to start out at the bottom and work their way to the top. Make sure you’re applying for jobs you’re qualified for. If you’re shooting too high, you won’t catch a hiring manager’s attention.
- Work with a staffing agency: An expert staffing company can help you find full-time or temporary jobs much faster than you can searching on your own. Recruiters can help you improve your resume and interviewing skills, as well, and they often are searching for candidates for jobs that haven’t been advertised to the public.
Contact a Staffing Agency to Secure Your First Post-Grad Job Today!
Are you a recent graduate looking for a job? To increase your chances of finding a great opportunity quickly, partner with a professional staffing agency that has a proven track record providing career services for recent grads – partner with Top Notch Personnel. We recruit for jobs from the entry-level up, and we can help recent graduates find what they are looking for. Our team fills:
- Aircraft Jobs
- Call Center Jobs
- Construction Jobs
- Manufacturing Jobs
- Industrial Jobs
- Light Industrial Jobs