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Okay 2020, what am I going to do now?

Okay 2020, what am I going to do now?

An insight into Graduates entering the job market By Nadia Hassan

According to the BBC, 400,000 graduates have watched their plans evaporate overnight due to COVID19.

Graduate jobs are being withdrawn throughout every industry, redundancies are on the rise and if leaving further education wasn’t already an uncertain time, it’s definitely a daunting prospect now.

As a graduate, I fully understand how daunting this time can be. With redundancies on the rise, graduates are no longer competing with other graduates, they are competing with unemployed managers, associates and executives.

And they all have an extensive amount of industry experience that not many university students have.

However, what students do have is a fresher eye, enthusiasm, a different work ethic, up to date theory, experience with live client briefs and most importantly, they are eager
to learn.

Which I think is overlooked.

Students and graduates can bring diversity to a business and by investing time into a graduate, they will return the favour and invest their time and knowledge into the business. Win – Win!

Job Market

The graduate entry level jobs are rare and if they do appear, there are often more than 500 applicants for one position. And believe me, they won’t all be graduates.

Competition is at an all-time high, with graduate offers dropping by 77% since the beginning of the year.

It is equally reassuring and terrifying that a lot of graduates are in the same position
as I am.

During lockdown, I started to invest time into LinkedIn and job hunting - I’m sure like many other graduates.

Job hunting was becoming demoralising, as there were no jobs advertised and if they were being advertised, they were gone within hours.

I would apply for jobs but would never get any response or even a rejection.
Just silence.

I began to panic and think to myself, what am I going to do? I was made redundant from my retail job and had nothing else to work towards.

A lot of my classmates had applied to do a Masters degree and I began to consider doing one myself. However, I realised a Masters degree wasn’t an option for me.

To me, it was as if I was going backwards in my career. I was desperate to get into the job market to put into practice everything I’d learned in theory.

I began to explore other options.

My mentor Joanna Fraser suggested that I carry out some voluntary work to add to my existing portfolio.

Joanna introduced me to some of her connections and from there, I managed to gain two social media voluntary positions.

When meeting with both parties, I proposed what I could do, what I wanted to learn and a duration of how long I would volunteer for.

Suggestions

I encourage my fellow graduates to reach out to companies and simply ask if you can voluntarily help them in any way, it may be daunting at first but just remember, nothing ventured,
nothing gained.

Blog

I asked Laura Monteath, a fellow PR graduate from RGU, for her thoughts on entering the job market.

During lockdown, Laura decided to create an Instagram blog for people who didn’t know what PR was and advice on social media and branding.

“Graduating into a poor job market and recession has definitely been difficult,” she said.

“Although it wasn’t the outcome I had hoped for myself after finishing university, I am trying to remain positive and focus on doing everything I can to improve my chances of employment.

“My Instagram blog gives tips on everything from digital marketing and public relations to CV writing and job hunting. This is definitely not what I imagined I would be doing after university, but I am absolutely loving it and the opportunities it has given me.”

Support

For the first few weeks, I had no idea in which direction to go and I know I wasn’t the only one.

I was amazed by the amount of online resources out there to help, not just graduates but everyone further
their skills.

Resources such as Google Digital Garage, SkillShare and Girls in Marketing were hosting free webinars.

My own university (RGU) began to host webinars to help graduates with CV and cover letter advice, interview skills, networking coaching and how to improve your LinkedIn profile.

They also set up a graduate mentor programme. This paired graduates and industry professionals, to provide help and advice from the industry professional to the graduate. I found the programme extremely beneficial.

Kickstart

At first, there was silence from the government regarding graduates. However, on September 2, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a £2billion government scheme called Kickstart to offer young people work opportunities.

The scheme offers £1,500 grants to help businesses with employee training and support.

The Kickstart scheme is open until December 2021, with the Government covering 100% of the minimum wage, national insurance and pension payments.

This is a great thing for us graduates, but I have so many questions.

What if businesses don’t apply? What if it is only certain industries that end up applying? What industries are eligible?

Are the graduates of 2020 going to be tainted by this? I.e. are businesses only going to take graduates on because of the grant provided? What will happen to other generations that have extensive experience but won’t be hired because of the scheme as it is just for graduates? Will graduates be resented by the older generation for “stealing their jobs”?

Is this just another government scheme that seems like a great idea but will have a lot of backlash? Probably.

Overall, entering the job market is scary, nerve-racking and overwhelming. Many graduates have no choice but to change direction in the path they want to follow.

There are some industries that are starting to move again, more jobs are appearing, slowly but surely.

I think it is important for businesses to consider the benefits of hiring a graduate. Whether that is through the Kickstart Scheme or not.

Although graduates may not have years of industry experience, what they do have is a sense of enthusiasm, diversity, willingness to learn and take on whatever challenges they are faced with.

We graduated through a pandemic, if that isn’t a challenge, I don’t know what is. ξ

Nadia Hassan graduated in Public Relations from Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen in summer 2020. Catch up with her on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/nadiahassan98/

Laura Monteath’s blogs can be read at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lauramonteath/https://...

Kickstart Scheme

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/kickstar...