How can I prepare to enter the job market right now?
“I am a college senior, a theatre major looking to teach, about to graduate and very concerned about entering the job market during such strange times. What is your advice for new graduates?”
Graduation is almost always a time of uncertainty, and for college graduates in May of 2020, this couldn’t be more of an understatement. Many of my friends who graduated during the Great Recession, just a decade ago, also entered an uncertain job market.
But what your cohort is facing in this moment is truly unprecedented. I, and the whole world, empathize with you, and we’re cheering for your success.
In any economic climate, my advice to recent graduates is to view the first three to five years of your career as a pivotal time to gain experience. Do not opt for the highest-paying salary or sexiest title at the expense of a high-growth opportunity. Early work experience is a critical time to learn as much as you possibly can within your industry, forge important relationships, and set the tone for your work ethic. These are much more important focuses than titles or salary in the very early stages of your career.
Since your particular career aspirations are within academia, I would recommend looking into graduate school, or pursuing a PHD track now rather than later. If the idea of taking on more student loan debt makes you feel a little ill, I hear you. It’s not advice I would offer for every industry, but in your case, continued education will likely increase the opportunities and earning potential you will have within your particular field.
As graduation approaches, ask yourself how you can gain the most depth and breadth of experience or knowledge to best position yourself for the future when the economy rebalances. At some moment, it will.
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AmyAnn Cadwell is CEO & Co-Founder of The Good Trade and an angel investor in mission-driven companies.