‘Perseverance and persistence’ key to grads landing jobs in today’s market, college officials say

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Local college officials discussed how graduates are faring finding jobs during the pandemic

(WKBN) – A lot has been changed by the pandemic, and officials from Thiel College and Penn State Shenango said perseverance and patience are key to those still looking for a job.

“During this pandemic, for students that are graduating this semester, there haven’t been as many challenges as we saw last semester for these recent graduates getting jobs,” said Taylor Cole, a career services coordinator and academic advisor at Penn State Shenango.

Greg Butcher, associate academic dean for student success at Thiel College, said their psychiatry department has reported more reference checks on students applying for jobs, but overall, students report a slower process.

Cole said their nursing students have had success finding employment, but all fields have a way in, you just have to find that.

“Our accounting department, for example, mentioned that some of the bigger firms have actually delayed hiring dates,” Butcher said. “I think perseverance is essential. That unfortunately, seems to be the reality.”

Cole and Butcher understand that not everyone can wait, but Cole emphasized that every job holds value and a person should not say they are applying for a job just because they need a paycheck.

“Make sure that whatever you apply for, even if it’s not your dream job, is something that you’re willing to do because every job is going to have something that will help develop your skills with communication or teamwork,” Cole said. “Be open to different opportunities, because also if you take a job, maybe you didn’t think was your interest, you might learn something new and find out that is something that maybe is a better fit for you.”

When it comes to finding a job, Cole and Butcher stressed the importance of having a good resume and cover letter, and an updated LinkedIn profile.

Also build your network and keep in touch with friends, family members and colleagues. They both mentioned that their colleges have people, like Cole and Butcher, to help graduates find employment and get ready to interview and enter the workforce.

“There is actually studies that have been done by the National Association of Colleges and Employers and they found that 60-90% of jobs are all found through networking,” Cole said.

Individuals that have made it to the interviewing stage with a potential employer should brush up on their technological skills. Become comfortable using services like Zoom, dress professionally, clean up your background, avoid distractions and have the email and phone number of the person hosting the interview in case you have a technological issue.

“Eye contact, it’s really tricky to get a sense of where to look,” Butcher said. “Simple tricks like, it may be kind of silly, but putting a pair of googly eyes next to your camera, so you look at the eyes and that will actually help you make eye contact with the people you’re talking to.”

He also suggests students use pacareerlink.pa.gov for help with resumes, cover letters and interviewing.

Overall, individuals need to look at their personal situations, apply for jobs that they have an interest in or that meet their personal goals and not give up on the process.

“I know that the job process can be very frustrating and stressful so it’s all about that perseverance and persistence, and I think having those few little tips and tricks to help you in the process will make it a smoother experience,” Cole said.

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