Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Graduating seniors reflect on struggle to find jobs during the pandemic

April 23, 2021
A graduation cap and gown photographed next to a laptop on April 22, 2020.
A graduation cap and gown photographed next to a laptop on April 22, 2020. —
Photo by Alyte Katilius | The State News

Michigan State’s graduating seniors are beginning to enter the workforce as their college years come to a close. However, finding jobs post graduation has not been easy for some seniors due to COVID-19. 

Creative advertising senior Teddy Wujeck has struggled finding a job in his particular career field and plans to work as a bartender after he graduates. 

“Last summer, I reached out to the first person about potentially having an internship,” he said. “I reached out to a couple people but I got nothing back.” 

Wujeck wants to go into the marketing side of creative advertising and said that this field in general has limited jobs already, and the pandemic isn’t helping.

“There’s been a pushback from people that are already in the field,” Wujeck said. “I once told an art teacher of mine that I wanted to be a graphic designer and he said ‘No you don’t; everybody is getting a job instantly but not moving anywhere in the business.'"

Although Wujeck has not had much success with finding a job after he graduates, he said he has “all of his eggs in one basket” and is continuing his job search. 

“Get on LinkedIn and start doing that early,” Wujeck said. “I think everybody would have the same answer to that, just contact as many people as you can early.”

Food science senior Adhisha Chandra has also faced difficulty finding a job after graduation during the pandemic. 

“In one of the career fairs I was talking to the representative and they mentioned they are not hiring right now in the current situation because of the pandemic, so they will probably be hiring next year,” Chandra said. 

Chandra also faces the challenge of finding a job because she is an international student from India. 

Chandra said that international students are allowed to work in the United States for one year after they graduate. If they want to continue working in the United States, they are asked if they require a sponsorship from the company they are applying for. 

“When you come across that question in the application process I have started doing 'no' instead of 'yes,'” she said. “If I do 'yes' they just get separated out before going further so if I do 'no,' there’s a possibility of going further.” 

Looking for a job as a food science major during a pandemic has been even more difficult for Chandra because many restaurant businesses are not hiring many new employees due to losses from the pandemic. 

“I know the food industry wants to keep hiring, but there are limited positions,” Chandra said. “I think they are looking for more domestic options to maintain the whole employment cost and with the pandemic that has also limited it.”

Chandra interned at Campbell’s Soup Company for six months that gave her good experience in her field but has not made it any easier for her to find a job after graduation. 

“I did contact my previous manager at Campbell’s,” Chandra said. “She said that I might want to keep looking at the career page website which usually has job updates, so I keep looking there every single day.” 

The Career Services Network at MSU allows students access to different job posting systems and allows students to meet with a career adviser regarding job search strategies as well as the opportunity for students to attend summer workshops. 

Career Services Network Executive Director Jeffrey Beavers said in an email that building a resume that describes work experiences as well as responsibilities and accomplishments is key. 

“After a strong resume, it is then about having a plan and strategy that is realistic and that includes leveraging our strong alumni network and vast employer partnerships,” Beavers said.

Beavers said that students who have been successful in finding jobs spend time preparing for the recruiting process. As far as students who have had challenges finding jobs this year, Beavers said that it is not about the lack of opportunity but rather the lack of experience and confidence in conducting a fully virtual job search. 

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“For some students, it is less fun, more work, and can even seem overwhelming compared to being able to participate in on-campus recruiting activities like information sessions, job fairs, and networking events,” Beavers said. “However, students who have participated in virtual events over the past year reported it was comfortable to be able to participate in their own space and meet with employers for pre-arranged sessions.” 

Initially, students who were in the hospitality management and transportation field were having the most difficulty finding jobs because of the pandemic, according to Beaver. He said that those fields are doing more just-in-time hiring rather than planned hiring that they have done in the past. 

“The students having the most difficulty are likely those who are feeling lost or overwhelmed and who need support and an updated strategy,” Beavers said. “We have tripled our available advising appointments and are ready to work with anyone who needs a better plan or is struggling.” 

This article is part of our Semester in Review issue. Read the full issue here.

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