If your college graduation ceremony has been canceled because of the coronavirus, I’m so sorry. I know that wasn’t what you guys were expecting or hoping for, and it’s okay to be sad about it. That is real stuff!
This probably also throws a curve ball at your post-grad plans, especially when it comes to job hunting. But here’s something else I know: You guys are smart and hardworking, and we’re going to get through this. So, here are my top six tips for transitioning into the workforce after college during these crazy times.
Write down your goals
Yes, the coronavirus might’ve forced you to rethink some of your goals and plans, but that doesn’t mean they need to go out the window. At the end of the day, your vision for your life shouldn’t change. Write down your big-picture goals and put them where you can see them to keep you motivated.
Update your resume
Right now, the job search process might look a little different than it normally does, but here’s one thing that won’t change: You’ll need an up-to-date resumé. Spend some time making it current by adding your college jobs, internships and accomplishments (and try to keep it to one page).
Apply for a job—any job!
With the job market as weird as it is right now, this isn’t the time to be proud or picky when it comes to your job options. Even if it’s not what you want to do for your career, just find someplace that’s hiring—Target, Kroger, Walmart, Uber Eats, Shipt, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Slack and UPS are a few that I know of—so you can at least have a steady paycheck. You’ll still gain experience and build up your resume, and when things get better, you can start looking for something else.
You also might want to consider starting a side hustle like online tutoring, freelance writing and editing, or nannying (if health and safety allow) to get you through this time.
Keep making connections
No matter where you work, you’ll meet all kinds of people. You never know who might be a valuable connection or job lead in the future. Always bring your A game to any job you have—whether it’s restocking shelves or delivering pizza. Your boss could be the one to write you a reference or letter of recommendation later on down the road.
Don’t take on debt
Don’t panic and sign up for a credit card! Loans will only cause you more stress in the long run. If you’re trying to pay off current debt and dealing with job uncertainty right now, I feel your pain. Know that you might need to pause your debt snowball and just focus on generating whatever income you can to cover your Four Walls—food, utilities, shelter and transportation—until you can get back on your feet. But after that, it’s game on!
Stay at home
I know you never imagined living at home with your parents after college. But with these uncertain times, I’m all for it! It saves you money and the stress of trying to pay rent while you’re unemployed. If moving home to live with mom and dad for a little while is an option, take it.
You guys, you’re about to graduate from college. You’ve worked hard for years, and I promise that hard work will pay off. Don’t forget to celebrate everything you’ve achieved (even if you’re celebrating at home), and keep it up. I’m proud of you!
About Anthony ONeal
Since 2003, Anthony has helped hundreds of thousands of students make smart decisions with their money, relationships, and education. He’s the national best-selling author of Debt Free Degree and travels the country spreading his encouraging message to help teens and young adults start their lives off right. You can follow Anthony on YouTube and Instagram @AnthonyONeal and online at anthonyoneal.com or facebook.com/aoneal.