COVID-19 impacting job search for class of 2020 college graduates

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It takes the average college graduate three to six months to secure a job after graduation and that’s without a pandemic.

Monday is Britney Morris’ last day of classes which completes her undergraduate experience at the University of Southern Mississippi.

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Landing a career right out of college is always hard, but Morris, along with the rest of the class of 2020, is trying to do it in the middle of a worldwide pandemic and economic meltdown. “So far it’s kind of put everything on hold, everything that a lot of people have planned for including me. I want to just go ahead and work right after school. It’s not working that way at all. We’re not able to find any jobs and then the jobs that we’re able to find are not in our criteria because it’s masters-level work and I only have a bachelor’s. So that is the biggest thing. There are hardly any bachelor level social work jobs open and it’s causing chaos for everybody. There are a lot of families that aren’t able to make it now and they’re having more trouble because of the pandemic.”

USM Assistant Director of Career Services Mary Maner says though the outbreak creates a new obstacle, it doesn’t mean all is lost. “While some industries are experiencing short term setbacks, others are seeing gains. So, being patient and vigilant in seeking new potentially remote openings that are being created every day, staying in, it can be easy to give up especially during a volatile time. However, you have to reach out to your support network for encouragement and guidance like USM.”

Maner says current USM students and alumni can make an appointment to discuss anything from resumes, interview preparation, or just choosing a career path in general. “Hiring has not stopped at all. For those who are seeking new jobs and career mobility some changes, of course, have to be made and strategies and approaches specifically in terms of networking and interviewing. We are here to keep the students on top of it.”

Though these are tough times, Morris says she likes to encourage her fellow graduates to continue being optimistic. “Keep their heads up. This will die down, but this will be our new norm for a while, but it’s going to be okay. We’re going to work our way through it.”

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