Alumni share how they secured jobs after graduating in a pandemic

COVID-19 has impacted the job market even today. Alumni have a few words of advice for students in the job market. Photo Courtesy of Flyer News.

Cara Gfroerer | Contributing Writer

Growing up can be a terrifying thing. Children are frequently asked, “What do you want to be?”

Those children change their mind repeatedly, from president, to firefighter, to doctor and so on. Children become adults and continue this volatile mindset into college as they are presented with many classes and career options. Once they finally decide on what they want to do for the rest of their lives, they are faced with a new problem preceding graduation. 

It has almost been two years since COVID-19 was first detected, and the effects on society are still being seen. The workforce in America, and all over the world for that matter, has changed since 2019. The global pandemic has forced people to adapt to new business environments and social practices. 

This change is especially confusing to recent college graduates who are already faced with the terror of starting their careers. Recent college graduates are already struggling to adapt with the transition from child to adult, but the adaptations in the workforce due to the pandemic are a different challenge entirely. However, there are ways for college students to prepare for these changes.

Lexie Hays and Elizabeth Collins, University of Dayton alumni who graduated in 2020, faced new-found struggles caused by the pandemic after graduation. 

Hays is a first-year teacher at St. Louis Catholic Academy in Chicago. She started her job a little more than a year after graduating in the midst of the global pandemic. Hays had planned to do a service year with UD directly after graduation, however, it was canceled due to the rapid spread of COVID-19. She was only informed of the cancellation a couple weeks before graduation. She quickly recovered and adapted to the workforce despite the challenges COVID-19 presented.  

Hays advises students to create relationships with peers and professors, and to maintain those relationships after graduation. Relationships with professors can be pivotal after graduation, she said; they can provide referrals and advice that are essential when trying to start a career. 

“So much of what I took away from Dayton were the relationships,” Hays said. “One of the biggest problems with undergrads is they don’t build relationships until it’s too late.” 

Elizabeth Collins is working as a medical assistant at a pediatric system in Pittsburgh. Similar to Hays, her career was pushed back because of the pandemic. Her advice to graduates is to try to stand out and be open to all opportunities that present themselves. 

“Be bold,” Collins said. “Send your resume to any job that you would be interested in, not just ones that are good pay. Actually, look at the job position and see if you can envision yourself working there for a long time.” 

There is no trick or hack for succeeding after college. It just takes hard work, involvement in the community and being open to the opportunities that present themselves after graduation, according to recent UD graduates. 

This may seem like simple advice, but it could be critical for success after graduation. The time before and after graduation is necessary to build a foundation for a career. It can be easy to get distracted and wrapped up in the constant stresses of life, but preparation for graduation will alleviate potential future stress and provide a greater chance of success. 

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