Navigating the Job Market During the Pandemic and Beyond

The year 2020 was a whirlwind, creating feelings of uncertainty—especially when it comes to the economy. Whether we’re talking job prospects, earnings or career development, employment anxiety is understandable. There’s no crystal ball, but a sober assessment of the landscape can guide you as you begin your professional life.

Consider the following:

  1. You only need one job

Avoid a negative mindset and keep your goal in sight. A steady position in a solid organization providing a good salary, allowing for growth. That sounds more doable than solving the pandemic.

2. Understand the economic reality

Government projections say we won’t reach pre-pandemic GDP levels until at least mid-2022. Assume that unemployment will remain high as well. Decide whether to jump into the job pool, change jobs, or use the time to improve skills. Graduate schools and certification programs generally take one to two years, just in time for that 2022 return to normal.

3. Pick a growing field

Know which fields provide the best prospects. Whether it’s health care, data analysis or logistics, know what it takes to succeed.

4. Choose the right career

Don’t only look at salary and consider what type of work you might enjoy. If you’re not good with numbers, forget financial analysis or accounting. If people are not your thing, skip sales and marketing. Do an honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses and you’ll make choices that are a better fit.

5. Are you willing to relocate?

Sometimes the best job is not where we live, but in a different locale. Would you be happy in that environment?

6. Don’t be afraid to re-tool

If you’re on the wrong career path, make the switch now. Don’t worry if it adds time to your educational life. Better now than later.

7. Play the hand you’re dealt

Concentrate on what you can change and ignore things beyond your control.

8. Make the most of your opportunities

Prepare fully for interviews, researching the employer and position. Don’t waste opportunities which may not reappear.

9. Be more flexible

Tough job markets are not the time to search for the ideal position. Consider positions you found unsuitable before the pandemic. You can always change jobs when things return to normal, but without the pressure of being jobless.

There are bright spots. A doubling of the Federal Minimum Wage would boost earnings. Student loan payments will probably be deferred till October 2021 and perhaps even eliminated.

Ultimately, how quickly we recover from the pandemic is key. The arrival of several vaccines should bring the virus under control. The crucial mechanism of social distancing will most likely peak in April 2021 and begin to dissipate as a greater percentage of the country develops immunity. This will lead to a normalization of economic activity.

Whether you’re ready to graduate, or an alumnus concerned about career development, know that this is not the first recession nor the last. No matter how tough the job market, you only need one job. Let that be your focus and things will turn out okay.  

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