By Kate Merrill


BOSTON (CBS) – An aspiring journalist, recent Boston University graduate, Jacob Gurvis got a taste of the current job market after his very first application. “A couple of days after I applied, the position was eliminated,” he said.

This year’s graduates face the toughest job market in years, but career consultant Elaine Varelas of Keystone Partners does have some good news. “First people need to know that there are jobs, that people are hiring, they are professional jobs,” she said.

But Varelas does warn that grads may have to settle for something less than their dream job. Jacob understands that might mean his first job as a reporter may have to wait, but at this point, he is willing to broaden his employment horizons. “Experience is experience, getting paid is getting paid,” he said. “I just want to get my foot in the door somewhere, even if it’s a door I thought I wouldn’t be going into.”

Whether you are a new grad, or recently unemployed, Varelas advises job seekers to be prepared to do all of your interviewing via videoconferencing and be prepared to work remotely. “Technology is going to drive everything moving forward,” she said.

This doesn’t mean you need to be a computer programmer, but according to Varelas, brushing up on a few technical skills could help give you an edge. “Excel, any kind of data analytics is going to be a huge gain for most people,” she said. There is lots of help online for those who don’t know how Excel or other data management programs work.

Some other tips for graduates, according to Varelas:

– Stay connected with faculty. They have contacts in your field and they know where the jobs are.
– Reach out to former employers or internships.
– An online application alone is not going to cut it. You could end up speaking with dozens of people before landing a position.

Varelas is urging both recent grads and the newly employed to keep looking. “They need to know that you can continue to do an effective job search even in the midst of a pandemic,” Varelas said.

Keystone Partners will soon roll out a workshop for college grads in June.

Information on that upcoming program:

Our Recent College Graduates program provides insights, guidance, and essential skills to navigate a job search. Topics covered include targeting jobs, resume building, the importance of developing a robust network, networking, and interviewing skills. In small groups participants practice interviewing with real-time professional and peer feedback. Resume review provides tips to package summer and school term jobs, volunteer activities, sports, leadership roles, and internships in a manner that transfers to a professional job search.

Given the impact of COVID-19 on the job market, the class of 2020 is likely to face similar challenges to the classes of 2008 and 2009.

Kate Merrill

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