The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic changed the way we learn and work. Now, Austin Community College District's (ACC) Career Services team is sharing ways to prepare students for the new job market.
Written by: ACC Career Services team
Impacts on the workforce
The combined health crisis and economic disruption disproportionately impacted the most vulnerable populations employed in the lowest-earning occupations. Job losses in retail, leisure, and hospitality sectors, where many college students were employed pre-COVID, were the hardest hit and have shown the slowest recovery.
The good news is that we are seeing positive signs from our employers, the unemployment rate in Austin has improved, and job postings are on the rise. We now see the labor market showing an increased demand for technology skills across all industries making IT, Computer Science, Data Analysis, and digital skills in general.
What to look for when applying for remote work
For student job seekers, remote work options are on the rise. This trend continues, and we expect to see more companies maintain or increase job postings for remote work.
The downside, job scammers are also on the rise, and they are targeting job seekers at an alarming rate. It’s important to research all job postings before applying. Some common red flags include high pay for a low skill job (Hiring Now! $500 a day, no experience required!) or the position requires you to pay for training to get the job. Legitimate remote job postings should include a detailed list of responsibilities and required experience to help you determine whether or not you’re qualified.
ACC students prepare for career success
It is critical for ACC students to start planning for their future early in their academic careers. Data shows that the first job a student acquires after graduation has lifelong earnings implications. If a student’s first job post-graduation is not in alignment with academic credentials, on average the position yields 17% less than a job that is in alignment with their degree or certificate. Career guidance and training expose students to critical information and tools that have the capacity to increase job opportunities and career trajectories.
We are in the midst of tremendous technological and pandemic job disruption that is shortening the shelf life of entire fields and skillsets while creating new fields that are on the cusp of emerging. Academic advising, coupled with career advising, leads to precision planning. This allows busy students to avoid extraneous classes and move toward successful completion and transition in less time.
How to job hunt in the new market
While the foundational skills for the job search are still relevant, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed a number of aspects regarding the job hunt. Preparing for the interview process to be entirely virtual is an obvious change. We encourage you to become familiar with screen- sharing features on high-use, virtual conference platforms (e.g., Zoom, Webex, etc.), as well as basic knowledge in lighting, background noise reduction, and appropriate backgrounds.
Networking is another area that has changed. Understanding the advanced features of LinkedIn for online networking requires study, patience, and acquiring a comfort level with interacting and communicating virtually to land a job and grow a career.
Researching a potential employer is more critical than ever. Many employers are under pressure to add maximum value for every dollar spent. Determining how you can lend more value to the company than the person you are competing against requires thoughtful analysis. Job candidates need to study how COVID has affected the employer and field they are interviewing for. Coming up with ideas that lend value to a particular pain point an employer has experienced can help you stand out.
For students to better prepare themselves for career success, it is important that they invest in their future by taking advantage of the personalized support ACC provides through Career Services, including licensed career counselors, specialists offering one-on-one career coaching, and free training classes covering the full gamut of digital job search skills. Learn more about skills, resume writing, or schedule 1-on-1 support at www.austincc.edu/career.