Preparing yourself for the world of work as a 'COVID-19 graduate'

Posted in Candidates

Posted by Joanne Caine
Published on 03 August, 2021

It probably comes as no surprise that COVID-19 has deeply affected the graduate market across all industries. In 2020 alone, the UK’s Top 100 Graduate Employers slashed their graduate recruitment by 15 per cent.

Nevertheless, thanks to a successful vaccine programme rollout and (nearly) complete lifting of all restrictions, the jobs market is once again on a positive trajectory – good news for the candidate market. However, for the first time since the economic crash of 2008, we’re seeing a huge number of vacancies flooding in, but very few candidates to fill them – especially when it comes to graduate and entry roles.

While it may seem like a strange market to be job hunting in, there’s never been a better time to do so. Not only is there an abundance of opportunities out there, but recruiters and employers alike are in the midst of an incredibly candidate-led situation which means, nine times out of 10, job offers are willing to be negotiated in favour of the potential employee. From salaries to perks and benefits, candidates are very much in control.

Even so, it can still be daunting to be fresh out of school or university and looking for that first step – especially if you’re not sure what you want from your career. Here are a few tips to help you get started in your job hunt.

Explore outside of your usual geography

Of course, over the past 16 months many workplaces have become far more open to flexible and remote working, so don’t feel inclined to shy away from opportunities that may be a little further away than you might have initially considered.

According to an article on LinkedIn, 10 per cent of entry-level jobs advertised in the first three months of 2021 were fully remote, and this trend is set to continue.

Look for temp roles

 The temporary and interim market is currently having its time in the spotlight. As so many employers look to plug skills gaps as well as implement a ‘try before you buy’ hiring system to help to manage a slightly turbulent landscape, temporary roles are becoming an increasingly attractive option. In May of this year, there were 1.57 million temporary workers in the UK, compared to 1.46 million in January 2020.

And for you as a candidate, especially one who may want to dip their toe in the water of many different industries to find the most desirable career path, it’s not an option to be overlooked. From gaining invaluable experience to expanding your network, as well as having the potential to become a permanent member of the team, embrace the chance to work on an interim basis.

Think outside the box when it comes to your transferrable skills

It can be easy to get stuck down a rabbit hole when it comes to exploring how your qualifications set you up for a job. Just because you’ve done a history degree doesn’t mean you must become a historian, a just because you’ve got an A-level in art doesn’t mean you have to become an artist.

Instead, think about what skillsets your qualifications and time in education has given you that could help you succeed in a job. Has your history degree given you brilliant time management skills, with the ability to meet deadlines consistently? Does your art A-level mean that your ability to think creatively is second-to-none?

These traits and skills aren’t limited to one or two sectors, they could work anywhere. So don’t view your education as a barrier, but as an enabler.

Explore the markets that are booming

Of course, we understand that just because the COVID-19 restrictions are lifting, and the country is seemingly on the path to recovery, this doesn’t mean it’s not scary to be scouting out that all-important first role.

Job security is probably at the top of your list of needs, and if so, investigate the sectors that have thrived during the pandemic, such as Engineering, IT, Technology, Data and E-commerce, just to name but are few. These are key areas to look if you’re concerned about job stability.

If you are a graduate looking for advice on how to take your first step on the career ladder, give one of our friendly specialists a call or drop them an email, and they’d be more than happy to help.



Managing Director

I joined Cathedral Appointments in 1998 to cover a maternity leave and never left. I now own the business and love my job. I've a great team of consultants who work with me in ensuring that Cathedral Appointments provide an excellent service to candidates and clients alike.

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Preparing yourself for the world of work as a 'COVID-19 graduate'

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