Finding Your First “Real” Job in 2020

Finding Your First “Real” Job in 2020

The first half of 2020 has proven to be remarkably eventful. A global pandemic has gripped virtually every person in almost every country around the world. Social justice movements are accelerating in attempts to bring greater equity to marginalized communities. News cycles have increased in speed, presenting to us our changing world, minute-by-minute. In this current reality, even the most established professionals are navigating uncertainty and change. Recent graduates are certainly not immune to these changes. So, how can you go about finding your first “real” job in 2020?

We say “real” job because there is often a misperception that many professionals do not enter the workforce until after graduation. This is simply not the case. Although throughout academia, you may not have held a formal paid position, your experience through co-curricular activities and even through coursework can provide valuable skills in the workplace that should not be discounted (think teamwork, problem-solving, or multi-tasking).

Below we have provided several steps that will help you reflect on your past experience and identify your strengths.

Step One: Reflection

The first step in finding a job post-graduation is reflection. The good news is that you have likely already taken this step without knowing. Reflection involves looking back at your recent accomplishment: your degree. Whether you’ve completed your bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degree, you’ve reached a remarkable milestone. Congratulations! Now that you have likely celebrated this accomplishment, it is time to reflect back.

What are you good at? It may be the technical ins-and-outs of your degree. For example, perhaps you are really skilled in software coding. What do you enjoy? Perhaps you enjoy solving problems or using your creativity. Most importantly, where is your passion? Particularly in 2020, our passion is what drives us. What issues matter most to you? Don’t be afraid to think big.

Step Two: Action

The next step is to channel these three areas - your skills, your interests, and your passion - into your job search. Find out who is hiring right now. Do preliminary research to find out what others are saying about a specific organization. The organization’s website is a great start, as it will tell you more about the company’s mission and values. Glassdoor is another great resource that lets past and present employees share their insights on the organization. Particularly in a time when workplaces are being held accountable for their contributions to global justice, this research will help you align your skills, interests, and passion to the current job market.

Step Three: Connect

Once you’ve identified an organization and job posting that suits you, leverage LinkedIn. Watch our Leveraging LinkedIn webinar recording, which will help you learn how to navigate your job search during the current pandemic. Find out who in your network may be working in this organization and reach out via message. alumni UBC has a specific LinkedIn group to get your started. You may wish to schedule a time to chat over a phone or video-call.

In your message, reach out with intention. Offer anything you can do to help them in their career journey. If someone has offered their help, be sure to follow through with a thank-you message.

By reflecting on your skills, interest, and passion from your degree, you will be better prepared to identify the organizations and job postings that best align with who you are. Remember to always engage with your networks by staying active online, or checking in with former colleagues or classmates. You may not find what you want overnight, however through reflection, research, and connectivity, you will find yourself on the track to success in finding your dream job and career.

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