- 2023 grads are entering a job market that is not so quick to employ new grads.
- This is a shift from the past two years where companies were fiercely competing to recruit interns and recent graduates.
- Although the U.S. isn’t currently in a formal recession, numerous companies have expressed their concern over the potential for a further downturn in the economy.
This month, the graduating class of 2023 will bid farewell to a rather extraordinary college experience — having endured an unforeseen worldwide pandemic, an unexpected switch to remote learning, skyrocketing inflation and housing costs, not to mention cascades of tech sector layoffs.
Now, 2023 grads are bracing themselves as they enter a job market that is not so quick to employ new grads.
Eager grads, wary companies
Although the U.S. isn’t currently in a recession, numerous companies have expressed their concern over a potential downturn in the economy. The effects of such an economic slowdown could have far-reaching impacts on the job prospects and wages of recent graduates.
February of this year saw an unemployment rate of 4.6% for college graduates aged between 20-24 — an alarming doubling of the 2.3% recorded back in December 2021, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Many businesses are adopting a more conservative stance when hiring graduates this year, so a lot of grads are getting creative in their job hunt, being more open to a variety of employers, and being more accepting of potentially later starting dates.
Amazon has decided to delay the start date of some 2023 graduates for up to six months, as it takes a more conservative approach with spending and reduces its employee count.
This caution is a definite shift from the past two years where companies were frequently making offers in the early weeks of the school year, and fiercely competing to recruit interns and grads.
Many of the top-paying and most sought-after large companies, such as Google, Meta, and McKinsey & Co., have now had to lay off thousands of employees in recent months. This is a stark contrast to their prior enthusiastic recruitment efforts for the 2021 and 2022 graduating classes, as well as a disappointing message to new grads.
Graduates gearing up to enter the workforce can prepare themselves
As the class of 2023 faces an uncertain job market, it is essential for new grads to adapt and strategize in order to secure employment.
Here are some tips to help navigate the challenges ahead:
- Network: Building connections with professionals in your desired industry can open doors to opportunities that may not be advertised. Attend networking events, engage on LinkedIn, and join relevant groups or associations. Reach out to other alumni to ask about their career paths and establish a relationship.
- Develop a strong online presence: Showcase your skills and experience through a professional website, blog, or portfolio. Make sure your social media profiles reflect your personal brand and highlight your achievements.
- Upskill: Continuously improve your skills and knowledge by taking online courses, attending workshops, or earning certifications. This will make you more competitive in the job market and demonstrate your commitment to professional growth.
- Tailor your resume and cover letter: Customize your application materials for each job you apply to, highlighting your most relevant skills and experiences. This will show employers that you have taken the time to understand their needs and how you can contribute to their organization.
- Consider internships or temporary work: Gaining practical experience through internships, freelance projects, or temporary positions can help you build your resume and develop valuable skills. It may also lead to a full-time job offer.
- Stay informed about industry trends: Keep up to date with the latest news and developments in your field. This will help you identify emerging opportunities and stay ahead of the competition.
- Be flexible: Be open to exploring different industries, roles, or locations if your preferred job market is particularly challenging. This can provide valuable experience and may lead to unexpected opportunities.
- Practice your interview skills: Prepare for interviews by researching common questions, practicing your answers, and developing a list of questions to ask potential employers. This will help you feel more confident and make a positive impression during interviews.
- Stay persistent: The job search process can be frustrating and time-consuming, but it’s important to stay motivated and keep applying. Remember that rejection is a normal part of the process and can provide valuable learning experiences.
- Seek support: Reach out to your college’s career center, alumni network, or mentors for guidance and advice. They can provide vital insights and resources to help you navigate the job market.