How New Graduates Can Make the Most of a Terrible Job Market

A pandemic AND a recession? The Class of 2020 can use all the help they can get, and the president of Denison University is happy to pitch in by sharing job-hunting advice tailor-made for today’s grads.

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There’s no way to sugarcoat it: The seniors leaving campus this spring are graduating into one of the worst job markets (opens in new tab) in recent memory.

With the unemployment rate expected to exceed 20% in the coming months and the U.S. now officially in the grip of a recession, employers are rescinding job offers (opens in new tab), delaying start dates and freezing hiring.

At the same time, COVID-19 is forcing much of the recruitment process to go virtual, upending the career fairs, campus recruitment visits and other services that many students rely on to find their first jobs after graduation.

According to a survey (opens in new tab) conducted in June by the National Association of Colleges & Employers, 9% of employers are revoking offers to recent college graduates and 33% are delaying start dates. And as of the end May the number of internships (opens in new tab) on ZipRecruiter was down 31%.

For graduates, then, the message is simple: Be realistic and be ready. The job market will get better, and you should be prepared for when it does. The question you should ask yourself is this: How do I use the next few months to be ready to take advantage of the job market as it comes back to life? Here are some specific ideas to help put you on the right path.

This article was written by and presents the views of our contributing adviser, not the Kiplinger editorial staff. You can check adviser records with the SEC or with FINRA.

Adam Weinberg, President of Denison University
University President, Denison University

Adam Weinberg is the 20th president of Denison University (opens in new tab). He previously served as president and CEO of World Learning, one of the premier international education, exchange and development organizations, and as vice president and dean of the college at Colgate University, where he was a member of the sociology department for more than a decade.