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Advice for 2020 Graduates from Current Professionals

Class of 2020 – you made it! Congratulations! You spent the last four years studying, interning, and participating in extra-curricular activities to obtain your degree so that you could land a great job to launch your career. Now you have your hard-earned degree, but the global pandemic might have put a wrench in securing a job. While this may leave you feeling lost and disappointed, we want to reassure you that brighter days are on the horizon. We’re here to help!

We tapped into our network of emerging and seasoned professionals to provide you with some real-world advice that can help you thrive during these turbulent times:


  1. Start developing a professional network—NOW:

“Tap into your parent’s networks, family friends, professors, anyone you may have worked with during a previous internship or through a volunteer opportunity. Look through your school’s alumni groups on LinkedIn and reach out to anyone who’s working at a company or in a role that seems interesting. Not everyone will respond, but even if you get a response from 1 out of 5, that’s a start! And don’t forget - every friend you made in school is part of your network! Always keep your friends posted on what you’re looking for, they may be some of your strongest ties down the road and probably know people with similar career paths who they could connect you with.” – Ilana Moreno, Brllnt


  1. Use the extra down time to be productive:

While you might be patiently awaiting your time to join the workforce, you can put your time spent unemployed to good use.  There are plenty of opportunities to take advantage of right now. “Think about volunteering your time, taking on a temporary job, and networking. It may lead you to a new opportunity.” – Kara Kusunoki, Read To Me International Foundation


  1. Practice your (virtual) interview skills:

With most companies still operating remotely, there’s a good chance that, when the time comes, you’ll be interviewed via phone call or video conference. Now is the best time to start preparing for a virtual interview. “Have a bit more energy than you would in person. Video and phones cool people down. You want to convey enthusiasm on your call.” –  George Williams, DC Public Library


  1. Get creative when it comes to looking for jobs:

Graduating into an uncertain job market might mean broadening your initial job search. Look at this as a chance to try a job, field, or industry you never considered before! “Network, apply for everything – even things outside of your preferred occupations or settings.” – Arlington County Government (DHS Staff Member)


  1. Your first job isn’t your last job:

“You may not get your dream job on your first go-around. That is okay. Your first job is about getting experience in the workplace. So many skills—critical thinking, communication, customer service, teamwork, etc. are transferable. Learn as much as you can and always be tracking your success stories, building your network, and looking for opportunities to break into your dream field. Remember—career success is a marathon, not a sprint! –Mary Abbajay, President of Careerstone Group


Although you won’t be entering this next stage of your life in a world you (or anyone) expected, there are plenty of ways to set yourself up for success. Keep your head up because this will end, you will get a job, and you will come out on the other side even stronger!


And, if you need a little extra help, Careerstone will be launching a 6-part webinar series to help you build your professional skills and polish up your résumé and interview acumen.  Each week, we’ll explore the career management process with tips, tools, and strategies you can implement immediately.  We’ll be joined by recruiters, HR specialists, and career coaches who will equip you with the most current and relevant information you need to highlight your job candidacy and build your network.

Learn more here!


Here are some resources that can help:


















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