Finishing college and finding a job during the COVID-19 pandemic

Jessica talks about being proactive and getting creative when trying to find a job in these uncertain times

Written by Jessica Feaheny


For many of us due to finish our college degrees this year, COVID-19 cut our plans short. As regular exams are changed to continuous assessment pieces and online exams, we are faced with the reality that the working landscape is changed immeasurably by the current situation. While there will undoubtedly be a period of financial recovery in the country, I think it’s important not to underestimate the potential that you have to get the career you want.

Things will go back to normal

Yes, it may take a little bit longer to secure the job of your dreams, but remember that you are now qualified. Despite being cheated out of the end of your college experience, you are now qualified. When life returns to normal, or the new version of normality, there will still be a need for your skills and expertise. Schools will return and they will once again need teachers, courts will resume and barristers and solicitors will be needed, technology development will continue and veterinary clinics will reopen to care for animals.

Be proactive and creative

Finishing college now means that we are entering into an unknown world, in terms of employment, but nothing was ever a guarantee. So start doing your research. Find out what companies or workplaces were advertising positions for people with your qualifications before the lockdown. Get in contact with those workplaces and tell them that when they resume, you are the answer to their staff shortage, you are the person that they need for that job. You have the same opportunity to convince them of your worth as you did before.

The worst case scenario is that there is not a position available in your area directly after the restrictions are lifted. If this is the case, don’t be afraid to broaden your horizons beyond your area of expertise or even the country. There are shortages of qualified people all over the world, as far as Dubai and Australia or as close as the United Kingdom.

I am a newly qualified teacher and there is no end to the uncertainty about contracts and securing schools for completing the teaching requirement hours. Despite this there are some opportunities on offer for teachers in Ireland. As I wanted to secure a job for September, in advance of the Summer, I started looking into teaching in the UK. There are countless schools in need of teachers less than two hours flight from Dublin. With the help of Engage Education Ireland, I secured a permanent position in an outstanding school. Despite the COVID-19 restrictions and despite the uncertainty, you can still apply and secure a job. You just have to get creative, maybe by using online recruitment companies.

Using the internet to your advantage

The internet, at this time, is the most important recruitment tool that we have. While we may not be able to physically attend interviews or complete job trials on site, we can use online applications. We can find a recruitment agency that works for us and we can attend interviews all over the world from the comfort of our sitting rooms.

There is no denying the challenges that lay ahead of us. We will always be the graduating class of 2020, the class that entered the working world during an incredibly financially uncertain time in history. But we are also the class of 2020 who graduate in spite of the upheaval. We prove our worth despite the barriers and we will find our place in the world of work, wherever that may be.

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