Experts say labor market is strong for recent college graduates

Employers are looking for students who can adapt to different situations
Published: May. 15, 2023 at 10:14 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The COVID-19 pandemic impacted us in a lot of ways through a wave of obstacles but it may have created a light of hope for recent college graduates.

Experts say the pandemic created graduates who are adaptable to change and can work under any circumstance. They say getting a job after college may be easier than ever as technology skills are heightened and some fields are desperate for employees.

“It’s slowly been improving over time with COVID,” said Northern Illinois University Career Services director Brian Pillsbury.

The job search can especially be difficult for recent college graduates but college experts say the labor market is strong.

“I think our students are getting jobs faster than before because they are actively looking and they know they need to be prepared as soon as they graduate,” said Rockford University Career Development director Chelsea Minor.

Minor says their fall and spring semester career fairs were full of eager employers looking for adaptable students.

“They’ve been hybrid, and remote, so they know how to really stay competitive when they’re applying to positions,” Minor said.

Rockford University Enrollment Management associate vice president Todd Fischer-Free says the university increased the number of online classes available.

“The university is kind of keeping up with the world and how its changed and its expectations,” Fischer-Free said.

One 2023 Northern Illinois Early Childhood Education graduate Sarah Biernat says it was easy for her to find a job because of the teacher shortage.

“Even when I was employed in college at different daycares, I would check my email and I would have two-three different local childcare centers emailing me each week just seeing if I had availability to work with them,” Biernat said.

For 2023 Northern Illinois Political Science and Journalism graduate Honor Morgan, she applied for 77 jobs before landing a job for the Environmental Protection Agency earlier this month.

“Federal jobs they have requirements like if you served time in the military or if you already had a federal job or if your family is in federal positions, they automatically all of those applicants get put above me,” Morgan said.

Morgan says to never give up and stay hopeful during a job search because even if someone has to apply to dozens of jobs, they may land one they’re not expecting.

To current college students, Morgan recommends everyone to be involved on campus. She says her extracurricular activities helped her get the EPA job since they helped waive the job experience needed.