How’s Job Hunting Going for the Class of 2021? We Checked In with Some Soon-to-be Grads

Wednesday, April 21, 2021
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit last year, it more or less eviscerated the market for entry-level jobs. Thanks to hiring freezes, furloughs, layoffs, and rescinded offers, the national employment rate for 20- to 24-year-olds ballooned to a dismal 25.7 percent last May, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nearly a year later, prospects for 2021 graduates are on the upswing, says a National Association of Colleges and Employers March report: employers project hiring 7.2 percent more college graduates this year than last.

“It’s a much better story now versus this time last year, not only because jobs are coming back, but because companies are more comfortable onboarding and inserting people into remote settings,” says Patrick Nelson, College of Communication director of career services. “The situation is definitely turning around.”

One indication of that? Postings for jobs and internships on Handshake, the University’s online career platform, were 30 percent higher in February of this year than they were in February 2020, notes Denise Mooney, associate vice president for enrollment and student administration.

However, just because the statistics say things are better doesn’t mean they actually are for everyone. As the Class of 2021 prepares to graduate, some will accept their diplomas knowing that a job awaits them, while others are still trawling through the LinkedIn trenches. Some have elected to head to grad school in the fall and others are taking internships after graduation, hoping they lead to full-time positions.

But no matter the postgrad strategy, assures Nelson, “there’s a job out there for everyone.”...

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