Students scared, nervous about finding a job post-graduation

by | May 25, 2021 | Life

The pressure to find a job after graduation is making some post-secondary students anxious and distressed.

In April, the total unemployment rate for students was 13.1 per cent. The rate was down 16.1 per cent from 29.2 per cent in April 2020.

But breaking down labour force characteristics changes how unemployment numbers appear.

The total employment rate in April for all education levels was 60.5 per cent. People with some form of university credentials made up a large portion of the labour market at 74.2 per cent. Meanwhile, individuals who only had a postsecondary certificate or diploma had an overall employment rate of 64.4 per cent.

Although the numbers are encouraging in terms of job search and recruitment, experiences vary for many post-secondary students.

Leah Maharaj, a graduate of Sheridan College’s Paralegal program, was confident in finding a job after her licensing exam.

“I did my co-op and I felt, at that point in time, I was going to get [a job],” she said. “Now the world is a little bit different than my expectations.”

Maharaj thought big and applied to positions that were above the assistant level. She rarely got any call-backs because of a lack of experience.

Now she is actively looking at the job market and notices many changes in legal job postings.

“There are less positions because a lot of law offices are doing things online,” she said.

Maharaj once found job opportunities for minor administrative office duties but are now becoming scarce.

“You would be the photocopy girl for six months, and now that job doesn’t exist,” she said.

Maharaj said the job market has become very competitive.

“There are two times as many people trying to get that low-level position,” she said. “It’s just difficult at the moment.”

The fear and worry of finding a job impacts future graduating students too.

Sujata Bhusal is a third-year student at the University of Toronto Mississauga double majoring in biology and psychology. Although her graduation is a year away, she is already nervous about finding a job.

“I’m very much terrified to graduate as I feel like I won’t be able to find any jobs in my field,” she said.

Bhusal is anxious her bachelor’s degree won’t suffice in finding a proper job in the science field.

“To obtain a job in my field is nearly impossible until I receive a master’s degree,” she said.

When it does come down to it, Bhusal said she would consider a job that is not entirely aligned with her degree.

“I’ve come to the realization that experience is equally important as a degree, if not more,” she said. “So, if there comes a situation where I have to settle for a job to gain experience, I would definitely do it.”

It may not be the experience factor that inhibits students from getting to the interview stage, it might actually be the application process.

Claudia Kielb, a Talent Acquisition Consultant at Innomar Strategies, goes through hundreds of job applications a day and points out a few common mistakes people make.

“There are things that may sabotage your chance at an interview,” she said.

Kielb said common mistakes include not tailoring your resume to the specific company and not listing your achievements or job tasks when providing the experience.

“Recruiters will scan your resume for a few seconds,” she said. “So, you need to make sure the most relevant background is listed first.”

Kielb suggests that a new grad with minimal experience should list education credentials and any internships or volunteer positions first.

Below is a Piktochart that lists more suggestions both students and those looking for a job can consider when applying.