The impact that the coronavirus has left on the world is an unimaginable reality. It’s affected what were once thriving businesses and left many looking for jobs — including the Class of 2020 — who may have lost a job before they even had it.
This class of college graduates was dealt an unfortunate hand and many of them are stuck celebrating their last few years of hard work and late nights with their own personal, yet incredibly saddening, “woo!” (some even mimicking their graduation through a computer screen).
So how can business executives prepare for this class of individuals who will one day work alongside them and their team?
Take a moment to recognize
Every graduate looks forward to wearing their cap and gown and walking across the stage in front of their friends and family, soaking in all the congratulatory cheers and hip hip hoorays, shaking their professors’ hands and finally taking hold of their long-sought-after degree. A moment that was meant to be one of the greatest of their lives is now surrounded by gloom and uncertainty.
Recognize and understand that all of this was whisked away from them suddenly and without remorse. They worked, studied, shed tears and pulled several all-nighters for about four years (depending on the degree) acquiring the knowledge and skills they knew would bring value to your company. However, within a matter of a few days, these students were told they would never get the opportunity to show off their accomplishments or wear the ropes and stoles that display their involvement in several campus organizations and honor societies in all their glory.
It’s also important to acknowledge that they never got to say a true goodbye. Many soon-to-be graduates left their college campuses for spring break trips unaware that they would never return to the university as they once knew it as a student. They are stuck telling their professors and advisors goodbye via email, their friends and roommates a farewell with a Zoom call and their classmates a “see you when I see you” text message.
Get up and take action
How can you support these college graduates with more than a simple “good luck!” message?
1. Offer them advice
Advise any graduates you know to ask past professors or bosses to endorse their skills on LinkedIn. This will help their online profile grow so they can truly put their best foot forward when job applications become a commodity again.
2. Ask if you can edit their resume
Making sure these students have a clean, easy-to-read and top-notch resume will not only help build their confidence, but also make them appear just as good on paper as they do in-person (when the day comes).
Pro tip: Keep their resume with you in case you come across a friend, colleague or business partner who is looking to hire someone. This will put you in a great place to help two parties! Make sure to keep a digital copy too so it’s easy to send.
3. Connect with them on LinkedIn
Even though you may not be able to hire these graduates right away, a great way to keep in touch with them is by connecting with them on LinkedIn. This is a great opportunity to help prepare you for the future when job applications for either your own company or one you come across that you think they’d be a good fit for.