Positive career outlook for class of 2021

Faculty at the Career and Academic Advising office, located in Jones Hall at Youngstown State University, help transition students into the workforce more easily. Photo by Emily McCarthy / The Jambar

By Emily McCarthy

The past year has caused a lot of worry for college students looking to find a job after graduation. Faculty at the Career and Academic Advising office at Youngstown State University help transition students into the workforce more easily and help them immerse themselves into careers relevant to their majors.

Justin Edwards, director of the office of Career and Academic Advising, said there are a variety of ways that YSU helps support students about to graduate.

“Our services empower students to explore diverse occupational fields and academic programs while providing career development and professional preparation opportunities for job [or] internship seekers and alumni,” he said. “These professional preparation opportunities include resume development, mock interviews, job search assistance, LinkedIn [and] ePortfolio support and professional-dress guidance.”

These services include helping students and former students update resumes and pivot career paths even years after graduation. Edwards said post-graduation support is available for all YSU alumni, and professional preparation support is offered by alumni working in the field for many years. 

Though the past year brought notable differences for students looking for jobs post-graduation, Edwards said there is good news for upcoming graduates.

“The job search has become more of a virtual endeavor than pre-COVID. Networking is much more reliant on digital tools like LinkedIn or Handshake. Students should be ready to engage with video chat interviews and practice virtual interview etiquette,” he said. “The National Association of Colleges and Employers reports a 7.2% increase in hiring directly from college graduates in the class of 2021 as compared to the class of 2020. This is good news for upcoming graduates, as employers seem to be more confident in hiring and the current job market trends.”

NACE also has higher salary projections for the class of 2021 who are earning bachelor degrees. Students are predicted to earn an average salary of 7.1% more than the class of 2020 after graduation. 

Christina O’Connell, director of the Center for Career Management at the Williamson College of Business Administration, said her office offers many opportunities to help students better understand and prepare for future careers. 

“Students have the opportunity to schedule one-on-one appointments with our office for assistance in cover letters, resumes, interviewing, creating a job search strategy and networking.  We want to be sure students are fully prepared for the job search and understand how to use multiple resources when searching for jobs,” she said. “We do host a variety of workshops if students choose to attend, and we are invited to attend different student organizations to discuss internship [or] job search strategies.”

O’Connell said there are many jobs available right now, which can be more easily found through Handshake. She said there are many other opportunities as well, but the most important thing for students to remember is the value of networking and making connections.