Graduating seniors entering the job market during the pandemic have expressed a rising level of fear as to whether they will be able to find a job after graduation, given ongoing unemployment issues and layoffs in many fields.
As companies continue to lay off or furlough employees, students who will likely be hitting the job market as early as January are frightened about the prospect of not securing a job in their field of study or having to invest in more schooling to be qualified for one.
Jacob Blackburn, a senior majoring in sports media marketing, said he has felt a large amount of anxiety about joining the workforce given that teams across most major sports have seen large layoffs because of the pandemic.
"There are tons of anxieties when it comes to finding a job in sports and media marketing. Especially with everything that's going on in the world,” Blackburn said. “I feel like I'm really at a disadvantage. I haven’t gotten to attain any skills or gain any new experiences over the last almost eight months, which would normally give a person an edge over their fellow peers and competitors.”
Blackburn said he thinks the lower capacity for — or altogether absence of — spectators at sporting venues is a reason for the sports industry's decline in employment.
“My major pertains to a form of entertainment that people aren't able to attend, which I feel makes the position that I'm going for scarcer because the teams and organizations really don't need as many employees for that position anymore, given the conditions,” Blackburn said.
Blackburn said he has looked into other states to find a job in his career path, something he didn't plan to do prior to the pandemic.
“Being that Arizona is a relatively small market for sports and media-related venues, as well as their respective market shares, I feel that logistically there will be some struggles,” Blackburn said.
He said he is looking to places like California and Florida where jobs may be more plentiful.
"Given that those states have more going on and more sports teams, which in turn gives more opportunity to people like me given that there are more options and opportunities,” Blackburn said.
Findlay Holbrook, a senior studying communication, said she feels growing anxiety about finding a job.
“My worry is that I will endure more schooling and not be able to find a job as easy as I have anticipated in the past,” Holbrook said. “It's an extremely scary time to be graduating, as I know many other friends and colleagues have been experiencing the same thing.”
Still, some students are hopeful about their job prospects. Dominic Ivan, a senior majoring in biochemistry, said there are many ways to stand out in the application pool, even during the pandemic.
“To me, there’s so many resources available and people don’t use them,” Ivan said.
“For those who are still in school, I feel it is important for them to talk to their professors and try to spend as much time with them as possible,” Ivan said. “For example, I have been doing research for the past two years with one of the professors because I know this experience will help me in the long run.”
Another thing Ivan recommends is to volunteer and do what you can to boost your resume.
“The best thing that people could do is to volunteer,” Ivan said. “I feel like volunteering is super important, especially volunteering in your field of study.”
Advice aside, many students still feel apprehensive about whether their post-graduation careers will actually start with employment.
“It's hard to not worry when you have no clue what the future holds, just how long this will go on and affect the job market overall for years to come,” Holbrook said.