Six months ago, the graduating class of 2020 was just like any other: hopeful, nervous, but mostly excited about the prospect of graduating and entering the job market. However, as the global pandemic continues and the country remains shut down, one question hangs over their heads: how will these graduates find jobs?

The graduating class of 2020 undoubtedly has had it rough. Not only were their final months of college cut short and in-person graduation ceremonies cancelled, but now they also have to deal with the impending job search in a country where currently many are without work and even more are struggling to make ends meet.

Brent Oreel from USA Today reports, “To call this employment market unfriendly to new college graduates feels inadequate. Social distancing requirements and “shelter-in-place” rules mean that large parts of the economy are in lockdown, resulting in nearly 17 million new unemployment filings in three weeks.”

Oreel later says that the best advice he can give to seniors is to “be flexible” and “be creative in their use of online job searching tools.” He recommends using LinkedIn as well as university alumni services to try and broaden connections.

Robert Guell, a current economics professor at Indiana State University, gave advice to the upcoming graduates as they prepare to navigate this challenging next step in their lives.

“Given that no one will be hiring or even interviewing until this has settled down, the best advice I can give is don’t waste this downtime,“ Guell said. “Finish your semester strong and figure out the best thing you can do within a 3-month timeframe to put yourself in the best possible position. That could be intensively learning a language, a particular piece of software (important to your future job), or simply writing”.

This is important, particularly because so many summer jobs and internships are on hold during the pandemic. As the school year comes to an end, many emphasize that gaining new qualifications and experience is important and Guell agrees.

“You need to be able to answer the question ‘what were you doing during this unexpected pause?’ If your answer is ‘I hung out in my parents’ basement with my Xbox’ that will reflect quite poorly,” Guell said. “If your answer is ‘I decided to do something productive. I set my alarm every day for 6:30 am just like I would if I had a job and I worked at that all day…just like it was my job. Of course, I sent out applications and made sure there wasn’t a detail missing or wrong on my resume, but mostly I fill in the blank.’ The fill in the blank is anything that would cause an employer to think you worked hard at being a better future employee.”