Job-hunting during an economic downturn as a new graduate — Motivation from recruiters, career coaches, and recession college graduates

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If you’re looking for job-hunting advice and motivation that are specific to the state of the job market right now, you’ve come to the right place. This blog post is a round-up of motivation from recruiters, career coaches, and 2008 recession college graduates.

I reached out to people in my network that I felt could help college juniors, seniors, and new graduates with some job-hunting tips:

  • Recruiters: Companies are still hiring and they can give you insight into what they are looking for right now.
  • Career coaches: While recruiters can tell you what they are looking for right now, career coaches can help you look at your bigger picture.
  • College graduates during the 2008 recession: These college graduates know exactly what it’s like to be a job-hunting fresh-out-of-college graduate during a time when companies were cutting down on expenses.

I asked each of them two questions that summed up what everyone was asking me:

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  • Is there something you think that college graduates should be focused on to be the most efficient in their job hunt?
  • Do you have any advice for college seniors who are feeling scared about job hunting at a time when companies are trying to cut down on their spending? 

This blog post has responses to the second question. And you can find responses to the first question here.

Do you have any advice for college seniors who are feeling scared about job hunting at a time when companies are trying to cut down on their spending? 

Daniel – Recruiter

It is 100% okay to be scared but don’t let fear dominate you. Positivity is a catalyst for success and you must remain optimistic even in the toughest of times. We are living through an unprecedented time that has directly affected the job market and while securing a position after graduation may be more difficult it isn’t by any means impossible. You will have to:

  • make more LinkedIn connections
  • continuously improve your resume
  • job search like you never have before (treat your job search like a full-time job)
  • And don’t let rejection deter you from the amazing professional you’re going to become.

About Daniel:

Daniel has been connecting people with opportunities that excite them for over two years and absolutely loves what he does. He believes the key to success as a recruiter has been to truly understand what clients and candidates are seeking through listening, understanding and putting himself in their shoes. Finding the right person for the job is equally as important as finding the right job for a person.

Abby – Career Coach

The first and more obvious piece of advice is this: try not to get too discouraged.

This is a difficult and emotionally draining process even when you’re not dealing with a competitive job market and/or an economic recession. Be nice to yourself, don’t take rejection too personally, and remember that each time you hear “no”, you become open to another opportunity. 

Second: think creatively about ways you can be adding value (beyond the job description) to potential employers, and communicate those ideas to hiring managers.

Because most organizations are likely thinking about areas where costs can be cut, brainstorm ways that you can perform cross-functional duties, and complete tasks that would otherwise be neglected.

  • For example: say you’re applying to a digital marketing role at a smaller organization and you really, really want to get the gig. Try reaching out via LinkedIn or email to schedule an informational interview, and let your point of contact know that you’re more than willing to assist with administrative duties or to take over initiatives that they may have had to pause due to lack of funding. It absolutely never hurts to ask how you can be helpful in supporting their growth during an uncertain time. 

I wish I could say that there are definitive ways to expedite this process, but it usually just takes time plus trial and error. Hang in there, and remember you’ve got this!

About Abby:

Abby Thompson is a Career Coach based in Los Angeles, California. She spent the last few years partnering with business leaders to market their companies and empower their people in agency, education, technology, nonprofit, and startup settings. As a coach, she works with young professionals across industries to chart meaningful career paths and pursue/land their dream jobs. Follow Abby on social media (LinkedIn | Twitter) and check out her website for more information.

Andrea – Career Coach & new graduate during the 2008 recession

1. Be patient. A job search can take weeks under usual circumstances. Use this time to practice the 4 skills mentioned in this blog post. I promise, it will not be wasted time and you’ll be so glad you did!

2. Allow yourself to let go of what success should be. Create your own definition. Let yourself explore and be curious! We are so often socialized to believe that there is only one path to success. This is an opportunity to redefine what career success can look like. We set down a path and get so focused on the outcome that we can miss other ways to get there. Part of my mission with my company is to socialize the practice of exploration rather than expectation

What are your gifts, talents, and experiences that you haven’t had a chance to lean into? What value does that add to the company and the role?

Food for thought:

  • You may have to take a job that isn’t your dream job. Pay attention to what that job can offer for your future once the market stabilizes and you can pivot.
  • I took what very much felt like a significant detour but ultimately landed in my dream job. I’m proof that exploration can pay off in a big way!

About Andrea:

Andrea Yacub Macek is the Founder of AYM Consulting, a career coaching company. Andrea helps ambitious women define success in their own way & translate their achievements into a career they love. With over 10 years of work experience, Andrea has a dynamic background in career development, human resources, healthcare operations, and project management. Andrea holds a Master’s in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Middle Tennessee State University and a Bachelor’s in Psychology from The University of Florida. Andrea is certified in project management through the PMI Institute.

You can find Andrea on Instagram and LinkedIn.

Adrienne – new graduate during the 2008 recession

I think in general whether it’s an economic downturn or not everyone should be prepared to find their next career.

  1. Always have an up-to-date resume ready to go.
  2. Keep networking
  3. Always keep your eyes and ears open to new opportunities.

I would also say that everyone has to start somewhere so even if your first job isn’t a dream job you will learn valuable skills in any position that will teach you life lessons and help you in the next position you go after.

Don’t be afraid to try new things and try to stay as positive as possible. Another thing I learned was if you get a lot of rejections, always ask why so you can alter your approach for the next time and grow your interviewing skills.

You can read more about Adrienne’s job-hunting story here.

What now?

I know that the job market can feel especially competitive right now. But I hope after reading this, you feel motivated. And I also hope that this blog post encourages you to go on more informational interviews so you can find out more about what you can do to make your job applications stand out.

In the meantime, here are a few other resources:

Want to start a career in marketing, but don't know how to get there?

Get the exact steps you need to take with the FREE Career Roadmap.

Want to start a career in marketing, but don't know how to get there?

Get the exact steps you need to take with the FREE Career Roadmap.