At the beginning of 2020, the economy was at a historic high. Revenues were up everywhere from car sales to telecommunication development. College students planning to graduate and enter the workforce were darlings of the economy. Graduates had their pick of options, with companies tripping over each other to entice the next great minds entering the workforce.
Then, our glowing economy stumbled and quickly came to a halt as the global pandemic spread in epic proportions. Students set up with internships were forced to hit the reset button due to countless cancellations. The Auto Industry suffered not only in the sphere of production but also in the realm of demand. Unemployment has skyrocketed to 14%, the worst it’s been in decades. Graduating seniors are now faced with looking for a job in what could be the most difficult economy that they’ve ever been exposed to.
The “New Normal”
But it’s not all doom-n-gloom, in fact, if we adapt and make the most of the current circumstances, we may evolve. We’re all facing the constant phrase repeated over and over, the “new normal,” acknowledging that what we all once knew is changing before our very eyes. Business is being conducted in a virtual format, forcing us to be more deliberate when communicating, and forcing us to structure our conversations in more effective and efficient manners. Two-way discussions in a virtual setting aren’t as social as we once experienced, prompting us to develop new skills when communicating through a screen. The way companies are adapting to new policies and procedures, as well as the way people are shifting to work-from-home formats, demonstrates a massive transformation in our daily commerce.
Think Differently and Keep a Positive Outlook
When people are forced into new circumstances, they must adapt – and it is inevitable that their adaptation becomes the new standard of normal, but it’s important to keep a positive outlook. I read an article that told of a graduating senior who applied to over one hundred jobs. As a sales leader, my mind tells me how inefficient this is; applying to so many different jobs casts such a wide net. This makes it nearly impossible to drill down and understand (much less, truly remember) each of those opportunities one has applied for. Instead, it is crucial to maintain authentic passion for what one wants to do, as well as understand and align oneself with what it is that the company stands for before you apply.
If you are on LinkedIn hoping for a response from someone, messaging a prospective employer once may not be sufficient. Instead, one may need to message them three or more times to garner a response. This process of job-searching in the ‘new normal’ could correlate to how salespeople are learning to be effective in an environment that doesn’t allow in-person contact. Sales reps are having to practice their skills in front of a computer screen through platforms such as Zoom, Teams, WebEx, etc.
Persistent, Resourceful and Resilient
I don’t believe in “pushy,” but I do believe in “professionally persistent.” I believe that a graduate from college, or a salesperson, can be passionate about supplying the proper solution. That person will convey their interest and value to the company when they are professionally persistent.
At Pegasus Logistics Group, we use the phrase “Relentlessly Resourceful”. We look for candidates who demonstrate this when they are faced with challenges and setbacks. Resiliency is going to be a desired trait in companies now more than ever. We are all faced with challenges during this time, but how we respond to these setbacks defines us all. Faced with adversity, we must find new and innovative ways to overcome these challenges. While most companies have made the decision to delay or cancel their intern programs, we find it more critical than ever to continue our internship offerings despite the pandemic. Aside from increasing the marketability of graduates, internships are vital to helping gain perspective and knowledge of the workplace. These experiences can help students interact with new colleagues and management teams in an environment they otherwise would not see until they enter the workforce.
Whether it is your current role in your company or your prospective role in your first career out of school, it is essential to maintain a positive attitude, be persistent, be resourceful, and be resilient. You’ll benefit the company as a whole, as well as those around you.
We all need it now more than ever.