Dear graduates of 2020
Let's face it, 2020 is not what we expected it to be. For those graduating this summer, the pandemic might add unforseen challenges. All of a sudden internships and job offers are on shaky grounds, and how do you cope with such uncertainties? We spoke to four LUSEM alumni who entered the job market during a previous crisis, and asked what advice they can offer fellow LUSEM students graduating this summer.
You may have to rethink your original plan. But that’s OK. Be open minded and prestigeless. If you can’t follow your dreamplan at the moment, try something totally different!
How did you feel when graduation was approaching?
Malin: Nervous, anxious and eager to finally start working. Friends that had graduated the year before had a really tough time. But when I graduated, it was starting to get a little bit better.
Oscar: Me and my friends were a bit worried about the future but at the same time everyone was also very excited about leaving the student life behind. For me it went quite fast but all of my friends found work in the end, even if it took until autumn for some.
What was the labour market like when you graduated?
Markus: I graduated during the financial crisis, right before the reputed investment banks Lehman Brothers and Bear Sterns went bankrupt. Labour market was shaky but there were still jobs out there that I found interesting.
Malin: It was not super easy to find a job but a lot easier than 2008, 2009. Some of us applied for jobs we were not originally planning to do and some of us continued studying.
Oscar: The labour market was somewhat restricted and it was tougher to find a job. What I learned from that time and also from several other crisis that I have experienced since then, is that every crisis brings a lot of opportunities and that the companies that keeps investing or improving during the crisis are the ones coming out stronger.
Gina: Important to say is that not all sectors are impacted in a negative way in every crisis. During the financial crisis some managed to handle it pretty well, some others where more impacted. As in this crisis, there are sectors growing and others falling out. There are also sectors changing. During my jobs it has been evident that if you are not afraid to get dirt under your nails and do jobs outside comfort zones or according to plan or just make sure you are always developing, you will then later get where you want. Do not sit and wait for the opportunity to find you, go out and find it.
Also, I had the opportunity to see how three different companies reacted during the crisis, is was a bit scary but also hopeful. They all reacted with a sense of hope: “We can do this, and we need to help each other".
Use your network, don't be too restricted in what kind of offer you accept in terms of position and salary. Many times its more important to just get a first job than to wait for your dream one.
How can you benefit from your network in uncertain times?
Malin: To get help, new perspectives and guidance. The importance of a strong network is to always help each other out and be supportive. And not to be afraid to ask for help or favors.
Markus: It opens doors for you in good times as well as in uncertain times.
Gina: They can bring new perspectives, help with CV, give insights on jobs or sectors that you might not had considered before. A strong network is always important but of course not less important during uncertain times. I had classmates recommending me to jobs in 2010 when the labour market was shaky, and I got interviews.
What is your advice for graduates of 2020?
Gina: Be hopeful, focus on your strengths, be wide in your perspectives and be flexible (job, title, geographics, industry etc.). Reach out to people.
Markus: Be patient and don’t give up. Getting back to network – make sure to build one. Even if you do not get your dream job from the very start, make sure to give it your best.
Malin: You may have to rethink your original plan. But that’s OK. Be open minded and prestigeless. If you can’t follow your dreamplan at the moment, try something totally different! Gather experience and when this is over, people will be interested what YOU did to influence your own situation. It will not be that important what you did, but it will be important that you did something.
Oscar: Use your network, don't be too restricted in what kind of offer you accept in terms of position and salary. Many times its more important to just get a first job than to wait for your dream one. Once you have a foot in the job market it's easier to climb and reach your dreams.
Are you happy with your job today?
Gina: I’m very happy. My career path has taken me to places, companies, cultures that I never had expected. And that is what makes it so great, always learning new things, meeting new people and exploring opportunities.
Oscar: I'm very happy at my job today, it challenges me in so many ways on a daily bases. During my working years, I have learned that it's not only academic skills that matters, it´s the willingness to work hard, have an open mind, to continue growing and learning and to not be afraid of new challenges, opportunities, environments or even backlashes.