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From Student To Candidate During A Pandemic

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Aisling Harrison Blog, Tips, Recruitment...

The extremity of the trauma inflicted by this pandemic has impacted every person across the world differently, from the patients to the frontline, but university students will be among the most anxious.

As we approach the middle of Spring and 2020, normally university students would be preparing for essay deadlines and exams before they return home for the summer or, for final year students, the end of university and the beginning of their working lives.


While university students will still be facing these standard academic challenges, this year they have the added complications of carrying out the final assessments without even being allowed to set foot on campus.

Their learning has been disrupted and, for many, they’ve been forced to leave behind the lives they’ve spent the last three years building. An era has ended so much sooner than it should have.


In a few months, there will be near a million graduates in the UK transitioning from being a student to a candidate in the UK job market. This is always a daunting time, even for those who have already secured interviews, summer internships or jobs.

There probably has never been a more unnerving time to make this transition, with the UK workforce currently in such a delicate and uncertain position.

Nevertheless, while most 20-something, university graduates will lack certain exposure to the working world, in actual fact, they will find themselves with many newly-considered desirable skills and job prospects that will place them firmly and promisingly in the job market post-pandemic.


Most 2020 graduates will have grown up in the Digital Age, and this instantly increases their job prospects, as technology is the reason why so many businesses have continued to operate during lockdown.

Cloud-based applications and video communication platforms have never been so pertinent to even “non-techy” companies as they have enabled business continuity. Staff can work remotely, more collaboratively and more flexibly, increasing productivity and, eventually, profitability. These developments will certainly make permanent changes to how businesses operate post-pandemic.

Students are already well-practiced with digital and communication devices, but having to complete a degree remotely, will only enhance these skills.  Graduates who can use these tools seamlessly will be in a much better position than applicants without this technical competency.


The concept of a “personal brand” may sound utterly ridiculous to anyone without a career aspiration to be a reality star, but it’s a genuine practice that increases job prospects.

Candidates develop a personal brand to maximise their exposure to potential employers, typically using social media and online platforms to showcase their portfolios. The concept is to advocate your professionalism, knowledge, skills and achievements to catch the attention of social recruiters and employers.

91% of employers use social recruiting to hire talent, and students are very well capable of making themselves seen.


Any graduate entering the job market this year has something unique to every other competitor … they’ve attained a degree during lockdown. Despite the emotional struggles and learning barriers, they have persevered and this will make graduate applicants stand out to a potential employer for all the right reasons.

2020 graduates will have proven digital, communication and adaptability skills which will be essential for jobs across almost every industry.  

Sticking to deadlines with limited resources, maintaining regular contact with tutors from a distance and adjusting your study schedule in an impractical environment.

Recruiters need to know this!


A degree has never been a rite of passage into a dream job, and it won’t be post-pandemic.

The responsibility is on the applicant to use all their skills and knowledge to present themselves as the best applicant for any desired role.

Every graduates’ experience entering the job market is different. Some are luckier than others. Some end up living in places they’d never heard of. Some end up in jobs they’d never heard of. The most important thing is you enjoy the work you do, and if you don’t, ensure it is just a stop-gap on the way to bigger and better things.

This pandemic may be increasing anxiety about this significant stage in life, but graduates have the skills advantage in this crisis to succeed despite the adversity.


Here are some of our articles that will help job seekers during this time: