Finding your first job during a pandemic

Graduating and entering the world of work can be a daunting time for many. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, graduating cohorts have faced the added challenge of interrupted studies and entering into a complex employment market.

In response, the University's Careers Network has developed an enhanced programme of support and opportunities for the 2020/2021 cohorts, to support them in achieving their aspirations during these uncertain and challenging circumstances, both now and into the future. This support forms a core part of the University's new employability strategy.

Etta Parkes-Firth, the new Director of Student Employability says: 'My message to recent graduates is that while this wasn't what you may have been expecting to transition into and your first step might not be the one that you thought it would be, we are here as a Careers Network service and through our alumni community to support those decisions and to help you get to where you want to be.

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'Although it might not feel like it when you're working from your bedroom alone, you will have accelerated the development of a huge set of digital skills, resilience, tenacity and ability to work under your own steam. All these skills are critical in the workforce and employers really value them. 

'We've worked closely with alumni, employers, recent graduates, current students, academic and professional staff in developing a new strategy for employability. A core aspect is enhanced support for our recent graduates, with a clear focus on the transition into the workplace or further study. The programme of support for recent graduates includes tailored events, one-to-one career guidance, networking opportunities, mentoring, internships and more.'

How can I help?

You can become a mentor and share your advice and expertise with recent graduates who are entering into a particularly challenging job market. You can also offer valuable internships (virtually or in person) or work placement opportunities.

Support for recent graduate entrepreneurs

In the autumn, the Exchange will open in Birmingham city centre, including a new Student Incubator Hub, made possible by a gift from an alumnus. This space will provide practical support for students and recent graduate start-up businesses. In addition, a new Graduate Start-Up Scholarship will be on offer, a 12-month programme of support aimed at early start-ups.

The Start-Up Scholarship will accelerate student and recent graduates with creative ideas through a programme that combines essential seed funding, alumni expertise, and access to the Student Incubator Hub. For a flavour of the innovative ideas coming from campus, take a look at our growing student and recent graduate business directory. Look out for more details of this in the next edition of Old Joe magazine. 

If you want to find out more about supporting Bright Minds on their entrepreneurial journey at Birmingham, please get in touch.

Useful links for 2020/2021 graduates

Set up a graduate account on Careers Connect to browse graduate jobs and internships, book onto an event or arrange a 1-1 careers appointment

Access our online tool ‘CV Checker’ for instant feedback and practice your interview technique online

Get free access to LinkedIn Learning to access over 13,000 professional courses and enhance your CV or join our dedicated Class of 2020/2021 LinkedIn group

Check our latest online programme of events and activities tailored for graduates to develop skills and enhance their professional network

Follow us on Instagram to keep up to date with the latest events and opportunities

Make sure your details are up to date to receive your monthly tailored newsletter, The Birmingham Graduate

Contact the Careers team with queries or for feedback and review of CVs, applications, personal statements and LinkedIn profiles

Have you attended one of our events or used one of our services? We'd love to hear your thoughts.