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Jobs for College Students: How to Find Work in 2021

After a year full of turmoil, the job market in 2021 remains as questionable as ever. College students entering the arena face more hurdles than the majority of their peers from recent decades.

While it may be a bit tricky to land a decent job, there are several best practices and tips you can implement to help you in your search. Here are five ways you can find work in 2021 as a college student.


1. Start Your Search Early

Your job hunt should start before you’re ready to get hired. Historically, companies hire more at the start of the new year and engage heavily with candidates in the fall. They noticeably slow down in the summer and around the holidays. However, that could be completely different this year.

Throughout the remainder of the semester, keep an eye on trends and predictions. The more you know about your desired job market, the better. Sign up for newsletters or get in the habit of routinely checking news and industry sites that monitor business and hiring trends.

For companies that you’re interested in possibly seeking employment with this year, follow them on networking sites. Watch the job boards to see who is posting what, where it is, and what exactly they are looking for in candidates.

Waiting until the last minute is never a good idea when it comes to job hunting, but doing so in 2021 could be quite costly.


2. Focus Your Search on the Right Industries

Depending on the company size and specific industry, hiring trends this year are going to vary drastically. There’s simply no avoiding it. While the hospitality industry and smaller businesses that were hit hard by the pandemic may hold off hiring until summer or even fall, industries like tech and healthcare could begin hiring toward the beginning of the year. Other industries that are predicted to hire more than others are:

Putting your time and energy toward finding gainful employment in a field that is not only right for your skills, but is currently hiring is likely going to be extremely important for the foreseeable future. Stay focused and find job hunting inspiration where you can, including inspiration from your peers already working in your industry of choice. This way, you will be several steps ahead.


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3. Consider The Job Market Before Picking a New Home

Many college students will have their living location decided due to a great internship opportunity, but there is a massive mistake that others should strive to avoid at all costs: basing their decision to live in a particular city close to friends and family or simply because they “want” to live there. Before spending money on a new residence or hiring movers to transport all your stuff there, you need to do a little research.

While it should be a given to check the local job market, you also need to determine the cost of living for the area. What may seem like a decent living wage could be quickly discounted by higher-than-average living costs. Additionally, you should look into what other companies are nearby. You may not be searching for another position soon, but there is a good chance that you will be in the future.

We’d all prefer to be as close to our loved ones as possible, but your newly acquired skills, desired career, and local economy may mean that you’d be much better off somewhere else.


4. Be a Chameleon

If you find that your desired industry is expected to grow in 2021, you need to focus on appearing as a strong candidate. This may require you to reevaluate your resume, expand your network or begin building one, take on an internship, or enhance your skills.

If you attended college in the hopes of gaining employment in travel, transportation, hospitality, retail, or other industries greatly affected by COVID and the subsequent economy, you may need to pivot to a different prospect. Research whether your skills have relatable positions in virtual customer support, e-commerce, or tele-support as a possibility. Determine which of your skills will be the most transferable and research ways to sharpen them further.

Those that are ready to adapt and work a little harder to tweak their skillset are likely going to stand above the rest, which is what you want in 2021.


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5. Take Advantage of Available Tools

To find the right job today, you need to stand out. With unemployment rates still questionable, there’s a good chance that there are going to be numerous people applying for the same position you are. With that in mind, you should use every tool at your disposal.

If you haven’t been working on building a network, now is definitely the time. Start with your instructors, classmates, family, and friends. Then, expand your contacts from there. Who is in their network that could possibly be an asset?

Use networking sites to not only highlight your education, experience, and skills, but to search for possible contacts, open positions, and the skills that your target companies desire. When you’re ready to start your job hunt, there are many valuable tools and resources available for the type of job you’re looking for.


Job hunting in 2021 is going to be different than in previous years, but if you go in with the right knowledge and legwork behind you, you can have an advantage over other applicants. Even if your chosen industry has been hit hard and may not be hiring for a while, it doesn’t mean that you are out of luck. You may just have to pivot to an industry or even a profession that you have not considered yet.


About the Guest Author

Matt Casadona has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a concentration in Marketing and a minor in Psychology. He is currently a contributing editor for 365 Business Tips. Matt is passionate about marketing and business strategy and enjoys the San Diego life, traveling, and music.

By Matt Casadona, Guest Author | March 01, 2021
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