This should be very exciting time for college graduates as they move on to the next stage of their lives and begin their careers.

But the college grads of 2020 are looking for work in a shrinking job market and finding the jobs or internships they had secured are on hold or have gone away.

Those who help students find work say this is still not the time to give up.

What You Need To Know

  • Many recent graduates across the country are looking for jobs in a market with record unemployment and limited opportunities

  • COVID-19 has made finding jobs or internships difficult for some, with certain jobs disappearing and others no longer hiring

  • The University of Rochester is still committed to helping students find jobs

  • UR is doing direct outreach to ask students what their job needs are and connect them with hiring companies

Victoria Bongard just graduated from the University of Rochester with a bachelor's degree.

The creative film and digital media studies major was now, like hundreds of thousands of other recent grads across the country, hunting for a job in a market with record unemployment and limited opportunities.

“I got an interview, which was really exciting. And then the interview rolls around the hiring manager said, ‘We're going to conduct this interview, because it was already scheduled, but we have a hiring freeze,’" said Bongard.

And also like her fellow graduates, Bongard was worried about the college loans she still had to pay back.

"I sat there looking at the number and how much I'd be paying per month and thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, how am I gonna afford this? I don't have a job.’ And that was very, very stressful."

Joe Testani is the UR's Vice Provost for Career Education Initiatives. He helps connect students like Bongard with employers. He says before COVID, the economy was great. And then, when the pandemic hit, things just stopped.

He says the university’s connections with students however, continued.

"We're actually doing direct outreach to our students individually to ask them what their needs are, ask them what kind of industries they're going into so that we can connect them directly to alumni or employers that are actually actively still recruiting, because there are companies that are recruiting," Testani explained. "The second thing we're talking to students about is how do they adapt and pivot."

“The most important thing is continuing to talk to people and connect to our network of alumni and friends of the institution, " Testani added. "I think they have insight on how this might be impacting different industry sectors, as well as those opportunities that might percolate down the road."

Bongard is now living in Boston, working for a marketing firm out of Washington D.C. that has made her job totally virtual.

As she works her way to a dream job as a creative director, she feels lucky that - despite the economic challenges right now - she was able to have taken this first step in her career.

"I feel blessed that I was able to find something. It's not exactly what I wanted to do, but it's really close."