June 23, 2020, by Liz Cass

This wasn’t how it was supposed to be. An open letter to the Class of 2020

As Universities UK calls on the Government to offer greater support to the class of 2020 who will be graduating into a challenging employment market Dr Nalayini Thambar, Director of Careers and Employability at the University of Nottingham shares her advice for finalists.

This wasn’t how it was supposed to be. You were weeks away from graduating, embarking on internships, your first job, ready to make your mark on the world and then this happened.

Nobody could have predicted a pandemic might derail your plans for life after the University of Nottingham and while things have changed significantly for all of us I want to reassure you about your future.

In 2008 the world economy was left reeling following the financial crisis. Seventeen years before that was a recession brought about by falling house prices. The University has always supported its students and alumni through challenging times and they have gone on to achieve incredible things.

We can help with any aspect of your career whether it is the impact of COVID-19 on your plans, preparing for online recruitment activities or developing your career skills while at home. We will be offering our support to you now and at each stage of your life.

Specifically for you, the Class of 2020, we’ve put together a package of support and activities, helping you to thrive professionally and personally – pandemic or not – wherever you are in the world.  We’ve invested in new online modules and have put together a range of talks from alumni to help you develop your skills from networking to CV and application writing.  Our Nottingham Open Online Course helps translate COVID-19 volunteering or unpaid work into a valuable CV addition, complemented by tips from alumni about how they’ve used similar experiences to get ahead.  We’ll also be and offering you access to magpie, the personalized learning engine that you’ve used during your time with us.

You’ve told us about your plans and we are pleased to hear so many of them are continuing as you had hoped, albeit with some adjustments. We’ve also been listening to what our graduate employers are telling us, around the impact of this crisis on their recruitment plans.

This information, along with our expert advice, is shared during 1-1 appointments, regular informal sector networking opportunities and other events, and via a range of channels, including our new C-19 FAQs web page and blog articles that focus on helping finalists to cope with changed recruitment practices such as How to prepare for virtual assessment centres.

Further blogs will provide advice on maintaining your wellbeing and feature advice from the class of 2008 who graduated during a recession.

We know the importance of standing out in an ever more competitive graduate job market and we’ve continued to invest in our careers offering at Nottingham, working closely with our Alumni and Volunteering to ensure a really cohesive programme of support, both immediately after graduation and in the future. We work hard to ensure we offer relevant services, the expertise needed and the broad range of opportunities.

As we couldn’t go ahead with our usual Graduate Jobs Fair we were delighted to see so many of you take part in our virtual Graduate Jobs Festival last week.

This year we’ve extended our programme of workshops so that it will run throughout the summer and include sessions specifically for you. Sessions such as Searching for a graduate job in the current climate will provide up to date labour market intelligence and helpful strategies for successfully securing employment, plus on opportunity to ask questions and share experiences with other finalists.

Alongside expert advice on how to secure a graduate job we’re also developing new content in the coming weeks about navigating the workplace featuring real life insight and pearls of wisdom from our alumni. We’re very aware that navigating these uncertain times is challenging, the unusual circumstances surrounding your final months of University life make your accomplishments all the greater.  Remember that you are not alone, you’re joining a community 300,000 alumni strong.  We’re here for you and connected we’ll thrive.

There’s an opportunity for you, the next generation of leaders, to find a new way forward. Be ambitious in your aspirations and feel supported to go out and change the world.

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