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By Esther Paul – Copy Editor

With a Bachelor’s in hand, the only thing graduates want entering the job market is acceptance into their fields. For 2020 graduates, rejection was their portion as the Coronavirus upended everything, including the economy. According to, “the unemployment rate peaked at an unprecedented level, not seen since data collection started in 1948, in April 2020 (14.8%),” a month before students were expected to graduate.

Five recent Rutgers University-Newark graduates share their experience:

Johnathan Christie, a 22-year-old graduate, came out of college with a B.S. in Finance. Although currently employed at PGIM, the principal investment management business of Prudential Financial, he found it very hard finding a job.

“I applied to over 400 jobs in 2020,” said Christie. “It was honestly rough, but patience, prayer and perseverance took me through.”

He also said the bible verses, Proverbs 3:1-6, was “all he meditated on last year in the midst of all the rejection.”

When asked if he believed Covid contributed, he said it did a lot and commented on the challenge it added to an already complicated job market.

“I think graduating in the middle of a pandemic contributed a lot to the job search. Class of 2020 graduated in the middle of the worst job market since 2007-08 financial crisis,” he added.

Cristie credits that partly to the government and our country not being “pandemic-proof.”

“Our government obviously thought we were invincible and look where it has brought us,” he said.

He added that “more could be done by the government to provide more jobs.”

It was through the Braven’s professional mentor program that Johnathan was able to acquire his job. His mentor, Stephen Brundage shard a job opportunity with him and he applied.

In a quote featured in the Braven’s 2021 Jobs report, Cristie admonishes everyone to “always nourish your connections and maintain your network. It’s what helped me land my job. I now have a job where I can make use of my degree.”

For Layla Abdallah, a 21-year-old graduate with a major in Journalism and Media Studies, Covid- 19 completely disrupted her post-graduation plans.

“I had a job lined up for post-graduation but due to freeze hiring because of COVID-19 it didn’t work out,” wrote Abdallah in a LinkedIn post.

She went on to say the rejections are still hard to get over after applying for “countless full-time positions within the Journalism and related areas.”
“I applied to the NBCUniversal Media, LLC page program and got to the round of video interviews,” she said. “Although I was not hired, it was still my first step closer to something I wanted in my career path and I was really proud of myself.”

Abdallah said the only month she did not work since graduation was June 2020. Since then, she has continued to be employed by one of the top 5 independent bookstores in the United States, as a Bookseller.

“I had been working at the bookstore [for 2 years] since before the pandemic,” she said.

Of the government, she believes “there needs to be more aid to people who cannot find a job currently,” although she believes small business loans help.

Osato Idemudia, who earned herself a Bachelor’s in Psychology, is still working at the job she had whilst in college.

“I have tried to apply for other jobs related to my field of studies but wasn’t successful yet,” she said.

Idemudia is, however, not sure her lack of success is directly related to Covid as her field of study is in the medical field.

She does note that finding your desired job is hard without years of experience.

“As a new graduate, trying to find a job in your desired career without years of experience ca be difficult,” she said.

Idemudia believes the government can contribute to the issue by “making minimum wage higher for all states and especially for essential workers.”

Adrian Acakios believes “Covid messed everything up.” Strapped with a Bachelor’s in English, she found it very hard to find a job in her field.

“It was very hard to find any experience in my field due to covid, especially paid positions, as many offices in my graduate school degree are closed or lost funding,” she said.

She is currently employed at a graduate assistantship at her university but wishes it was in her desired area.

“My current position is adjacent to my master’s program studies in higher education but still not 100% in my desired area due to lack of funding,” she mentioned.

Acakios believes “vaccine rollout and financial grants for higher education will aid the job market at this time.”

When graduates thought their fight was over entering the job market it seems to just be the start. With COVID still looming, the question remains if it’ll ever get easier.

*Originally featured on the Newance site