Career Scarring Is A Thing. Here’s What To Do

Forbes.com

Posted July 16, 2020 by Mark Perna

Launching your career during a recession can impact earnings for years to come. Mark’s article, “Career Scarring Is A Thing. Here’s What To Do,” published at Forbes.com on July 7, 2020.

Launching your career is always attended by a little anxiety, even during the best of economic times. But for graduates entering the employment market amidst today’s recession, the anxiety is far more than a few little jitters in the stomach.

The coronavirus pandemic’s long-term impact on recruiting and internships is still hard to measure. And even among those whose offers have not been rescinded, there is significant uncertainty.

recent study by student researchers at Columbia University indicates that 30% of employed seniors are not sure if their current employment will continue. “Still have a job but don’t know when the start date is gonna be,” said one respondent. “They told us not to find housing yet though, since they’re still deciding when we’ll start and if it’ll be virtual or not.”

Scared of being scarred

Career “scarring” is a trend of lower salaries and higher unemployment rates for college graduates who launch their careers in a struggling economy. Just as physical scars can linger long after the initial injury heals, so also career scarring creates an impact that may be felt far beyond the recession.

Recession-era college graduates often find themselves working for less pay than people who graduated just a year earlier. And even years later, their career growth and wages can lag behind—ten to 15 years later, economists say.

Advice for anyone

Of course, graduates entering the job market are not the only ones feeling the negative effects of an economy in turmoil. With an unemployment rate of 13.3%, many seasoned employees are joining the job hunt alongside new graduates. But the advice is the same for everyone.

  • There is support. Columbia University’s student researchers conclude their findings with several resources for job-hunting graduates, including links for remote internships, micro internships, company hiring statuses, newsletters, and recruiter advice. You’re not alone in your job search; there are many others experiencing the same challenges. The point is, get connected—and stay connected.
  • There is hope. Recessions don’t last forever. Some industries are undoubtedly struggling, but others are seeing a surge in growth (e-commerce, we’re looking at you). The economy could bounce back quicker than expected—and with it, your career. And even though career scarring can linger, your career is more than a scar. Tempering a realistic perspective with a dose of optimism can make a big difference in your anxiety level as you navigate a post-pandemic job market.
  • There is a reason to persevere. Your contribution matters more than ever in a world so unsettled. America needs professionals in every industry who can bring fresh approaches to old problems that are now magnified by the pandemic. It’s a perfect opportunity for young workers to break into their fields and innovate at a faster pace than ever before. Persevere in your job search—and remember, you have so much to offer.
Tempering a realistic perspective with a dose of optimism can make a big difference in your anxiety level as you navigate a post-pandemic job market. Click To Tweet

Take heart, new graduates and job-hunters of all ages. The obstacles you’re facing today can push you to grow in ways you would never have grown if you’d landed that position easily. Unfortunately, career scarring is all too real—but so is the passion and talent you bring to the challenges facing our world today.

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Read at Forbes.com


About The Author
Mark Perna
Mark C. Perna is an international speaker and bestselling author. He also serves as CEO of TFS Results, a strategic consulting firm at the forefront of the national paradigm shift in education and workforce development.
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