During the peak years of the Covid pandemic, about half of employees worked remotely, mostly from home offices. The other half were almost all in occupations that required them to be on-site, including jobs in retail and hospitality.
Over the past couple of years, more and more employers are encouraged and, sometimes, required these remote employees to work on-site. Sometimes, those employers are okay with the employees working some days at home and some days in the office — so-called hybrid work — while others are demanding a full, return-to-the-office.
But what employers want or even demand is different from what employees are able or willing to provide. Some refuse to work for employers unless the work is at least hybrid and perhaps even fully remote. Recent college and university graduates are no different. Like their more experienced coworkers, the new grads are struggling to find remote work. As of the writing of this article, College Recruiter has advertised on it 6,969 hybrid or fully-remote jobs in the U.S. and thousands more in other countries. That should help somewhat.
To help even more, we sought advice from a diverse group of professionals, including CEOs and career coaches. From embracing adaptability and continuous learning to carving out your own career path, here are twelve insightful pieces of advice to help you succeed in your career journey.
Embrace Adaptability and Continuous Learning
Having written extensively on remote work tools and team management, and having been featured on notable platforms like Convince & Convert, MSN, and Remote.co, I’ve seen the evolution of the remote work trend closely.
For university graduates navigating this digital landscape, my top piece of advice is to prioritize adaptability and continuous learning. The remote work environment isn’t just about having the freedom to work in pajamas; it’s an ever-evolving ecosystem. Platforms change, communication tools upgrade, and methodologies adapt.
Bonus tip: Read blogs like my own, to keep up with these trends and developments in Remote Work Tools, Digital Nomadism, and Working From Home (or anywhere!)
Here’s to your journey ahead!
Emery Bowles, IT Specialist, emerybowles.com
Boost Productivity With Focusmate
Today, a lot of work is done remotely, or at least in an individual capacity, which can really hamper productivity. One trick I’ve seen some success with is “body-doubling”—having a stranger see you work.
The resource for this is Focusmate, an online platform that randomly connects you over a webcam to a total stranger for just under an hour, where you both just observe each other while getting your work done.
Not only does this give you a small feeling of being in a workplace, but also knowing someone’s able to see you makes it less likely that you’ll put down your work to do something unimportant.
Manasvini Krishna, Founder, Boss as a Service
Harness the Power of Networking
Entering the job market can be a daunting challenge, especially under current circumstances. Here’s an important piece of advice: Remember that networking is still incredibly powerful when working remotely, even if it doesn’t look exactly like traditional events at conferences or other settings.
Don’t let this deter you from proactively reaching out rather than waiting in your inbox for replies from potential employers. Reach out via cold emails, calls, or social media messages; be sure to explain why you think you’re the right fit for their role (backed up by relevant experience).
Start early and use every resource available to establish connections; networking will often open doors much faster than simply applying via website portals alone! By establishing that human connection, you have a greater chance of standing out.
Jo Larsen, Growth Blogger, Jo Larsen
Define Clear Work-Life Boundaries
I’d emphasize the importance of defining clear boundaries. In my experience, the mix of professional and personal spaces can often be a challenge in remote work. That’s where creating distinct physical and mental zones for work is essential.
It’s about having a dedicated space where your mind recognizes, “It’s work time now.” This separation helps improve your focus, preserves your balance, and ensures that you are fully present both in work and personal settings, each receiving the attention and energy they deserve.
Bayu Prihandito, Certified Psychology Expert, Life Coach, and Founder, Life Architekture
Consider Office Work for Learning
I’d advise new university graduates to consider working in an office instead of being fully remote. Being in an office can speed up your learning. You’re surrounded by colleagues from whom you can quickly ask questions and get answers.
The casual chats near the coffee machine or quick conversations by a desk can teach you a lot. It’s also easier to get help from a more experienced coworker when you’re sitting right next to them.
Remote work can be great, but those face-to-face interactions in an office setting can be super valuable for growth early in your career.
Martin Potocki, CEO, Jobera
Be Open to Various Employment Options
I would tell recent graduates to be open to any opportunities. If remote is an option, that’s great, but the candidate pool will be massive. If they are willing to go into an office or work in a hybrid role, their chances of landing a job will be higher.
Consider all types of employment options. You may enjoy going into an office and socializing more than you thought.
Kelli Anderson, Career Coach, Resume Seed
Focus On Long-Term Career Trajectory
Keep in mind that your next job likely won’t be your “forever” job. Rather than trying to find a “perfect” role that meets all your preferences, reflect on what you want to learn in your first post-college job and how you can use it to speed up your career trajectory.
Not that you can’t have a list of wants for your first job, but try to be flexible and consider how this role will support you in the long term.
Dr. Kyle Elliott, Founder and Tech Career Coach, CaffeinatedKyle.com
Maintain Work-Life Balance With Routine
I think most of us can relate: working remotely requires lots of self-discipline!
You have the whole working day stretching ahead of you, and the possibilities of checking your phone, working in your pajamas, and taking a nap on the sofa are infinite. Getting that work-life balance is tricky, and you need to be aware of the pitfalls to strike a healthy work-life balance.
To combat this, time-blocking, consistency, and routine are essential to prevent the blurring of boundaries between personal and professional life. My advice would be to create a dedicated workspace, establish a routine that mimics a traditional workday, and communicate your working hours to colleagues.
Unplugging from work communication after hours and prioritizing self-care are equally crucial. Overall, establishing these habits not only cultivates productivity and focus but also helps your mental well-being, ensuring that remote work remains a rewarding experience.
Katharine Gallagher, Professional Growth Specialist of Education, Career, Recruitment, Productivity, and Business, katharinegallagher.com
Navigate the Limited Remote Job Market
Remote work is available, but since the pandemic is over, more and more offices are expecting you to be in the office more often. There are more hybrid positions than remote ones. Most jobs require at least three days in the office.
If you are looking for fully remote work, it may take a while to find a job because of the limited number of fully remote jobs. When you find one that pays enough and you like it, I’d be sure to keep it since those jobs are few and far between right now. This may change as the world changes, but for now, hold on to prime positions!
Amanda Meuleners, Career Counselor, Avivo
Build Strong Connections in Virtual Settings
For recent graduates stepping into the remote work world, it’s crucial to actively build and maintain relationships with colleagues and superiors. Strong connections help you feel part of the team, understand your role, and get noticed.
Despite the virtual setting, human connections remain key to your job satisfaction and career growth. Make the effort to engage with others, learn from them, and contribute to the organization’s mission and purpose.
Through relationships, you’ll find support, guidance, and opportunities that are essential for a successful and fulfilling career.
Andrea J Miller, ACC, SHRM-SCP, CEO, LeadWell Company
Prioritize Long-Term Career Growth
Stay focused on your long-term career goals rather than short-term gains. While job offers may come with tempting perks, remember that your long-term growth matters most. Companies may aim to keep costs down, but it’s crucial to advocate for your worth and advancement.
Be proactive in seeking opportunities for skill development and career advancement, even in a remote work setup. You’re the one in charge of steering your career in the right direction.
Kimberley Tyler-Smith, VP of Strategy and Growth, Resume Worded
Carve Out Your Own Career Path
For new university graduates entering the job market during the remote-work trend, my advice is this: Don’t be afraid to carve out your own path. Embrace the opportunity to try things on your own. In this digital age, remote work allows you to explore freelance work, start your own projects, or create a personal brand.
Be proactive, seek out unique opportunities, and don’t limit yourself to traditional employment. Remote work offers the flexibility to experiment and discover your passion while building a distinctive career.
Danielle Hu, Founder and Online Business Coach, The Wanderlover