Congratulations to the Class of 2020!
The year 2020 started out like any other year. For seniors across the globe, the start of the new year marked the final countdown to the final papers, exams, and celebrations that would ensue for their academic achievements. Seeing their graduation year on the calendar meant that they were that much closer to donning their cap and down and receiving the diploma that they had worked so hard to achieve. No one could have predicted then that the end of their senior year would have taken place from their homes and that graduation ceremonies would be re-imagined.
As the world begins to bounce back from the pandemic and embrace all of the change that comes with it, the thought of planning for the future seems a little more optimistic. While living through and after a pandemic is new to almost everyone, the somewhat strange yet exciting “new” for graduating seniors is something that people have tackled (and conquered) for centuries. Fortunately for the graduating class, they can lean on those who have come before them, learn from their mistakes, and borrow from their good fortunes.
Longtime TCD board member, and invaluable asset to the Plattsburgh community, Hope Coryer shared some of her insight into next steps for recent grads.
What advice do you have for students who are unsure if they want to pursue a career or higher education at this time.
First of all, I’d like to congratulate all the 2020 high school graduates. This is certainly a year for the history books and one that will be always remembered and hopefully never repeated.
In my opinion, the only way for any of us to succeed will be with a bit of a plan forward. Whether it is starting college this fall or pursuing a career, having a vision of what they want for themselves in life is crucial. Jumping right into a career might be a more popular move right now amidst the pandemic, however graduates should be mindful that most higher paying jobs, as time goes on, will be requiring some college or technical training. Having a vision of where you want to be in the long run will help you to continue to grow into a career, rather than a job that pays the bills.
If you’re looking to attain a degree in higher education but are considering ‘a gap year’ before hitting the books, that is okay too. Prior to the pandemic, most students used the time between degrees to travel and take on hobbies that they may not have time for as a full-time student or professional. Now that traveling seems to be less of an option, there is still value in taking time to gain perspective on the world, grow as a person, do something meaningful, prepare for college, and of course learn new skills.
No matter what, graduates, don’t miss an opportunity for continued learning. Professional development comes in all shapes and sizes, including on the job training, trade schools or online courses. It is my belief that higher education will continue to be the most important thing in order to obtain a better way of life for the future, fortunately for us there are plenty of opportunities for higher ed right here in the North Country.
How do you see the pandemic playing into the job search?
There are plenty of job opportunities in the North Country despite the pandemic. Many staffing companies in town, like ETS, have over 100 job openings right now and many of them are suitable for recent grads. My number one advice for anyone beginning a job search is taking advantage of the local resources available to you, including staffing companies here in the North Country. There you will find not only job opportunities, but resume advice, training opportunities, and a friendly staff to help with your job search.
What is something graduates should be prepared for in their job interviews?
During this time of COVID-19 there have been very few in-person interviews. This trend of virtual interviews may very well continue for quite some time yet. Aside from being prepared to talk about your skills and strengths, you should also take some time prior to your interview to get your interview station set up.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Make sure your technology is working well before your interview time. Knowing your connection is set up will allow you to be punctual and relieve any last-minute stress.
- Clean and neat dress is still important but casual is ok for the most part.
- Eliminate all distractions and turn off your phone.
- Try your best to be relaxed and prepared for the interview.
- Do your research, know something about the company you are interviewing with and the job you’re interviewing for.
- Have questions of your own for the interviewer.
- Be friendly and remember to smile.
- Thank the interviewer for the opportunity of the interview at the end.
Some of the most important questions you may be asked will be around your availability, whether you have reliable transportation, and perhaps even if shift work is a problem.
Why is the North Country a great place to start your career?
THE NORTH COUNTRY IS AWESOME
The North Country is a little pocket of prosperity. We have some of the best educational institutions in the whole state. SUNY Plattsburgh gets high marks every year for being a welcoming and forward-thinking institution. Clinton Community College is on the leading edge of manufacturing technology and works closely with businesses in the community to provide training opportunities for employees. These institutions also work in close alignment with other higher educational institutions in the region such as Clarkson University and SUNY Potsdam.
Manufacturing jobs are prevalent and offer great career and educational opportunities with good pay and benefits. Outside of work there are many restaurants to try, retail to enjoy, and year-round outdoor recreation to explore. Our proximity to the Adirondacks, Canada, New England, and NYC plus our international airport make it easy to get anywhere you might want to visit. It’s also a great place to raise a family with low crime rates and a top-notch healthcare system. It truly is an awesome place to stay after high school or go off to college, work a few years elsewhere and return in order to settle down with family.
What is one thing that you wish you knew as a recent graduate that you know now?
- Save 10% of your pay NO MATTER WHAT!
- Don’t evaluate people on what they say but what they do.
- You don’t have to have it all figured out, be curious and open minded.
- Ask for help when you need it.
The Development Corporation staff, and board of directors wish the entire class of 2020 all the best in their future endeavors.