Developing a Student hosts a variety of helpful information related to careers, employment and university. However, we understand that many students and graduates across the UK are facing an unemployment crisis.
On the 15 September 2020, the BBC reported that the youth unemployment rate is the highest it has been in the last two years. The UK lockdown, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, saw the largest drop in employment for those aged 16 to 24. Some reports suggest that young people were two and half times more likely to lose their job than anyone else.
This has left many young people feeling anxious about the future and struggling to support themselves financially. There has never been so much competition for jobs, and with half of under 25’s put on the soon to be dismantled government furlough scheme, the future can feel bleak.
Here at Developing a Student, we understand the challenges of unemployment and facing rejection after rejection. We know it can be challenging to stay motivated and feel hopeful. We have collated some tips and advice about how to keep a healthy structure and remain positive in these unprecedented times. There has never been a more challenging time to be a recent graduate and with the correct attitude, support and skills you will get through it.
The following advice regards staying active and positive throughout a period of unemployment. For more financial and practical advice, visit the government webpage.
1. Plan your time
One of the hardest parts of being unemployed is waking up every day to empty days. This can be incredibly difficult for recent graduates who have just spent an intense period of studying and learning. It’s important to give yourself some time to rest and recover after such a significant achievement like graduating, don’t feel pressure to know what you want to do immediately.
After this period of rest, it can be a good idea to plan your time and find some routine to your day. You might decide that you are going to get up every morning as you would do for work and spend 9 am till 12 pm applying for jobs. Try to find a structure that works for you and incorporates your pre-existing commitments; if you help out around the house or with younger siblings in the morning, then you might allocate the afternoon to job hunting. Schedule breaks, activities and social interactions into this schedule too as it’s essential to have things to look forward to throughout the week.
2. Look after your mind and body
When you go through a difficult period such as unemployment, you must pay attention to your wellbeing. While there may be chaos all around you, it’s possible to remain calm and well by looking after your mind and body. Many people find activities such as yoga and meditation to be extremely useful in relieving stress and managing anxiety. If this doesn’t work for you, try out other calming activities that you can do to unwind. These might include cooking, reading, creative activities or going outdoors.
Exercise and eating well have a positive impact on our wellbeing. You could take a walk in the park or do a ten-minute workout from YouTube in your bedroom. If you want something more sociable, you could research team sports in your area. Exercise can add routine to your day, relieve stress, keep you fit and help to manage difficult feelings.
Volunteering can be a great way to continue to learn and refresh your skills whilst giving back to others. There are hundreds of volunteering opportunities around the UK from charity shops to community projects, in schools, hospitals and local charities. For more information, visit our dedicated page on volunteering.
4. Do productive activities
Going through a period of unemployment can be an opportunity to do productive activities related to your interests. Keep your skills refreshed and show employers that you have been using this time well. For example, suppose you are interested in a career in media. You could start a blog where you write about anything that interests you or global and local news. Or if you are interested in a job in publishing, you could read and record your thoughts on new books.
For more help with careers, visit our Graduate Careers Paths Hub.