CHICAGO (CBS) — Entering the workplace is never easy, and navigating the job search process during a pandemic requires extra resilience.

CBS 2 is Working for Chicago to help you scope out the market. CBS 2’s Lauren Victory asked the experts about the job outlook for college students and recent grads.

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There’s one thing career counselor Jon C. Neidy, executive director of the Smith Career Center at Bradley University, wants students to know.

“Unemployment for the general population is different than unemployment for recent college graduates,” he said.

In fact, Neidy said, “There’s actually a lot of hope.”

Neidy said employers want to hire new talent.

“They’re saying that’s still important for the longevity of our company,” he said.

While grads may not land the job they envisioned, they can transfer their skills to booming industries like health care, transportation, and manufacturing.

“Today’s students seem to be very adept at pivoting,” Neidy said.

Internship prospects seem hopeful too.

“Only about 20 percent of overall internships were canceled,” Neidy said. “Many of them, the majority of them, were switched to an online experience.”

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Of course, there are some sacrifices to be made, like accepting unpaid or part-time internships. Another challenge is the onboarding experience.

“Students tend to be wanting to work at places where they feel connected, and so creating a sense of connection matters for those employers,” Neidy said.

That is why many start dates were pushed to July.

As the economy reopens, companies hope to offer an in-person welcome crew. Neidy said those still on the hunt should update their online profiles – from beefing up their LinkedIn to cleaning up social media accounts.

He also said, “We’ve seen more online educational opportunities for free than we have ever seen before.”

And if you take one of those classes, showcase it on your résumé.

Moreover, never underestimate the power of networking. Another positive of COVID-19, Neidy said, is that “people are more available right now for networking than they ever have been.”

If you’re looking for a part-time job, Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Rockford announced they’re hiring.

CBS 2 is committing to Working For Chicago, connecting you every day with the information you or a loved one might need about the jobs market, and helping you remove roadblocks to getting back to work.

We’ll keep uncovering information every day to help this community get back to work, until the job crisis passes. CBS 2 has several helpful items right here on our website, including a look at specific companies that are hiring, and information from the state about the best way to get through to file for unemployment benefits in the meantime.

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Lauren Victory