Of all the ways COVID-19 has impacted businesses across the world, one of the most unfortunate consequences has been the unavoidable need of some companies to cancel their upcoming job opportunities.
According to a recent poll of more than 5,000 students by YouGov, almost two thirds of final year university students have had job applications paused or withdrawn because of the coronavirus pandemic.
If you've had a job offer rescinded as a result of COVID-19, no one could blame you for feeling a little let down by the world. After jumping through all the necessary hoops to receive your offer of employment, you probably weren't counting on it being taken away because of a virus.
For many people though, this has become a reality. And with it being likely that the aftershocks of the pandemic will continue to impact businesses for the foreseeable future, it's important that, should you have an offer withdrawn, you know what to do to give yourself the best chance of getting your career straight back on track.
Don't take it personally.
It seems obvious, but it can be so difficult not to see rejection - especially rejection that comes after you've already been offered the job - as a personal slight. But more than any other kind of job rejection, this one is definitely not personal.
Pausing or rescinding job offers is never an easy option for employers; it affects their long term future just as much as it does yours in the short term. Companies generally put a lot of time, money and resources into recruiting graduates, so if an employer has had to backtrack on a job offer during the pandemic, know that it won't have been a decision made lightly, and it will have been unavoidable no matter how much potential you showed as a future employee.
In light of COVID-19, reasons why an employer might need to withdraw a job offer range from having budgets cut unexpectedly to being faced with wider internal or external health and safety implications. Usually you will be informed of why your particular offer has been rescinded, but if you're ever unsure of why you've had an offer of employment cancelled always ask the employer. And if you want to find more information on your rights in this situation check out the government website here.
Keep in touch with the employer.
If this was an opportunity that you were excited about, try not to see this as the end of the road. Just because the company is no longer able to recruit you right now, it doesn't mean that will stay the case forever.
Instead of ending your relationship with your almost-employer on a bitter note, let them know that you'll still be interested in working with them in the future and ask them how is best to stay active within their network. Many employers, such as PwC and Deloitte, are encouraging candidates to register their interest in future job opportunities so that they can ensure you're the first to know when they are able to open their recruitment again.
While it's natural that you'll want to know exactly what your employer plans to do next regarding the role you applied for, bear in mind that the likelihood is they won't yet know what's going to happen in the future. By staying in touch, the chances are as soon as they know, you'll know too.
Continue building your skills.
While having a job offer paused or rescinded is less than ideal, use the unexpected time you now have to further upskill yourself. It's easy to think that because you were impressive enough the first time around to receive a job offer that you don't need to try any harder going forwards, but that's not necessarily true.
Whether you're aiming to apply to the same employer again in the future or another company, take this opportunity to ensure you stand out even more from the crowd. How you respond during this time could be the difference between getting your next job offer or not.
One positive that's come out of the coronavirus pandemic is that many useful career development resources or courses are now reduced in price or even free for you to access. Check out, for example, this free-to-watch YouTube employability webinar series by assessment centre experts, SRS. The webinars take you through everything from finding your strengths to acing online tests - so it's a no brainer to give them a watch, really!
Use LinkedIn to build your professional network.
If you haven't already created a LinkedIn account, now is as good a time as any to do so. Here is your chance to connect with employers within your industry of interest, as well as other students and graduates who are in the same position as you.
Once you've got your LinkedIn account sorted, be sure that you're following any companies you like the sound of - even the ones that've had to put their recruitment on the back burner because of the coronavirus - because it's likely they will update their company LinkedIn page with relevant and up-to-date information throughout the course of the disruption.
If you feel confident enough, why not consider sharing your experience of having your job offer rescinded because of COVID-19? Writing about it will not only help others in a similar situation, but will also allow you to provide evidence of your commercial awareness, empathy and positive attitude in the face of difficult circumstances. Who knows, it might just be spotted by the right person who leads to your next job offer...
Actively look for other jobs.
Which brings us to our final piece of advice: don't give up on applying for jobs. It's undeniably disheartening to finally get a job offer in the bag only to have it removed shortly after. While restarting the job hunt is unlikely to sound appealing to you at a time when there's still lots of uncertainty for employers and the economy, don't let the situation get the better of you.
In spite of COVID-19, lots of employers are still going full steam ahead with their recruitment, and many more will begin to recommence their recruitment drives over the coming months. Your job hunt might take longer than you expected, and you might not initially be able to secure the roles you were aiming for, but try to keep an open mind, be adaptable and approach every new application with positivity, and your persistence will pay off.
There are plenty of roles available to graduates in various industries on the GradTouch website right now. Check them out here.