Senior in graphic design Madison Byrd had been job-hunting for 3 months before her post-graduation plans were altered.
Byrd had hopes to find a job as a graphic designer at an agency in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Once the pandemic broke out, Byrd found it more difficult to follow through with those plans.
“Any company’s first priority is not to hire people because they don’t even know if they can afford that,” Byrd said.
Through the pandemic, Byrd has continued to search for jobs.
“I’ve been able to email people and contact people and go to their websites and apply, but I always get back the same answer,” Byrd said.
Companies have stopped hiring and they do not know when they will resume.
“I am still looking, researching and contacting whoever I can,” Byrd said. “But it’s almost like I’ve lost hope, like I’m not really expecting to have a job.”
The halt in job-hunting has also affected other aspects of Byrd’s life.
“I was about to sign a lease with someone in Kansas City and I had to get out of that because I’m not going to have a job to pay for it,” Byrd said. “I didn’t expect to go and live with my mom, but now I will be living with my mom for probably a year.”
Byrd’s academic advisor Wendy Queal said graphic design students can create a lesson out of this difficult time.
“A strength for them is going to be adaptability in the world of design,” Queal said. “And employers are having to adjust right now as well.”
In the past, Byrd used resources at Kansas State to help with internships or other connections and she is not ready to lose those.
“I was planning on going to career fairs and alumni events put on by the university,” Byrd said.
Kerri Keller, director of the career center, said their resources will be extended through the summer for May graduates.
“We love to see students landing jobs,” Keller said. “But what we’re also prepared for is to be there when it’s tough for students as well.”
Byrd said while there is pressure to find a job now, there was actually more pressure before the pandemic because she knew a job was in her reach.
“The most immediate fear is that I’m graduating into a recession,” Byrd said. “Any plans that I did have for after graduation have been flipped upside down.”
Byrd said she is hopeful that after a few months people will begin hiring again.