The Graduate of Tomorrow.
Written by Dilina Gunathilake
Senior Human Resources professional
Finding Employment in the New Normal
These are unprecedented times, and I hope you are at home reading this.
COVID-19 has changed the world in ways that we could never imagine. It’s fair to say, the “world we knew” does not exist anymore.
During the three weeks ending April 9, 2020, in the US alone, 16 million people had filed for unemployment claims. Of the 165 million labor force in the US, that’s almost 10%.
As the saying goes, “When America Sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold,” imagine the global consequences of these unemployment numbers going up on a daily basis.
In a time where scientists and researchers are frantically trying to come up with a possible cure for the novel corona virus, the recovery of economies around the world will take even longer.
What’s in it for a Graduate?
Even during the past, finding a job was hard. Finding a Job that you like was harder. Finding a job when almost all the economies of the world are trying to recover and coming to terms with the “new normal,” the benchmark for “hardest” has gone up drastically from where it used to be.
The graduate of tomorrow will have to factor all these when you enter the job market in the coming months.
Unless you are looking for employment in the fields of Healthcare, Agriculture,and possibly Education, all the other industries in the world are going to take time to recover, and that will be a very slow recovery at best.
Being a recruiter for almost a decade, I have never come across a challenging time like this for a graduate to find a job.
How should you change yourself with the “new normal”?
In the new normal, recruitment will see two major changes. Firstly, companies may put recruitment on hold in the immediate. If a company takes a bold step to recruit, it tells a lot about the company’s character. Secondly with the recovery beginning, everyone who is currently unemployed or unhappy with their jobs would be seeking jobs together with you, significantly increasing the size of the candidate pool.
“Hire for Attitude, Train for Skills” still holds true during these unprecedented times and beyond. However, your attitudes of the past will be obsolete in the times to come.
You have to keep in mind the entire world has now discovered/discovering working-from-home or working with a skeleton staff as viable alternatives to the usual in-office employees.
Even if you are the best in your field, you will be fighting for opportunities with people who lost jobs and who may have years and years of experience
This is an extension to the change in attitude, but I wanted to highlight it separately.
Many companies will be reluctant to offer permanent jobs right away. The job seeker too will have to be positive in this regard. During these times, write about your research findings, see if you can contribute towards your communities, be open to trying out gig working and freelancing. Even though you are a graduate, working as an intern/apprentice during these times is better than having no work at all.
The more you have to offer, the better chance of you finding a job. For example, if you are someone with a background in economics, you will still have to possess essential IT skills even to apply for an entry-level opportunity.Get used to remote working and learn about the ways and tools you can use to work virtually,as this will be the future working.
Excellent communication skills
Average speaking and writing skills in English will be a thing of the past. With the number of applicants soaring, excellent command in English will be the new norm, and it will most definitely be an entry criterion for jobs going forward.
Ability to research
You will be required to know the subject matter inside and out. In addition to that, you will have to expand your domain knowledge depending on the company you go for an interview.
The more you know about their products/services, the company’s competition, the industry changes/impacts due to the pandemic, how have they adopted new methodologies and most importantly, their strengths and weaknesses will certainly prove that you are the candidate the company is looking for.
Be the best version of YOU
Last but not least, this should be the most important attribute of a graduate looking for a job. You will have to be your 110% all day, every day.
If you are given a responsibility, own it and do it to the best of your ability no matter what. If you are a part of a team, make sure you are the best of that team. Getting a job during these times may be a challenge,but you can always make sure you grow, give your best, and leave no stone unturned.
Good luck and hope to see you on the other side.