You worked hard at your grades. You got into college to learn technical or specialized skills. And you spent hours working on dissertations, quizzes, and your professional skill development. But then COVID-19 came along! Suddenly, the entire economy is in free fall. And you have no idea how to take the first steps in your career in the most uncertain climate in living memory. Sound familiar?
Launching Your Career during a Pandemic – The Early Steps
You may be one of the millions who were poised to launch fulfilling and rewarding careers right when the pandemic happened. The job market has been completely turned on its head. Both general recruiters and specialized ones like a mortgage staffing agency are already swamped with a large number of candidates. In such cases, you may feel like it would be very difficult to start a new career. But if you look at it honestly, launching a career and making it grow has never been easy, to begin with. Here are a few steps you can take to improve the chances of succeeding, despite the pandemic:
Refine Your Career Goals
Goal setting is an important step before you start working towards anything. And it is no different when it comes to your career goals. You may already have an idea of what broad field you want to work in, such as IT or finance, or sales. But you may want to consider refining your goals into something more concrete. When doing so, your passion and interests will always factor in. But you should also consider the growth prospects your chosen goals have in the future. You may also have to find the difficult balance between being realistic and not limiting yourself.
Structure Your Resume Around Your Goals
If you want something, you’re going to have to structure your approach accordingly. Therefore, when applying for specific roles in line with your goals, your resume should reflect your desires. Recruiters have very short timelines these days, and a lot of applicants to sort through. To make it easier on them and yourself, your resume should be clearly indicative of your role and goals. Make sure it lists your academic records, skills, and goals framed around your desired roles. It should be concise and contain only relevant information. That being said, make sure it makes a good aesthetic impression as well.
Update Your LinkedIn Account Tactically
Your professional profiles, such as your LinkedIn profile need the same restructuring treatment. Of course, since LinkedIn is a digital platform, there are several ways you can do this. Include the right keywords in your profile and description sections. Follow keywords relating to employers, industries, and roles you want to work in. Be sure to get as many endorsements as you can from colleagues or professors. And make sure you have a professional-looking display picture to round off the impression.
Work On Pitching Your Best Self in Interviews
In an initial interview, you usually don’t have enough time for a detailed discussion of your professional aspirations. So, you have to make do with presenting a thin slice of yourself to make the first impression. This could include careful grooming, confidence, displaying familiarity with jargon, and anything else that makes you stand out favorably. This slice gets even thinner in an interview over video conferencing software. But working on maximizing the “juice”, so to speak, will always make that thin slice of you more appealing.
Understand the Value of Cross-Functional Skills
The era of the “Not My Job” culture is dying out. Businesses operate at breakneck speeds these days, and often across multiple time zones. With so many added layers of complexity and the resulting ad-hoc needs, businesses value employees that have the drive to act outside their conventional roles. Moreover, it makes a lot more sense for talent acquisition strategies to focus on cross-functional employees. Employers are more likely to hire workers with skills that can apply across multiple roles. This can not only increase the chances of your employability but can also build a more diverse skillset later in your career.