Across many industries, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have caused uncertainty, affecting employment and experience opportunities for new graduates entering the workforce. As one example, a growing number of candidates are now interviewed virtually, impacting the opportunity to build relationships with the people involved in recruiting.
On the extreme side of things, many of today’s recent graduates will also be required to start their professional careers from home. Here are some insights for successfully entering the workforce during COVID-19.
#1: Don’t Stop Learning
Graduating from college doesn’t mean you are done with learning. While the knowledge and certificate or degree you acquired are valuable possessions, they are not the only things that lead to success. Beyond academic knowledge, there are a lot of things left to be learned that will put you ahead of others in finding, achieving, and being successful in your work life.
#2: Look For Internships First
Though it is good to have aspirations for high-paying jobs, it’ hard to go from graduate into lucrative roles without taking a few other steps first. The number of open vacancies for recent graduates is now limited than in the past. Businesses are still trying to figure out how COVID has impacted their company and the industry in general, and they aren’t willing to make financial commitments or take the same risks they did in the past. If entry-level positions are slim, check out internships. One could even land you a full-time position once it’s completed!
#3: Start Building A Portfolio
A portfolio is documentary evidence of what you are capable of doing. When other candidates compete for the same jobs with traditional resumes and cover letters, having a portfolio will help to differentiate you as a valuable resource. When desirable opportunities are not available, consider starting private projects related to the types of jobs you’ll love to be doing in the future. Or, consider volunteering in similar roles to show your strengths.
#4: Commit To Proactive Networking
Being proactive about networking will put you ahead of other people that are usually waiting in a reactionary mode. You might have heard that your net worth is directly related to your network. And, most people are holding back interacting with others because of the pandemic….now is the time to stand-out and shine when others are waiting! If your LinkedIn profile isn’t already in top shape, spend some time to do and use it as one of your greatest networking tools.
#5: Embrace A Relentless Drive
For you to move from being a graduate into the world of work, you need a relentless drive. More than anything else, this characteristic will empower you to withstand inevitable obstacles you may discover along the way. And, you can share those learning experiences with potential employers. A strong work ethic can land you just about any job, regardless of experience.
#6: Be Adaptable To Change
When you are entering the workforce as a graduate, you are bound to experience a lot of opportunities that don’t match your expectations. At that moment, your best bet is to be open and adaptable to change. All employers want people who can adapt and change course during challenging times. This goes along with your drive. Work hard and be relentless!
#7: Try New Things
Both in terms of learning and networking, you must commit to trying new things. Another way to look at this is that you have to embrace going outside of your comfort zone. The world works differently because of COVID-19 and you need to learn how to adapt. This might mean taking the time to learn how to use the new software the company is using for all of its virtual meetings. Or, figuring out the ins and outs of a project management tool that seems confusing now, but will be instrumental in organizing your team’s projects down the line.
#8: Define Your Meaning of Success
The big question is this – what does career success mean to you? Once you clearly identify what success means to you, convey that to others in a way that relates to your personal values, vision, and life purpose. Once this is communicated clearly, others can understand how they can help you achieve this, and how it fits with their goals for recruiting the right talent.
#9: Set Measurable Goals
Having a goal is important. But if you don’t have a way to measure progress towards accomplishment of your goals, achieving them is difficult. As important as it is to set goals, measuring progress, and modifying your strategy when needed, are also important. Don’t aim unrealistically high nor sell yourself short and aim too low.
#10: Find Your Internal Motivation
Motivation is the fuel that drives people to accomplish their goals. Without it, life will seem like a challenge. However, people need to find what drives them and satisfies their sense of self-worth and purpose. External sources can motivate you to achieve some things for a little while; however, they’re limited in helping you attain long-term, sustained success.
Spend time gaining self-awareness about your strengths, your goals, your measures of success, and what can get in the way of attaining these things. Once you understand yourself better, you’ll know what you need for continuous growth, and which career roles will be best for you.