Edition: August 4th, 2021
Curated by the Knowledge Team of ICS Career GPS
- Excerpts from article by an Expert Panel, published on Forbes.com
School looked very different to many students this past year-and-a-half due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For recent college grads, the future of work may seem like it’s filled with even more of the same uncertainty as the job market evolves and heals in the aftermath of 2020.
Despite what’s occurred, it’s important to move forward and find ways to begin your career in a manner that will set you up for success.
Here are some tips for recent graduates looking to start their careers during this unprecedented time:
1. Read, research and continue learning
- Just because you graduated does not mean your education is over, always look for ways to continue learning.
- Read, research daily and become an expert in your chosen path.
- Choose a career that is fascinating to you, as you will spend a huge part of your life involved in it.
- If you’re passionate about what you’re doing and you’re constantly learning to improve yourself, you will thrive and surpass what you thought possible.
2. Set realistic expectations
- When starting your career journey, make sure you set realistic expectations about your industry and the workforce.
- A lot has changed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare yourself for what’s to come.
- Researching your industry with the latest information is the best way to guarantee that you’re prepared to join the job market and start your career.
- Nothing is certain, but reading about others’ experiences can point you in the right direction.
- It also helps to ask as many questions you can to those who have gone through it or who are currently experiencing it.
3. Keep building your professional portfolio
- Build a strong portfolio for your career. You don’t have to wait for the situation to get better.
- Start a blog today. It can be about anything you’re really passionate about.
- It can be a great resource for you to attract some leads who might later convert into customers.
- By the time the world’s situation becomes normal, you might have a strong client base that brings you a steady income.
- If not, you’ll have a powerful portfolio that you can use to get your dream job.
4. Hone your remote work skills
- The reality is, more and more companies are realising the benefits of a distributed workforce, along with asynchronous task schedules.
- Teams can easily collaborate across multiple time zones with the vast array of team tools that are available at a low cost to organisations.
- The barriers are low for distributing a workforce, so once a company is sold on the concept, employees who don’t like this model are, unfortunately, at the mercy of market forces.
- Adapting to this inevitable future of work sooner rather than later is wise for recent grads entering the job market.
5. Seek out a mentor
- It’s important to remember not to be too hard on yourself. Many unexpected changes have occurred, and it’s OK to feel confused about the next step.
- You can talk to mentors in your desired field and even those outside of your field to gain a broader perspective.
- Read about others’ experiences and what they’re doing as recent college graduates.
- There’s so much you can learn from other people and their experiences.
6. Consider further education
- Consider continuing your education if you just can’t find anything.
- If you’re stuck in a rut and just can’t find anything worthy of your efforts right now, think of going for another degree or getting a relevant certification.
- Several months from now, things might be a bit more clear for your career journey.
7. Improve your writing skills
- Now that remote work is more common, there’s going to be heavy dependence on written communication.
- You should think about how your text content sounds when the other person can’t hear the tone you’re using.
- It’s important to write and speak clearly and to the point.
- Use a grammar-checking tool to help you write better and send emails / chat messages that are grammatically correct.
- Being able to communicate well has always been important, but now that your ability to develop interpersonal relationships in real life is limited to what you can share on a screen, you need to improve your writing skills.
8. Enhance your online presence
- Now more than ever, people rely on content from social media to give them information about a candidate.
- Take control of what information is available about you.
- Create industry-related blog posts or social media posts.
- Join relevant communities, create a profile on networking websites and be active online.
- Your online activity can make it easy for hiring personnel to know more about you.
9. Diversify your skill set
- This has been one of the most challenging years of our lives.
- Abandon the assumption that your identity is wrapped up in what you accomplish.
- This will liberate you from the tyranny of perfectionism and the mythical pursuit of significance.
- Use this time as an opportunity to diversify your skill set.
- Be happy with whatever job you find, knowing that it can be a stepping stone to something in the future.
10. Remain flexible in your career plans
- Everything is changing constantly, so if an opportunity of any level comes your way, make the most of it.
- You don’t know when the next one will come around.
- If something bigger and better does come around, then you can figure it out, but take advantage of anything and everything that comes your way.
- Also, if opportunities aren’t quite landing on your plate, then don’t be afraid to go create them yourself.
- Reach out to anyone and everyone you can find and show them you’re committed to your career path.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article mentioned above are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)