The global pandemic is changing everything. Graduating into a COVID-19 world is a scary situation. With a freeze on hiring and my fellow classmates dropping into unemployment is a scary reality. We’re grown to believe that graduating from a top tied university will mean a designated pathway to a successful career. To make things safe, I even studied a relatively safe and professional degree, finance. 

Equipped with knowledge on how to short the stock market, and how to build a risk-free portfolio, I thought I was the king of the world. But, I was wrong. There is so much more to life than what textbook teach, and with the COVID-19 situation hitting businesses hard, it only highlights the missing industry and practical skills I had. 

With unemployment rates tumbling, jobs are scarce. Industries have collapsed, and so many people are relying on their skills for alternative forms of work. In such circumstances, your practical skills will come more in greater use than your degree. In these desperate times, you need to be more innovative with your career. You need to choose a career that will help you get through, no matter what is going on in the world.

Entrepreneurial Thinking

When you are in an unfortunate situation like a pandemic, you need to be creative. However, in recent times, an entrepreneurial spirit is required. While the world has changed, and many existing opportunities have evaporated, newer ones are available. However, you need to spot them and prepare a plan to target newer opportunities. You need to have a broader perspective in view of the situation today.

The best example of this is the clothing industry. In the past, clothing factories used to only work for clothing brands. However, they are now manufacturing surgical masks and coats to cater to the medical needs.

Industries affected the most such as the retail and food sectors have resorted in offering more creative channels of distribution to adapt to new COVID safety standards.

Traditional jewellers such as Moi Moi Fine Jewellery have introduced new services such as try-at-home services, where the team will send out a ring sizer to their customer’s home and afterwards a sample replica ring, paired with a virtual consultation service, so they can offer the same boutique service without having to see the customers in person.

Solve Timeless Problems

No matter what, there are a few timeless problems, such as technical skills, including helping people repair their phones. This is because it’s a service that will always be a need since everyone needs to communicate, and not everyone can afford to buy a new phone when there are minor issues with their current phones. By doing, so not only will you be able to create a career of a timeless demand, but also help solve larger issues like our growing e-waste problem as consumerism is at an all-time high. 

Just like that, you can start a career in catering to technical needs like plumbing, mechanics, and related areas. People may need home deliveries, and with a growing need for this, such services will likely boom. However, there is a lot to consider when it comes to marketing your skills.

Industry Jumping is ok

You know that the world is going through a drastic change right now. In such circumstances, you need to work with people from all walks of life. Not that long ago, the thought of jumping from one industry to another was unthinkable. To be able to receive a pay raise required industry-specific knowledge. But these days, knowledge on one industry can be often used to benefit another, let alone, the insider knowledge and connections you will gain from transferring from one industry to another.

The coordinator of employer relations, Valencia College, says that your degree only gives you a foundation of your career, but the opportunities and experience will change your career pathways in unexpected ways.

Transferrable Skills Matter More than Ever

For the longest time, you may be fed the idea that your position at work and work experience is your most valuable asset. However, that may not be the case, and your transferrable skills will come in use the most. You need to have the skills to get your work done more effectively and faster. They will help you get through insurmountable roadblocks and help you with resolving conflicts.

With new technology and social media platforms avidly available and content creation so accessible, don’t steer away from being on the creation end of social media. Using the platform is all fun and games, as the algorithms are literally set to maximise your usage time and attention span, making all social media platforms incredibly addicting (I’m looking at you TikTok), but the real value is being able to attract all that attention.

Skills such as content creation, digital storytelling and learning how to cultivate and grow an audience online are not going anywhere anytime soon, and once you have learnt the skill, you will find that every business will be in demand of your knowledge.

Degrees are No Longer King

If you think about it, education will always be a key criterion for hiring. However, after the pandemic, this might change as well. The important positions will require educational degrees, but the entire technical field may not require formal education.

In a report, Glassdoor enlisted companies that do not ask for college degrees for recruiting. The list has companies from diverse industries.

Don’t Overlook People Skills

No matter what career you choose, people skills will always come in handy for you. No matter what the circumstances are. It will help you when you need to get some work done that you cannot manage on your own, or you may need to reach places that you cannot go. They will help you build contacts and improve your customer dealing skills.

Practical skills always come in use much more than theory. If you do not have effective practical skills, you will not be able to apply the theory you learned in your degree.

When you talk about the pandemic and the employment situation, you need good practical skills to survive that your university degree does not teach you.