The current job market is in a state of complete upheaval. Everyone is home due to the India-wide lockdown resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.
So instead of wasting your time away, you can use this situation to your advantage.
Get creative by upskilling yourself and making the most of your social isolation days.
Developing the right set of skills will help you contribute meaningfully to your future employer and also reduce a widening skill gap!
Time to add relevance to your resume with these crucial tips.
1. Set Achievable Goals: For instance, learn a new language in 30 days
Poorly defined goals may lead to the formation of weak intentions and procrastination.
To avoid that, set an achievable goal like learning a new (foreign) language in 30 days!
The job market is increasingly becoming more globalized day by day.
If you are fluent in another language (like French, German, Japanese, Italian or Spanish), you would be able to open yourself up to new opportunities out there. This will also add new stars to your resume.
Speaking, reading and writing in any other language apart from English is also a specialist skill which can attract employers and increase your demand in the market.
It will also lay the foundation for a higher salary for you during salary negotiation discussion rounds.
Some apps like Duolingo are free and help you pick new language skills in a gamified format.
Download such an app on your phone so that you can learn the language anywhere, even during a spare 5-minute break!
In case you are already at a certain level and you are planning to reach an advanced level, check out online language certification tests.
Below is a list of language proficiency tests.
- French Proficiency Test - A) DELF and DALF B) TEF and TCF
- Spanish Proficiency Test - A) DELE B) SIELE
- German — Zertifikat Deutsch, TestDaF, & More
- Chinese Mandarin — HSK
- Korean —TOPIK
- Japanese — JLPT
- Russian — TORFL
- Arabic — ALPT
- Portuguese — CAPLE
- Italian — CILS, CELI, PLIDA, CIC, IT
- Dutch — CNaVT & NT2
2. Volunteer: For instance, contribute to a greater cause
Volunteering allows you to step outside of your comfort zone and adapt to unfamiliar environments.
It is also a good way to meet new people, pick up new skills, learn new approaches and gain new insights.
You also get to give something back to your country.
One example is shown below.
National Cadet Corps (NCC) has offered a helping hand to civilian authorities in the country’s fight against COVID-19 by extending the services of cadets under ‘Exercise NCC Yogdan’.
It has issued guidelines for temporary employment of its cadets to augment relief efforts and functioning of various agencies involved in battling the pandemic.
The tasks envisaged for NCC cadets include, manning of helpline/call centers; distribution of relief materials/medicines/ food/essential commodities; community assistance; data management and queue & traffic management.
According to the guidelines, cadets should not be employed in the handling of law and order situation or for active military duties or at hot spots.
Only senior division volunteer cadets above 18 years of age will be employed. They should be employed in small cohesive groups of eight to 20 under the supervision of Permanent Instructor Staff or/and an Associate NCC Officer. (For the complete article, visit this Link.
If you are an ex or a current NCC / NSS cadet, or for that matter even a Bharat Scout / Guide, adding this point to your CV can speak volumes about your attitude as a candidate.
3. Have a mentor? If not, get one now!
You can skip a number of wrong steps and avoid mistakes if you are advised by a mentor or someone who is already where you want to be.
Talking to a mentor like a senior or a cousin, on how they got to where they are and what they learned along the way, can always help.
This will let you gain plenty of professional insight, as you learn from their experiences.
You can also clarify which skills you still need to develop by talking to them.
In case you do not have a cousin/friend with relevant experience in your circle, approach a professional career coach or a professional mentor.
For a bare minimum sum, these guides will offer you the right advice to kick-start your career.
4. Train or be a guide to your juniors
Nobody else has been through the same journey as you. You also have a unique story to convey to the world.
Your life lessons have the potential to offer a lot to somebody as their mentor.
In addition, you will find yourself learning just as much during this process.
More importantly, you will most likely learn something from the mentee, particularly about their experiences and approaches to working in life.
Mentoring will also boost your coaching and leadership skills as you grow confident by teaching others.
Moreover, explaining something to someone else can really solidify how much you know in your own mind, and show you where the gaps are in your knowledge.
5. Network aggressively
Talk to others in and out of your domain or circle. Talk both online and offline.
Try to connect with people from a wide range of experience levels, age groups and educational backgrounds.
If you do this, your mindset will broaden, your circle of connections will expand and your interpersonal skills will improve drastically!
You will also learn what life might be like as a professional in the future.
Attend free webinars, recorded or live podcasts and job-related events
webinars and podcasts are great knowledge dumps.
These recordings are available afterward for you to tune in at your convenience and learn!
You’ll be absolutely spoilt for choices on pretty much any subject you can think of as you do a google search.
You can also ask your mentors and friends for recommendations.
Attending live events is not easy given the current COVID-19 scenario.
You would be required to travel and spend some money, but there's a benefit in every face-to-face interaction.
Carry a notepad to these events and list ideas that you want to follow up on. This is a good way to learn from experts and build your own know-how.
In case you are not comfortable with spending too much, check out relevant events on MeetUp.
These are many pocket-friendly events where you can interact with a small group of relevant people from the industry you are interested in.
6. Start a blog of your own!
Research your area of interest. Read opinion pieces on HBR, Medium, Pulse and other good sources.
Follow thought-leaders and bloggers on your chosen topic. Also, start writing pieces on what your understanding of a topic is.
Publish your blog on a preferred platform for the world to see and observe how your content gets noticed.
This is your chance to build upon your existing knowledge. Also, try to develop a keyword-rich online portfolio and impress anyone who might be looking to hire you!
7. Read a new book every month
Flipkart and Amazon are teeming with paperback books and e-books on all types of subjects.
This is a great way to expand your awareness. You may even find the biographies or autobiographies of some of the leaders in your field.
If buying books seem expensive, join a crowdsourced library or do a google search for free PDFs and start skimming through them!
8. Become social media savvy
Not on social media yet? O boy, you are missing out on a lot!
Everything from job vacancies to thought leadership pieces and networking opportunities are on social media handles.
Be it Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn, your social media profile must be up and running. But build it carefully.
Showing off your knowledge on forums like Reddit and in FB groups on your subject can also add brownie points to your profile.
This will let you build a presence to be proud of. Once again, this is a way to keep your finger on the pulse within your area of interest.
This tactic will also promote you in front of prospective employers.
While you’re doing all that learning, don’t forget to document stuff to present in front of your current or future businesses.
Also, update your CV and social profiles with any new skills you have learned.
To be precise, whether you are looking for a new job or you want to make a complete change of career, your chances of success are much higher if you follow key steps listed above.
Strive to succeed and continuously develop yourself throughout your career and not just now.
The good news is that you are already well-qualified to bridge your own skill gaps.
You are known to be more demanding and anxious as well as curious and focused on purpose, self-direction, and self-development.
You are aware that your careers will ramble through multiple roles, industries, and company sizes. And you are already motivated to keep moving forward and succeeding.
As the saying goes,
You are your best judge. No one knows you better.
So prepare well and start upskilling yourself today so that when the lockdown gets lifted, employers would be contacting skilled folks such as you!
All the best!