It feels oddly dystopian but it is a fact that the majority of the country’s population hasn’t stepped out of their houses for almost a month now. It seems like forever but India is still at the beginning of its coronavirus journey and we don’t quite know what will unfold in the coming months.
What we do know is that the impact on the economy, on every country’s economy, has been severe. Various sectors like travel, hospitality, aviation, and real estate have been affected drastically.
Many people have suffered pay cuts as a result of COVID-19 or have lost their jobs entirely. According to the Center for Monitoring Indian Economy, India’s unemployment rate during the week of April 20th, 2020, is a little over 26%.
We fully understand what a difficult time this is for so many people in our country so we’ve put together a few steps and measures that might help you make the most of this time.
- Realize that it’s not personal and you’re not alone
Getting yourself in the right mindset to face the future is the starting point. The kind of unemployment numbers in the country we’re seeing make it easier to understand that your job loss is purely the result of a bad economic situation, not a personal failure.
- Flexibility is key
Finding a job during a pandemic is incredibly challenging. It’s more about survival than success and the end-game is to earn income, not career advancement at this time. It’s not fair or ideal but it’s a fact. This means that you will have to adjust your expectations about your new role/company/industry as well as the compensation you receive for it.
- Hustle, hustle, hustle
Speaking of flexibility, finding a job while so many sectors have suffered losses can be a much longer process than usual. Whoever can hold out longest usually wins. Generate income by translating any existing skill for different side-gigs. Do some writing, do some coding, internships, short-term contracted work or, if you have a large enough following, become an influencer. It really could be anything and these side gigs may end up being your main source of income for a while.
- Do your research
Read up on the specific impact on the industry that you were working in as well as the impact on other industries at this time. Take a look at projections for economic recovery across the board. While some industries have been hard hit, others are still showing growth and hiring (Edtech is a great example here).
- Take stock of where you stand
Think very carefully about the skills that you used daily in your most recent role as well as how those skills can be applied in sectors that will show promise in the coming months or that appeal to you. The more you bring to the table, the more valuable of a hire you are. See if you can top up your skillset to match the demands of a new industry. The best way to do this is to, of course…
Now that soul-searching and industry-searching are out of the way, it’s time to search for a course that will help you expand your skillset across a wide variety of roles. Learn a new programming language if you work in tech or do a course in digital marketing to help you break into a market where the competition is fierce but there is a talent gap. There are various edtech companies who have such courses on offer currently.
- When it comes to your resume, one size doesn’t fit all
It is most definitely time to re-do your resume once you’re ready to start applying for jobs. The reality of this pandemic is that there are literally millions of people who are competing for similar jobs now. You should be doing anything you can to stand apart from the crowd. Re-do your resume, yes, but also apply with a slightly different version of your resume that highlights the skills required specifically for the role you want.
- Leverage your LinkedIn profile
There has never been a better time to make your LinkedIn profile shine. Reach out to those who you’ve done great work with and have them write testimonials for your profile. A public and professional endorsement is worth far more than a recommendation letter.
- Tap into your network
Don’t rely on just job portals and LinkedIn to land a new job. Explore every avenue you can through both your personal and professional networks whenever possible. Reach out directly to recruiting firms or decision-makers in companies that you’re interested in working with. Don’t be afraid to reach out even to fellow alumni, 2nd-degree connections on LinkedIn, or even your neighbours.
- Keep your eyes on the prize
Getting your foot in the door may be the hard part but you’re not in the clear just because you’ve done that. Crossing the finish line with your best foot forward is the best way to ensure that you stand head and shoulders above the competition. You need to be able to demonstrate that you’re the best candidate for the job you’ve applied for. Prepare yourself diligently for every stage of the interview process and practice with that one friend who’s aced every interview they’ve ever been to (we all have one).
- If at first, you don’t succeed…
Try again. The key really is to not give up or break down when things don’t work out the way you would have expected them to. This is definitely easier said than done but it can make all the difference. Keep exploring opportunities and just do your best every time, even if it seems like chances at success are low. You really never know what will happen!
Finding a new job can be a painstaking task at the best of times but it requires even more time and energy than usual. Start as soon as possible and stick to it. It’s difficult but remind yourself constantly that this won’t last forever, that the world has survived such situations before and we will do so again.
We’re rooting for each and every one of you. You’ve got this.