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Covid-19 has had a major impact on the job market. Many employees across industries have been laid off, suffered pay cuts, or been forced to change or rethink their carefully laid-out career plans.

Reading about Covid's devastation versus personally interacting with somebody who has lost his/her livelihood are completely different experiences. I have to compose myself sometimes during career counselling sessions while talking one-on-one to someone who lost their job. Recently I spoke to a great young guy who worked so hard to make it to a top college in India, then beat the stiff competition to land a coveted job at a 'well-funded' tech startup and now, barely 6 months later, finds himself without a job.

In my interactions with the young people whose career and study plans have been derailed, I have seen a lot of emotions- hope, disbelief, despair, anger and sometimes- relief. In some cases, people are thankful they are out of a toxic job and spending a lot of time for the first time in years with their family. This silver lining makes me very happy; if you can, you should definitely use this period to spend time with your loved ones and do some self-reflection.

On the other hand, there are others who want to utilise this time to identify a clear career path and make strategies to follow it. To you I would say this- Read as much as you can about your dream professions. Forget Covid and what everyone else is doing and read up on what you would do in your dream scenario.

Use this time to pivot hard because you know what people will forgive in 2022? A big mistake in 2020. This is the time to take chances because the whole world is operating in a limbo-like state. Nothing is secure and dreams are up for grabs.

Job hunting during this time is very hard but it is not impossible; and with the right strategy and enough applications, you could make a successful career move despite the difficult global scenario. Here are some tips which could help you in your job searches during Covid-19:

Improve your phone and digital interview skills

Video-calls have become the new normal - but sometimes our personalities don't translate well through the screen. You may be highly confident about making a good impression in person, but some skills are unique to the digital format - so take the time to work on your phone and digital interview skills.

Also, make sure you're familiar with relevant technologies like Zoom and Meet, have a clear audio system set up, along with a professional location to take video interviews. Making a good digital impression is a great first step towards finding a job during Covid-19.

Look out for growing industries

Although many industries have suffered significantly during this time, some companies are actually growing. People's needs and consumption patterns are changing during Covid-19, and many companies are trying to fill these gaps and adapt to what consumers now require. Read up on market trends, and consider whether your competencies may be a good fit for a new and upcoming industry, rather than one where there are layoffs and hiring freezes. With the right strategy, you could find a great role in industries like gaming and video streaming that are actively hiring. It doesn't have to be tech- FMCG and pharma giants are hiring as well.

Boost your digital presence and networking

Have you been meaning to update your LinkedIn profile, but never really got around to it? Or did you never end up reaching out with that recruiter you met at a networking event? This is the time to strengthen your digital professional presence. Use LinkedIn to reach out to industry professions; write articles and posts about your expertise; and build a strong presence online across platforms; which demonstrates your skills and experience. Boosting your digital engagement reflects well for recruiters, and could also generate new job leads.

Acquire new skills

Whatever your industry; there are many great online courses, both free and paid, which offer the chance to learn new skills and boost your profile. These new skills - which you may otherwise never have had the time to pick up - can add a lot of value to your resume. Although working from home can be more challenging for some - if you do find yourselves with some time to spare, consider taking out time to boost your profile with new learning or certifications via Coursera, Udemy etc.

Find online career fairs and workshops

If you are a fresh graduate or recent alumni, your alma mater may be hosting career fairs online. Reconnect with these institutions and keep an eye out for online networking and career opportunities - you never know where you may find a useful lead.

Access remote career counselling

If you've been thinking about getting professional help in planning out your career; this is the time to take the plunge and reach out. Career counsellors will help you strategize for short-term as well as long-term goals; and will have information and experience about industry trends. They will help you navigate these uncertain times and reflect on what you actually want from the future. It is important to have support and help, whether you find yourself struggling professionally; or are just keen to grow at a faster pace.

Be open-minded, don't lose hope

This is an incredibly difficult time for many who have been laid off, and businesses which have had to close their doors. However, don't lose hope - the right job is out there waiting for you. Be open-minded to new opportunities in industries you wouldn't earlier have explored; follow up on each lead; and remember, professional growth comes in all shapes and sizes.

Karan Pratap Singh Lohan

A Marketing expert and a PhD scholar, Karan is the founder of Summit - an online-only career counselling service aimed at ambitious young people in India. He has over a decade of experience with running scalable marketing campaigns across APAC for Fortune 500 clients as well as nonprofits. He holds a BBS degree from Delhi University, an MBA from NTU Singapore and an MPhil in consumer behavior from HKUST Hong Kong.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author

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