If there is one word that defines the collective mood in the world, ‘uncertainty’ would perhaps be the best way to describe it. Just as the world welcomed a new decade with all the fun and the fervor tragedy struck. The initial reports of a virus infection in Wuhan, China didn’t set the alarm bells ringing around the world. After all we had already witnessed SARS, MERS, Ebola and Zika outbreaks in the last two decades. While threatening they were in terms of deaths and infection rates, most of these remained localized and didn’t bring the whole of the planet to halt.
Covid-19 has been different as it has hit the entire world with the developed countries with the best healthcare facilities hit hardest. At last count more than 14 million people around the world have been infected with this dreaded virus and upward of 6 hundred thousand people have lost their lives. Millions more are likely to be hit by this virus in the coming months as the infection shows no signs of receding. Major economies around the world have shrunk and it might take even a decade for some of the countries hardest hit by this virus to get their economy back to full steam.
If you were about to finish your course and planning to apply for a job or have lost your present job these times can surely be depressing. There are not too many businesses around the world that are in position to hire people in bulk like they did in the past. The signals that we are receiving from different industry bodies both national and global are painting a gloomy picture. While there are few green shoots in the economy, they are too few and don’t really encourage people who’d be looking for jobs when the pandemic starts showing signs of reversal and restrictions are lifted.
As a student of fashion designing and marketing you are likely to face even tougher challenges and this industry will take time to recover from the losses that it has suffered and continues to suffer in the coming months. The shrinking of disposal income is likely to create problems on the demand side of the economy and this will immediately have a rippling effect on how fashion labels spend in terms of building their capacity and hiring new people. Faction products and other merchandise aren’t likely to be the first priority for consumers once the economy starts recovering.
But you can’t stop, you can’t burry your mind in a world of negativity. Human race has overcomes challenges in the past and will come out of this crisis too. Whether it was outbreak of the Spanish Flu a century back or the World War II that destroyed economies from around the world, we have always fought back to earn our place. India as a nation has always stood out resiliently during times of crisis and people have built the nation and the economy from brink of disaster. Whether it was building the economy in the aftermath of the tragic partition or when 1991 Economic Crisis forced us to take hard economic decisions that sparked the growth of Indian economy. It isn’t only the governments and businesses that have written the success story but ordinary people who have walked the extra miles, taken the new ways of life positively that us made us the 5th largest economy in the world.
As a student or one who will be looking for a job once there are positive signals from the economy you need to focus on staying relevant, upping your skills and focus on building your career in a world that is going to be different from what you have known so far in your life. Let us take you through five tips that will help you get job-ready when the Covid-19 pandemic ends –
- Stay Focused
While there is no denying the fact that the Novel Coronavirus is a severally infectious disease that strikes its victim without any warning, its real threat may lie elsewhere. While more than 14 million people have tested positive for this dreaded illness, many more are suffering from mental health problems due to the ongoing crisis. Psychologists and mental health experts are working overtime to help people come out of the state of paranoia that can very well lead to acute depression in millions of cases.
The working class and the student community are worst affected by this. As someone who was planning to start a career in immediate future all your plans may have been jeopardized with this pandemic. Interviews have been cancelled and many job offers have been withdrawan without any clear direction to the job aspirants. If you are one of them you’d know how depressing the situation is at the moment. But all said and done you cannot afford to lose your focus. This is perhaps the most trying moment in your life and you will need to stay determined to face that challenges that would come your way in the future.
- Accept The New Normal
The early days of the lockdown saw most students and aspiring job seekers take ‘Remote Learning’ with a sense of disbelief. After all few weeks of break from classrooms and projects wasn’t likely to affect learning or the course curriculum. Depressing as it may sound the spread of this infection is showing no signs of reversal. It is still few months from when we will start witnessing the sought after ‘flattening of the curve’ in India. When can we resume our normal lives as it was pre-pandemic remains a big question mark. This is where you will need to start adjusting to the ‘New Normal’.
American philosopher William James famously said “Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune.” This is the time when you need to accept this ‘New Normal’. If you are pursuing a course you will need to accept remote classes as the most feasible model of delivery as far as your course is concerned. There is no guarantee on when you will be able to sit in a physical classroom and discuss the topics with your peers.
Though remote classes aren’t a new concept they were never envisioned to completely replace physical classrooms. But the risk of stepping out of the homes and travel restrictions has made them the only means of continuity. This is here to stay and you will need to accept this reality if you are looking to prepare yourself for the job market once this pandemic ends.
- Start Preparing for the Post-Covid Market
It goes without saying that the post-Covid job market would be anything but what you had planned for in the past. Economy has been hit by a sledgehammer and it is the worst that enterprises around the world are facing since the World War II. The 2008-09 Global Financial Crisis, the last major economic downturn in recent memory now seems like a blip as compared to one we are living through. Millions of people have lost their jobs around the world. More of less every sector has been hit hard with some like hospitality, tourism and aviation living through the worst nightmare.
All this would mean that hiring across the industry is likely to be extremely skill based, need based, and role based. The days of bulk placements out of campus will be a thing of the past for the next couple of years. Apart from the usual questions related to your field of study you may be tested on your skills to work remotely and collaborate with different team members virtually. Any and everything that can be done remotely would be done remotely in the near future. Right from being interviewed virtually to sit through digital training sessions you will have to start preparing to deliver your best sitting thousands of kilometres away from your mentors and supervisors. The usual handholding that most newcomers have benefitted from in the past isn’t likely to happen in the immediate future. This is where you need to get yourself accustomed to the tools and platforms that are being used in the new work environment.
- Focus on Skill Development
While there are dozens of reasons to be frustrated about the lockdown and the new restrictions on your life there are few positives to it. As a student if you had ever thought about the need to add to your skills, the time is now. There are dozens of online courses that you can sign up to and add to your skills. For instance as a student of Fashion Designing and Marketing you can enrol into short-term diploma courses in Personal Styling, Fashion Photography, Fashion Illustration etc.
Students should harness the power of several professional courses that institutions of higher learning are offering amid the lockdown. Most of these courses are being offered remotely and this allows you to learn from experts from around the world. One a positive note many of the skill development courses being offered digitally these days require you to attend the classes physically in the past. These courses will not only help you in adding to your CV and improving your odds at an interview but unwind your mind from the constant news items you read about the gloomy picture of the economy and the job market. It is important for you to bear in mind that definitive picture on when this crisis will end how the job market would evolve is still not known to anyone. It is impossible for you to have control over what happens with the job market but adding to your skills is all within your control and that’s what your mind should be completely focussed on.
- Keep A Fall Back Plan
All said and done there is no assurance that you are likely to find employment as soon as the industry resumes hiring. The job market is going to be extremely tough for the next few years. While you are likely to give your best effort to find a job, you also need to have a contingency plan ready in case you don’t crack the interviews. You can explore options like opting for a career which is related to your field or study and not the exact one you had been planning for. You can also explore further studies so that you are able to add to your qualification till the market stabilizes or take an entrepreneurial route.
This is perhaps one of the most important things to do at this moment given the amount of uncertainty in the market. Failing to find a job can get into your mind and this may result in paranoia and depression. It is important for you to have a fall back plan ready that will help you tide through the worst case scenario where you don’t find your dream job. Not having a Plan-B or even Plan-C in such critical times can take a toll on your career as well as your confidence levels. Remember every job or venture would offer you a new learning experience and this is way better than standing dejected on not being able to start a career once you are done with your education.
To sum up, students and aspiring job seekers will have to play a leading role when the economy opens after the pandemic ends. You will have to be the flag bearers of the economy and play your part in getting the juggernaut to roll once we have seen through the peak of Covid-19 crisis. As we have mentioned earlier human race has always overcome crisis that have hit us and we have learned our lessons from each of those dredged events in history. We shall learn our lessons in this too whether it is personal hygiene and social distancing or to take pandemic more seriously than perhaps we did in the early days. It is time for you to stay focused and positive. Negativity would just ruin your prospects in a post Covid-19 job market.