Nurul Shamsuri: Entering Workforce Post Covid-19 World: What Our Graduates Should Know
Article by Nurul Ashiqin Shamsuri, Founder of Clue to the Zoo, Malaysia.
For the last three or four years you have been studying for your degree, with the hope that all of your hard work and many sleepless nights will eventually pay off. But who could have predicted that 2020 would be the year the world would grind to a complete halt? And 2021 is not much of an improvement neither?
We are currently living in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) world. The true meaning of this has been accelerated with the current pandemic. The only certainty we have right now is everything is uncertain.
What does this mean to our Graduates entering the workforce in the post Covid19 world?
It means one thing.
Everything is changing at a dizzying speed. So does demands from employers. Graduates have to pay attention to the qualities employers are looking for and make sure that they have the right skills taking into context how radical the changes can be at any time.
How can graduating students and young professionals ensure they have the right skills?
If anyone actually goes to Google right now and simply types in the qualities employers are looking for in fresh graduates’ post Covid19 world, you can simply divide all the skills into two main groups and they are supremely critical:
The ability to unlearn and learn new things and apply what you know in rapidly changing contexts.
This is the time to upskills yourself.
Upskilling is something that is becoming increasingly relevant, particularly in today’s climate with the COVID-19 pandemic. Many individuals have found themselves re-evaluating their careers, or wanting to make good use of their increased spare time. Upskilling has also become necessary to survive in the current job market, which is ever more competitive and fast-paced.
Upskilling efforts are unique to yourself and how far along you may be, if at all, within your career or digital transformation journey. What types of skills are necessary for you to compete to get into the workforce: technical skills, digital acumen or soft skills?
Assess which direction you want to go into building your career and evaluate which skills need to be upskill necessarily.
Why you should upskill yourself?
1. You will have the potential to progress within your chosen career.
2. Not only it increases but it also boosts your employability and allows you to change to a slightly different job.
3. The more skills you develop, the more opportunities will be available to you.
4. By staying relevant to the industry and not lagging behind, you increased your job security.
5. Upskilling also boosts your morale and productivity.
Upskilling helps you broaden your horizon and give you a better understanding of the business you work in. So why not?
2. 21st-century skills
Communication skills, adaptability, problem-solving, critical thinking, finding information, working in teams, and empathy.
These are timeless skills and, in fact, the very things that make us more human in a world where computers can do more and more. If you are worried that Artificial Intelligence might take over the world, honing 21st-century skills might secure you in your job.
With most workplaces experiencing an uncertain future, communication skills have never been more critical. Communication skills cover verbal and writing skills, but they also include behaviour. Positivity, empathy, patience, and understanding will go a long way too.
The key for anyone looking for employment opportunities during these challenging times is to be positive, eager to learn and to be adaptable to different environments and situations. With situations changing daily and companies having to navigate the business through unprecedented times, aware and supportive colleagues are celebrated.
Besides the two grouped skills, another aspect that fresh graduates need to have in order to flourish is to have a growth mindset.
Individuals with a growth mindset are individuals who believe their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies, and input from others) have a growth mindset. They tend to achieve more than those with a more fixed mindset (those who believe their talents are innate gifts). This is because they worry less about looking smart and they put more energy into learning. This quality makes a graduate super attractive to hire.
So that’s it.
These are some of the things a graduate need to know when you are entering the workforce. It is certainly a challenging time now but human possessed amazing spirits and with grit and good strategy, we will come out of this pandemic stronger than ever.
On the final note, be proud of yourself for facing challenges that many people will never experience.
No matter what you decide to do, don’t forget to pat yourself in the back for your determination to keep persevering. Apart from that, take care of yourself and the people around you as we navigate this situation together.