Job Hunting During COVID19
With the recent COVID-19 pandemic across the world, socio-economic problems, especially unemployment, are inevitable; many youths in Nigeria are becoming unemployed with each passing day, and further they go below poverty line. Many sectors such as hospitality, tourism, real estate, manufacturing, retail businesses, transportation and travel have been depressingly impacted, and have had to let many workers go. The issue of unemployment is not peculiar to Nigeria; however, the bane of concern is based on the 2019 youth unemployment rate reported disclosed by Senator Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, as approximately 30%. One might wonder what the rate is, now that many people are out of jobs. For the purpose of this blogpost, we will refer to the unemployed as economically active population, who are without work but available for and seeking for work, with the inclusion of people who have lost their jobs and those who left work voluntarily.
Nigeria, which currently battles with social deficits like housing, water, food, health care, and education, among others, will have to brace up for the huge impact COVID-19 will have on these shortfalls, and the implication on its citizens. It is not far-fetched that high unemployment rate among youths will invariably lead to social vices such as armed robberies, kidnappings, drug abuse, insurgency and above all suicides. Many organizations have retrenched workers, making many employed skilled youths return to labour markets. While few people have benefitted from the palliatives doled out by government, what then is the fate of millions of Nigerian youth who have no idea where the next meal will come from nor where the next job will come from?
We have put together some tips to help youths gain employment during this pandemic and enable them keep body and soul together. They are:
- Strengthen online networks: During this downtime, seize the perfect opportunity to make new authentic connections and revive old ones. Increase your digital presence and tap into networks that might include friends, professional mentors, and old colleagues to see if there are vacancies around. Update your LinkedIn profile, ask for recommendations and join groups such as LinkedIn’s Global Marketing and Communications Professionals group. Reach out to new and existing contacts and comment on people’s posts, that way, you get noticed.
- Revamp your CV: Take the time to revamp your resume and online profiles to highlight your current career accomplishments, education, passions and skills. Post your resume on all job boards, including LinkedIn, Indeed, and Glassdoor and ensure you customize your applications to fit the roles.
- Research on thriving organizations: An important question is, are they supporting workers or laying them off? Know that, if a business can survive the next few months, it may be a company to consider working for. Most tech companies are equipped to transition their in-office roles to remote ones in efforts to keep things going as usual. Additionally, healthcare and manufacturing companies are also hiring rapidly as the demand for resources continues to spike due to COVID-19.
- Prepare for remote hiring: Searching for jobs in your intended field or not, you must become becoming comfortable with remote hiring and online networking alternatives. Virtual interviews are likely to become more popular in the short-term. Find a friend to practice phone or SKYPE mock interviews with, to help sharpen your interview skills.
- Hone your skills: There might be ample time to surf all social media platforms, but you can invest more data time by going online to build your capacity. If you lack a skill that is required in your dream job, now's the time to make yourself the ideal candidate. There are many sites where you can study and get certifications online, some are free, some you pay a little token. They are Coursera, Khan Academy, Udemy, edX, Alison, Stanford Online, Harvard Extension, Yale Courses, UC Berkeley Central, MIT OpenCourseware, Codeacademy, etc.
- Take care of your mental health: There is great tension everywhere during this period. You might receive many rejection emails but it is all part of the process. While you get set for that dream job, please know your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Don’t ignore it. Stress less!
- Opportunity for extra income: Supplement with remote work. There are many options available for people with little or no experience, such as data entry or transcribing audio files into written documents. Also, you can learn digital marketing and make money from your bedroom. Other options are social media intern, virtual assistant, customer representative, etc.
- Don’t give up: Keep applying. Maintain momentum even if you are not hearing back from employers. Set a daily application goal and reward yourself in small, meaningful ways after reaching it, such as having a hangout with a friend, seeing movies or reading your favourite book.
The bottom line is that hiring is slowing down but, there is still hope and you can work remotely. Be patient, persistent, and flexible. There will still be many recruitments after the pandemic. By following these strategies, when they do start looking for top talent, you’ll be ready.
Compiled by: Dolapo Olaniyan
Sourced from: forbes.com; hbr.org; nextbillion,net; nairametrics.com