This authored article by Karunjit Kumar Dhir – Co-Founder, SCIKEY originally published in Education Times
This COVID-19 pandemic could affect the career prospects for fresh graduates adversely. As prolonged social distancing is going to be the new norm and as a lot of businesses have been hit hard by this pandemic forcing a lot of employers to cut jobs induce pay cuts; what is going to be the job opportunities like for fresh graduates who just entered the job market with very high hopes at the onset of this new year 2020?
Before we get into the opportunities, let us quickly understand what are a few trends in the current employment market. While on one side we see a lot of employers slashing full-time jobs hiring budgets; on the other side there are businesses who need additional talent to support the surge in demand for their products services. However, as a lot of uncertainty still prevails; these employers also are not comfortable making long-term employment commitments to the talent they engage for such short to mid-term work needs. So where is the opportunity for the fresh graduates in all this? Well, the good news is there are a lot of temporary, short-term, gig-based remote working opportunities that are gaining momentum. So, if you are a fresh graduate who is open to remotely working from your place of choice, comfortable with the use of a laptop and got access to the internet and willingness to stay committed to your work related deliverables; worry not, as you may have a big opportunity in this era of gig economy remote working.
Here are a few ways to secure a virtual job-
Ask yourself what are you best at – What are some of your core skills that you can leverage to make an income irrespective of whether you work for a company as a full-time employee or remotely as a freelancer/ gig-worker on your own. The list can be endless and the key is to explore within to find out your core strength.
Determine what really motivates you to work remotely and build your purpose around it – Will you enjoy it because it gives you ample freedom to work anytime from anywhere? Or because it allows to juggle multiple different assignments at the same time, exercising your different skills? Or the fact that you do not have to worry about daily painful(usually) commute to office and can also save on associated costs? Or the very fact that you are your own boss and you do not need anyone else’s permission to avail a leave or to go for a vacation? Bottomline is, you have to find “your reason” that helps you to keep going for this model of virtual working.
Finding the right gigs or remote job at the right place – Start exploring sites that frequently post job opportunities. You will be able to notice the names of some common employers and some who are posting work very frequently. May be that is your first point of exploration and you can slowly build from there on, as you gain more experience working in this model.
How do you showcase yourself to land a remote job – As this is a completely different format for working, you will need to exhibit your go-getter approach, familiarity with technology tools (like Teams, Zoom, Slack, Skype, Google Hangouts etc), communication skills, portfolio of any past work(even if it was some voluntary project etc) that you may successfully delivered, flexibility etc.
Understand what these remote/ virtual employers value the most – you have started taking up your initial work assignments but yet to figure out the “success mantra”. Though virtual or remote working may seem very easy or casual to some but it is not. Rather it is the total opposite. The only person responsible for delivering the assignment is you the only person monitoring to ensure that it is delivered in-line with the client expectations is also you. There is no boss or supervisor or manager looking into it. So you will need to appreciate that the top 2 factors that make you successful by winning your clients’ trust in a remote or virtual working setup are – Trust Credibility. So in order to be a successful remote worker you have got to ensure that you love your work so much that you do deliver it on time, every time and that you communicate to engage pro-actively. And, that is what will lead to building trust credibility over time.
When you have landed your first virtual job, you will need to prepare yourself for a different onboarding experience – So do reach out to your virtual employer to get ready with the basics like – are you working solo on this assignment or will you a part of a virtual team, which tool will they use to onboard you introduce you with the rest of the project team(if any), any specific hardware or software related preparations that they expect you to be ready with(a specific laptop configuration, preferred internet bandwidth, any specific apps etc), learning about how they prefer to communicate including timings/ time zones, tools etc, and if you’re part of a virtual team try to get to know your virtual colleagues learn from their experience as well.
Accept the fact that you might be siting working alone (physically).
If possible, prepare a comfortable working setup at home – home office.
Try to master the use of a few commonly used technology tools.
Try to establish a work schedule for yourself as otherwise you may end up over or under-working.
If you’re working on some gigs as a part of some virtual team, try to establish connections make friends so that you do not feel too lonely. Also try to learn their communication preferences.
Take a break from routine do get into conversations with your real friends family; outside the boundaries of this virtual work virtual teams.
Do not be too hard on yourself – do take your deliverables seriously deliver on time but space out your assignments in a way that you get ample breathing space for yourself in between assignments.
Keep a daily weekly work planner.
Try to find some mentors who are expert in virtual working learn from them.
Ask for help, build a self-service mindset and do learn to manage isolation mental health – this is very important.
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