A global pandemic might seem like the worst possible situation in which to plan a future career. Many university campuses are closed, the job market is stalling and businesses worldwide are struggling, with reports of revenue losses, staff layoffs and closures.
But while the COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly had a range of negative economic consequences, there are still many opportunities for individuals thinking about their careers, whether they’re students or long-term employees considering a change of direction.
Not only are certain sectors of the job market, particularly in technology, logistics and online media, actually growing, but the economic recovery that is expected once the pandemic passes will likely create a range of openings for talented, committed candidates.
In this post, we’re going to cover four steps that will help you determine your future career path, irrespective of the challenges presented by COVID-19.
1. Clearly Define Your Values, Talents and Passions
When putting together a career plan, it’s easy to focus exclusively on concrete, specific considerations like degree options and openings in the job market. But it’s equally important to build a solid foundation that incorporates your broader motivations. And one way of doing that is by outlining what your ideal career looks like.
The COVID-19 pandemic is an excellent time for self-reflection. The likelihood is that you have a greater amount of free time and fewer responsibilities than normal. Putting together a picture of your values, talents, interests and broader passions will provide you with a loose roadmap you can use to evaluate all the options and opportunities you will face further down the line.
You can also use this time to explore new skills and interests, which can be a particularly useful endeavour if you’re uncertain about which direction you want to go in. Certain proficiencies will help you to thrive in a post-COVID-19 landscape. Familiarity with digital tech infrastructure, for example, will be considered a significant asset by employers.
2. Be Honest and Realistic About the Job Market
It’s crucial to recognise from the outset that passion for a particular topic isn’t always enough to build a successful career. And many young people go awry by focusing exclusively on their interests and passions at the expense of all other factors.
Rather than relying on your passion alone as your guiding landmark, you should instead search for a “sweet spot” where your passions overlap with demand in the job market. This is where you will likely find the most promising and meaningful career opportunities.
Some job sectors are expected to grow substantially in the coming months and years. Equally, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the rise in demand for candidates with certain qualifications and skill-sets.
Areas of expertise that are expected to benefit from high competition in a post-COVID-19 world include information technology, healthcare, logistics, cybersecurity and, unsurprisingly, crisis management.
Use this time to thoroughly research the job market, drawing on data about existing trends and forecasts. Developing an understanding of this will enable you to pursue a career that provides both meaning and financial security.
3. Evaluate Further Education Options
While universities and colleges are still adapting to an ongoing crisis, most are now operating full course schedules, albeit with reduced in-person classes. As academic institutions slowly return to normality, don’t feel that you have to suspend further education, graduate or postgraduate study.
Once you have clarified your underlying values and identified a specific sector you would like to enter, the next step is to gain relevant qualifications and experience. And even though the new academic year recently started, it is never too early to start thinking about university.
Many different types of programs are available, from foundation courses lasting a few months to Bachelor and Master degrees that require a commitment of several years.
Degree programs can differ significantly in their scope, so you should do extensive research before putting together a final shortlist. At EU Business School, for example, we offer a number of business degrees each with their own specific emphases, such as international relations, sports management, entrepreneurship and more.
4. Take Advantage of Under-Utilized Job Search Strategies
In the past, applying for jobs was a relatively straightforward process. Candidates would search through listings in newspapers or send applications directly to companies they liked. Nowadays, however, the application process is much more multi-faceted, and individuals that embrace this reality are much more likely to find their ideal job.
When you start searching for openings, don’t rely exclusively on accepted methods like job sites. While these shouldn’t be sidelined, it’s also good practice to widen your search by leveraging social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, personal networks and direct outreach to your ideal companies.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that a growing number of businesses are offering remote positions. This means that you aren’t necessarily restricted to your local area, and can widen your search to include companies in other countries and even continents.
Prepare Yourself for a Successful, Meaningful Career
Picking a career path isn’t easy. There are lots of factors to consider, including your interests, talents, values and the concrete reality of the job market.
If you are excited by the idea of a career in business, perhaps at a well-known company or as the head of your own startup, then a degree from EU Business School will provide you with the skills and experience that you need to thrive in your chosen field. What’s more, business qualifications are incredibly versatile, giving access to an array of industries and opportunities for specialization.