If you’d been told a year ago that the commencement speech to the graduates of 2020 would be delivered by the CEO of Alphabet and Google, along with the former President of the United States, Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama, and that there’d be performances by Lady Gaga, Beyonce, and the South Korean band BTS – you may have pictured a glittering stage in a hall full of starry-eyed students ready to take on the world.
You may not, of course, have imagined this happening on You Tube. But, truth, as they say is stranger than fiction. It’s exactly what happened.
The class of 2020 is graduating at a time when the world, as we know it, has changed. What we’re facing today is a 180 degree flip from what was supposed to be. This generation was set to inherit a robust economy and an all-time low unemployment. Instead they are entering the worst job market since the Great Depression. And this is why it’s important, more than ever, for the graduates to know what they want, stay focused on their goals, find the bright spots where the opportunities are (some industries are affected worse than the others) and strategize the best they can to navigate through this unenviable job market.
Also, before we look at how to make the best of a bad situation (and where some of the opportunities lie), here’s a sliver of hope. According to LinkedIn’s data on job postings, businesses in many parts of the world are trying hard to get back to normal. As economies have begun to open, hiring data during the last two weeks have been showing signs of recovery.
If the countries that are seeing a slight rise in hiring after reopening are any examples to go by, then we may see similar trends in elsewhere too – as economies open up and start to get back on their feet. Of course, the recovery will vary by country, but the signs are encouraging (we’ll take any good news we get right now).
Get down your blinders. Readjust your expectations, and think outside the job.
To begin with, you should zero-in on where the growth is. This may or may not be in your area of study. For instance, healthcare and tech are seeing immense opportunities, so if that’s your domain, you should figure out what specific areas are poised for growth.
Also, it’s usually a good idea to look at past precedents for learnings. If you speak to those who graduated in 2008 (during the Great Recession), they’ll have many pearls of wisdom to impart on job hunting during challenging times. One of these is the fact that you need to be realistic in your expectations, and also broaden your search. If you can’t get the job you want, then get creative and look at non-graduate jobs to tide over this time. For instance, one of the most in-demand jobs right now is that of contact tracers (yes, it’s a thing). Four months ago we didn’t know what that was and now it offers huge opportunities for employment (at least for a while). In the US, health departments are looking for thousands of people to do this job and, by some estimates, between 100,000 and 300,000 contact tracers will be needed across the country based on the current infection rates. And this could earn you up to $65,000 per year. Not bad for a recession year, to put it mildly.
This is only one such example of looking beyond the usual areas to stay afloat right now. As you do a thorough study of your field – look at opportunities you may not have considered normally and see how your skills can be applied in some other domain. Follow trends and job boards and stay updated with the new developments that might give you an insight into how to proceed. In 2008, even though unemployment soared, many organizations (in the UK) reported unfilled positions. These were in tech, math, science, engineering and in digital. So opportunities do exist, you just have to know where they are and see if you can avail of them.
A job would be ideal, but in the absence of that you could look for internships too. It’s important to keep your radar on for these. Many organizations are going ahead with their summer internships, albeit virtually. For instance, in April Citibank India organized a virtual induction and training program for interns from the country’s top business and graduate schools. Similarly, in May Amazon launched a 6-8 week global virtual internship program for undergraduates, MBAs, and graduates. These were for business roles, across technology, consumer business, operations, finance, HR, devices, and Amazon Web services. And Google, of course, went ahead with its summer internship, only it made it virtual.
You need to do your homework and figure out the best internship program for you.
Acquire the table-stakes skills
As the world goes virtual, there are a few skills that are an absolute must-have; digital and soft skills being two of them. The combination of the two has now become imperative to surviving and thriving in the workplace. As businesses move to remote-first models, engaging effectively in a virtual realm has become necessary. The requirement, thus, is on only to acquire digital skills, but also soft-skills like collaboration, communication and virtual team-work.
The truth is that remote working is radically transforming the job market, something that could actually end up benefiting new graduates. With organizations going fully remote, working is becoming location agnostic – it’s becoming a truly globalized job market. If Facebook, for instance, is making work from home permanent (for some people), then will it matter if the person is living in California or New Delhi? Probably not – as long you have the set of skills needed for the job.
So, it’s a good idea to invest in honing your digital skills. But first you need to know what these are and do a diagnostic-check to understand what these skills mean in practical terms. PwC, for instance, offers a free Digital Fitness app, that lets people assess their skills. It’s a good idea to carry out such an exercise.
It’s not as bad as you think…
True that this is an extremely challenging year to be entering the job market – but there are opportunities being created and signs of recovery are starting to show. It’s important to watch the trends and keep building on skills. As Sundar Pichai said in, what will down in the annals of history as a historic commencement speech – “Be open, be impatient, be hopeful. If you can do that, history will remember the Class of 2020 not for what you lost, but for what you changed. You have the chance to change everything. I am optimistic you will.”
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TC Global does not share any Personal Information with any third party without your consent, except when directed by the law. TC Global can use this data to verify user identity in line with engagement initiated by the user. We will communicate with you using the contact information provided by you in order to respond to any queries that you may have and to provide any information that you may request regarding the services provided through the Site. We may communicate with you either by written, physical communication, email, telephone, SMS or via notifications on your mobile device. We may also send strictly service-related announcements to you periodically and when it is necessary to do so. For instance, if our services are temporarily suspended for maintenance, we might send you an email, text message, flash notification or telephone call. If you do not wish to receive such alerts, you have the option to unsubscribe from such emails or opt out by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We may use Personal Information or Usage Information collected through the Site in the following ways:
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To notify you about any changes to the Site;
To enable TC Global to comply with its legal and regolatory obligations;
For the purpose of sending administrative notices, service-related alerts and other similar communication with a view to optimizing the efficiency of the Site;
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Marketing activities: We use your information for marketing activities. These activities include:
Using your contact info to send you regolar news about relevant products and services. You can unsubscribe from email marketing communications quickly, easily, and anytime. All you need to do is click the "Unsubscribe" link included in each newsletter or other communication.
Based on your info, individualized offers might be shown to you on the Site, on mobile apps, or on third-party websites/apps (including social media sites), and the content of the site displayed to you might be personalized. These coold be offers that you can book directly on the Site, on co-branded sites, or other third-party offers or products we think you might find interesting.
When you participate in other promotional activities (e.g. sweepstakes, referral programs, or competitions), relevant info will be used to administer these promotions.
Administrative and Legal Reasons:
We cooperate with government and law enforcement officials and private parties to enforce and comply with the law. Thus, we may access, use, store, transfer and disclose your information (including Personal Information), including disclosure to third parties such as government or law enforcement officials or private parties as we reasonably determine is necessary and appropriate: (i) to satisfy any applicable law, regolation, governmental requests or legal process; (ii) to protect the safety, rights, property or security of TC Global, our services, the Site or any third party; (iii) to protect the safety of the public for any reason; (iv) to detect, prevent or otherwise address fraud, security or technical issues; and /or (v) to prevent or stop any activity we consider to be, or to pose a risk of being, an illegal, unethical, or legally actionable activity. Such disclosures may be carried out without notice to you.
THIRD PARTY CONTENT AND LINKS TO THIRD PARTY SERVICES
We do not include or offer third party products or services on our Site.
Your information will be retained with TC Global as long as it is needed by TC Global to provide services to you. If you wish to cancel your account or request that TC Global no longer uses your information to provide services, you may contact TC Global at email@example.com.. TC Global will promptly delete the information as requested. TC Global will retain and use your information as necessary to comply with its legal obligations, resolve disputes, and enforce its agreements or for other business purposes. When TC Global has no ongoing legitimate business need to process your information, we will either delete or anonymize it.
CONTACT & POLICY UPDATES
CHANGE OF INFORMATION AND CANCELLATION OF ACCOUNT
You are responsible for maintaining the accuracy of the information you submit to us, such as your contact information provided as part of account registration. If your Personal Information changes, or if you no longer desire to access the Site, you may correct, delete inaccuracies, or amend information by contacting us through firstname.lastname@example.org and we will respond within 72 hours of receipt of communication.
You have the right to request that we rectify or delete the personal data or restrict the processing of your personal data, if you think they are inaccurate. Furthermore, you have the right to object against the processing based on our legitimate interests as a legal basis. We are required to assess and act on your request. Additionally, you also have the right to data portability if it shoold become relevant. You have a right to lodge a complaint with your local supervisory authority.
[You may also cancel or modify your communications that you have elected to receive from the Site by logging into your user account and changing your communication preferences.
If you wish to cancel your account or request that we no longer use your information to provide you details with respect to our services and the Site, please write to us at email@example.com.
If you wish to opt out of receiving non-essential communications such as promotional and marketing-related information regarding the Site and our services, please send TC Global an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By email: email@example.com
In the event of any grievances, user can contact the grievance officer at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to us at the following address:
The Chopras Global Holdings PTE Ltd
No. 3 Shenton Way
#10-05/06, Shenton House