If you’re a college or university student whose career plans have been thrown into disarray by COVID-19, there still are steps you can take to prepare yourself for the job market when things return to “normal”.
Think about how you present yourself to others.
Some call this “branding” – a term normally reserved for businesses or products. But the concept applies equally to individuals. Personal branding is the image or impression you form in the eyes of others. Some say it is “what people say about you when you leave the room.”
Your personal brand is influenced by many things including your actions, how you dress, and your social media presence. Here is a great article on the subject from Forbes magazine 10 Golden Rules of Personal Branding. You might also want to check out www.DorieClark.com who is considered the personal branding expert and has published several good books on the topic.
Complete online assessment tests.
Assessment testing is a worthwhile process to go through as it can be a great way to discover interests or skills you didn’t know you have. It can also be useful in helping with course selection and directing you toward a career path.
There are many tests available online and your school’s career services area might have some available to you. One popular test is CliftonStrengths34. There is a CliftonStrengths for Students on that page too. There is a cost associated with completing these tests, but they are very good.
The Personal Values Assessment test is also a great tool. It’s free and I am sure you will find your results informative.
I want to remind you that you can download a free copy of my book PINNACLE: How to Land the Right Job and Find Fulfillment in Your Career right here.
Learn about public speaking.
Public speaking is one of the most important skills for the workplace. If you are good at public speaking you will project confidence and this is an effective way to differentiate yourself from your peers.
The problem right now is that there are no classes going on, and no good opportunities to practise. However, don’t waste this time. You can visit www.TED.com to watch great speakers in action and learn their tactics.
Visit the career centre virtually.
Every university and community college has a career centre. Normally you would drop in and meet with a career counsellor in person. Of course, that’s not possible right now but most have transitioned to conducting meetings virtually.
You should definitely take advantage of this resource. The career counsellors are there to help you learn about different career options, tell you about permanent and summer-time job opportunities, and help prepare your resume and cover letter.
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At some point—no one knows when exactly—things will return to some semblance of normal.
Since so many people have been laid off or dismissed from their jobs, the market will be extra competitive. That’s why you will have to stand out from the crowd.