Posted November 9, 2020 by Mark Perna
Pandemic-proof your career with these seven strategies. Mark’s article, “Hey Gen-Z, This Is How To Get Yourself Hired,” published at Forbes.com on October 28, 2020.
While the economy is starting to pick back up, we’re still a long way off from the booming economy before the pandemic. If you’re a Gen-Z job seeker, this complicates the already-daunting task of choosing a career direction, getting the education and training squared away and then actually landing a job in your field.
Luckily, there’s a wealth of advice on the topic, along with recent insights from a recent Tallo study, where nearly 10,000 high school and college students talked about their career plans and priorities in the wake of the pandemic.
I connected with Tallo CEO Casey Welch to translate Tallo’s survey results into actionable career strategies. Here are seven ways you can approach your career with a plan—and get yourself hired.
In December last year, 59% of Gen-Z students strongly agreed that it is important to establish connections with employers—if they didn’t have an immediate job opening. Several months and a pandemic later, that percentage shot up to 81%. “This is a critical piece of information for Gen-Z job candidates,” says Welch. “Network now…don’t wait!”
Even if it doesn’t appear they’re hiring, you should reach out now to the companies you want to work for. Employers will be looking to build relationships with talent earlier in the game, so start connecting now with something a little more proactive than just a nice bio on LinkedIn. It will pay off in the long run.
“In some ways, the pandemic has actually increased accessibility and flexibility,” says Welch. One example is how in-person recruiting events have transitioned to virtual. “Recruiters are now able to reach Gen-Zers who are outside of metropolitan areas,” says Welch. A virtual platform means you don’t have to worry about securing transportation to and from career fairs. Plus, many of these virtual events have flexible hours, so you can still participate regardless of your work or class schedules.
College is $$$, but fortunately there are lots of other choices nowadays. Add the exploding cost of college to COVID-19’s economic crisis, and it’s no surprise that skills-based training is in. “In turn, more companies are lowering the degree requirements and emphasizing skills when hiring,” says Welch.
One more benefit of bypassing the traditional four-year degree route? You can get going in your career sooner. “As credentialing and two-year degree programs become more popular, Gen-Z talent will be able to enter the workforce at a younger age,” says Welch. College isn’t the only way to win anymore, so consider all your options.College isn’t the only way to win anymore, so consider all your options. Click To Tweet
As everything moves online, your generation is realizing the importance of a personal professional brand sooner than most. “When developing their professional brand, Gen-Z should consider how to best compile their skills, experience, accomplishments, and even future goals in a professional package to potential employers,” says Welch.
And don’t forget: your professional brand is never completed. You should continually adjust it as you grow in your career.
“A lot of students believe they don’t have anything to showcase in a professional portfolio or resume since they haven’t had a full-time job yet…not true!” says Welch. “Recruiters tell us that summer jobs, after school clubs and activities and even things like helping younger siblings with their homework or online schooling can demonstrate hirable skills.”
Think about how your experiences equip you for the world of work and leverage it in your personal brand.Think about how your experiences equip you for the world of work and leverage it in your personal brand. Click To Tweet
Nearly three-quarters of the Gen-Z students surveyed said they’d be interested in remote work. “Remote work is so accessible that Gen-Zers don’t have to choose between living in a place they love and pursuing their ideal career,” says Welch. “Candidates are realizing that they have more options and leverage in their job search, now that anyone can work from anywhere and make a meaningful contribution to the success of their company,” says Welch.
If you’re up for the work-from-home life, cast a wider net in your job search. Everyone else will be.
With more than 1 in 3 of your generation planning to stay at their first full-time job for four+ years, it’s clear that job security and financial stability matter. Employers who are taking note of this trend will make sure they tell you about it in the job description. “Employers recognize that finding a candidate who is the right fit for their company is key to retaining them over the years,” says Welch.
If the long-term potential of the position isn’t clear, ask about it. You want room to grow.
This one goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyways: be adaptable. With the world changing so quickly, you’ll always be learning new skills, upskilling the old ones and expanding what you’re capable of. Adaptability, or the capacity to thrive in changing circumstances, is a critical skill to possess—now more than ever. Pandemic-proof your future by building your adaptability.
No doubt about it, your generation is entering adulthood and the workforce amid difficult times. But with these strategies on your side, you’re up to the challenge.