Maritha Osekre-Amey is Executive Director and Co-founder of WD Smart Things Company Limited. In addition to being a freelance poet and writer, Maritha is also an accomplished academic. She has a Master’s Degree in International Management from the University of Liverpool, a Cambridge University Certificate in Teaching and a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Ghana.
This week on Let’s Get You Hired Maritha describes what the professional market has become as a result of COVID-19. She also gives us a job-market survival guide for a world after the pandemic.
How COVID Has Affected Employment
Speaking on the effects of the pandemic, Maritha classifies its impact into the ugly, the bad and—surprisingly—the good. The ugliness, she says, is that millions of people have lost their jobs globally. And to top that off, job seekers who may just have found employment have had those positions put on hold by the companies that had the openings. There’s also the fact that workers who have to commute also have to worry about their safety now.
And then we have the bad; recruitment is closed in most industries. In addition to that, things have gone virtual and your existing skillset might not cut it in the new job market—that is, not without some effort on your part.
Finally, we have the silver lining in all of this. COVID-19 has put us in a position where we can get some perspective and improve on ourselves. In Maritha’s words, you can’t self-develop when you have a job. You can’t focus on growing or expanding your skillset because you’re focused on your job.
What You Can Do: Re-skill
If you have lost your job or were previously unemployed, one thing that you can do to increase your prospects of finding new employment is to re-skill.
There are certain skills that have become more important to employers during this period. A lot of those skills are digital, as a result of the increase in remote work arrangements prompted by COVID. You need to re-skill; that is, rectify the skill gap between yourself and current job requirements. Identify the skills that you are missing, and develop them through the numerous resources available online.
Another thing that Maritha believes employers will be on the lookout for during this period is a candidate’s core competencies. Those are fundamental things that make any candidate more hireable. They are Problem Solving Skills, Creativity, Analytical Thinking, Collaboration, Communication and Ethics.
Another thing that you can do during this period is to renew yourself, according to Maritha. You should rebrand. It’s a time when people are trying all sorts of this, and you should too. Come out of your comfort zone; be introspective and figure out if the field that you have been in is where you want to be.
Another thing that you should take note of is that people are finding entrepreneurial opportunities during this time. We are actively spending more time online, and it has affected the market for online goods and services. If you are unemployed, you can undertake entrepreneurial ventures while you job search. That way not only do you gain some experience, but you may be able to find a source of cash-flow while you wait to be hired.
Finally, Maritha advises that during your job search, you find a niche. Don’t try to be a person who can fit in any role. Instead, try to be the type of person that will excel in a particular role.
It can be tough to lose a job. It’s similarly difficult to keep applying for roles that end up not working out. That’s why it’s important that you re-energize. It’s not unpopular to feel a little beaten and down in these times. However, as much as those feelings are valid, you need to ensure that you process them and then pick yourself right back up.
What you can do during this period is try to get yourself in the right frame of mind. Keep planning things out, keep applying for jobs, keep refreshing your CV and just generally keep upgrading yourself.
Let’s Get You Hired is a weekly manual for job seekers. The series contains guides and tips on CVs, Interviews and other resources to get you hired.
Source: Osekre-Amey Maritha, Executive Director at WD Smart Things Center; Africa Skills Hub