Roughly defined, career readiness refers to the process of preparing yourself (or the pupils you educate) to get a job and make a success of it. It’s a relatively broad and somewhat ambiguous term, which means different things to different people.
As highlighted by market research firm LISTed TECH, the lingering impact of the economic turbulence brought about by COVID-19 is expected to be felt for some time. Whether unemployed, furloughed or still working though with little scope for career advancement, there’s never been a more important time to focus on your future progression.
Precisely why workers and jobseekers in growing numbers are looking to upskill, reskill and in some cases return to their education, in the hope of enhancing their long-term career prospects.
Shifting Priorities Post COVID-19
All over the world, businesses are likely to suffer the ill effects of the global pandemic for several years. From major layoffs to company downsizing to suspension or permanent termination of activities, small and large businesses alike are finding themselves with no choice but to reconsider their priorities.
Something that extends to their preferences and requirements where their work is concerned – the desire to hire and retain only the most capable and exceptional candidates is universal.
As it stands, proactive and forward-thinking businesses have no place for substandard workers. Even if they’re willing to work for a lower salary, hiring cheap at the expense of skills and experience is not conducive with long-term stability and prosperity.
Instead, there are certain soft skills and hard skills employers worldwide are prioritizing in their hiring practices right now.
Soft Skills Employers Are Interested In
- Adaptability and flexibility. Increasingly, employers are prioritizing the kinds of workers who can both multitask and adapt to changing demands at a moment’s notice. The unpredictability of the current situation makes adaptability and flexibility an attractive quality.
- Problem-solving. The same can also be said for problem-solving, as the immediate outlook is one of non-stop challenges ahead.
- Emotional intelligence. This is technically something you cannot teach, but can nonetheless work on as a person. Emotional intelligence (EQ) refers to a person’s ability to understand the needs, emotions, actions, decisions, behaviors and personalities of those around them.
- Eagerness to learn. The motivation to continue learning and upskilling at every possible opportunity has always been an attractive quality for employers – now more than ever.
Hard skills employers are interested in
- Programming/coding. Job opportunities for skilled and knowledgeable coders (and anyone who knows their way around programming languages) are wide open right now. This is also an area of the job market that’s likely to continue growing indefinitely.
- Sales and marketing. Businesses need to get back on their feet in the wake of the coronavirus crisis and start selling their products and services again. Those who’ve mastered the art of marketing and selling to an identified target audience could thrive going forwards.
- Customer service. It’s a similar story with customer service, calling for representatives and leadership personnel who can understand and relate to the priorities and concerns of customers in a post-COVID market.
- Maintenance and construction. At some point, there’s likely to be a boom in hiring when the construction and maintenance sector once again gets back to business. At which point, those who are qualified and knowledgeable in key areas will gain an edge over rival candidates.
Traditional Education Vs Distance Learning
Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of adult learners and employees pursuing career advancement are now setting their sights on online educational opportunities. There are myriad reasons why distance learning has become such a popular option over recent years – not least of which being the risks posed by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Aside from the virus, distance learning is attracting candidates from all backgrounds due to its convenience, flexibility and affordability. Perhaps the ultimate self-managed career readiness solution for ambitious professionals, distance learning provides the opportunity to build both hard skills and soft skills at the preferred pace of the learner.
Online courses are almost always exponentially cheaper than comparable classroom courses, with the added convenience of not needing to travel to and from the provider’s campus. There’s even the option of taking multiple courses at the same time, which often proves popular among the most ambitious candidates.
Making the Best of a Bad Situation
Ultimately, all attempts to upskill, reskill or further your education at this moment in time can be a useful way of making the most of an unfortunate and lingering situation.
The job market across all sectors will once again return to life at some point in the near future, by which time those who’ve made an investment in their career readiness stand to reap the rewards.
Founder Dinis Guarda
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