The professional repercussions of the second covid-19 wave have been drastic, to say the least. A repeat of localised curfews, business shutdowns, and industrial digitisation thrust India into an economic déjà vu of sorts, radically derailing the career and academic plans of India’s young professionals.
A July perception study by professional network LinkedIn on India’s Gen Z population echoes their plight by showing that ~60% of them today are personally, professionally and financially affected owing to the second wave.
These dynamic times have renewed the need for a collective hiring and upskilling revolution. And in the thick of such change, Gen Zers, or post-millennials, are riddled with finding the best possible ways to not just upgrade their skillset, but also land the right opportunities in a volatile jobs marketplace.
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With simple career hacks and self-assessments, the aspirants can beat the odds and develop the right skills to become more employable, especially as the future of work transitions into a skills-based hiring landscape.
Where your instinct lies
It may sound like a cliché, but it’s true that each of us is more inclined to certain skills and job profiles, and that’s possibly where our natural instinct lies.
When you act from a place of instinct or deep knowledge of your inherent capabilities, growth, joy and success become within reach. Taking some time to find job roles and profiles that are best suited for you, that spark joy, and make you feel naturally skilled at it, will hold you in good stead in your career.
Nurture that one hard skill
When we think of hard skills, we typically only think of tech skills like coding. But domain expertise, functional expertise or strong writing skills also qualify as hard skills and can help you build a strong foundation to stand on. As you think about the career you want to build, don’t get overwhelmed by charting a 10-year road map. Instead, simply ensure you are honing and nurturing skills that belong in a similar skills cluster.
This way, you will still be banking on your hard skills even when you switch job profiles or industries. Research shows that upskilling, when done rightly, can help young professionals improve self-confidence, increase career opportunities and fast-track growth.
More questions, please
If you are in the early stages of your career, staying curious and asking questions for more information can accelerate professional growth. It also makes you seem like an active listener and worker overall, showcasing that you are taking a proactive interest in your career growth and job profile. With matrix organisations and large companies, information is often not doled out in a ready-made format. The onus lies on you to collaborate, ask questions, dig out the details to succeed at your job.
Kindly close the loop
This is a common pet peeve of the corporate world — emails going unanswered or falling through the cracks. There are professionals who choose to avoid this intentionally, and for others, they are unable to find an email unclogging system that works for them. But as a young professional, it is important to understand how your work ethic builds strong credibility, trust and reputation.
In the early years, it is critical that you find a way to close the loop on emails, messages, or any other open requests — follow-ups can take up a lot of time but they contribute heavily to your reputation at the workplace.
Raise your hand
If you don’t understand something, ask for help. The world of work has become extremely complicated, and the larger the company, the more complex the processes. As a professional, there should be no shame in asking for help to find solutions when you are stuck. In fact, data shows that 46% of Gen Zers are looking for mentors who can tell them what to learn. Seeking counsel also helps to build a trusted council of mentors, friends at work and outside work to guide you through different problems that may arise in one’s professional life. Staying authentic to who you are, and staying confident of your capabilities will help in alleviating any stress that may come from having doubts when you are in a new job or a new career.
What the boss wants
Building a strong, healthy relationship with your boss or manager is critical to your professional growth, but nobody tells you how to do it.
A tenet to live by is to understand your boss’s expectations—and then finding a way to achieve them. This also helps align your work and focus areas, and keeps you in rhythm with your manager and the work ecosystem you are part of. Understanding your boss’s expectations may not be easy to gauge, but by paying attention, asking questions and building an easy rapport, you will soon be able to read between the lines.
Bhairavi Jhaveri is LinkedIn career expert.