Graduating from university, especially in the midst of a global pandemic, can be nerve-wracking. It certainly doesn’t help to know that we’re now going into a third year of Covid-19, and things often still don’t feel any more hopeful.
To the Class of 2020 and 2021, know that you are not alone. As college students from across the globe step into the daunting yet exciting world of adulthood, you’ll be faced with a host of opportunities and new challenges. It’s thrilling, but can also be a period filled with a lot of anxiety and uncertainty.
Fret not – this transition can be a whole lot more manageable with these tips.
Cast Your Net Wide
In your pursuit of that “dream job”, it’s easy to get tunnel vision for a single sector or company you’d like to work for. However, there are no shortages of opportunities in life, both the kind you expect and those you didn’t see coming.,
For example, if you graduated with a degree in software engineering, Google might be your holy grail when it comes to prospective employment. Still, don’t apply to just them. Cast your net wider to a variety of firms in the technology industry.
In addition, don’t look at just one industry.You might also like to consider other industries, even those you consider unconventional for what your degree is in. Healthcare, for instance, is especially teeming with opportunities especially during the Covid-19 crisis, as the industry turns to digital alternatives.
Think wide, rather than just deep. You’ll have the next few years of your career to go deeper into the industry or sector of choice!
In these uncertain times, especially if you’re fresh out of school without a job opportunity in hand yet, it’s wise to keep track of your expenses and to cut back on spending where necessary. Know that this is just a transition phase that will last for only a season. There are plenty of apps and programs (such as the Planner Bee app!) that can make the process of tracking your expenses a lot less cumbersome.
For starters, plan for essentials like food and drinks, regular expenditure such as your mobile phone bills. Remember to include your monthly subscription to services like Spotify or Netflix!
It might also be good to have the foresight to set aside a sum for potential up-skilling. Invest in a course that’s related to the job opportunity or sector you hope to join. There are government grants that are available for you to tap into to help subsidise the costs of certain courses.
Put Your Time to Fruitful and Meaningful Use by Volunteering
You may never have another period in your life like now, when you’re still waiting for a job opportunity to come by, are relatively free of work stresses and have more free time on hand. That makes it a great time to consider volunteering opportunities. There are no shortage of ways to give back to society and make an impact in your immediate community, especially during this time of crisis and need.
Be observant and attentive to the needs of your community in whatever capacity that you might be able to serve in. For example, you could reach out to your Group Representation Constituency (GRC) via your local Community Centre to inquire on areas in need of volunteers. There are also plenty of Non-Profit Organisations out there, which cater to different segments of society. You can pick one based on your area of interest as well as skill level.
You’d be surprised to find out how much you can learn from volunteering in your community! Most of all, it’s a change of perspective that could impact your life for good, and be an experience you won’t forget.
Build your personal brand
While it’s great to take initiative and send out resumes in a bid to get the companies and employers you’re interested in to take note of you, you should also take time to manage your personal brand.
A big part of that today has got to do with your online persona. Like it or not, prospective employers may take to social media to learn more about you, and that’s not limited to Linkedin. Now’s the time to ensure your privacy settings are how you want it to be, and your profiles are an accurate and tasteful representation of who you are.
You might consider putting together a simple personal website, especially if the line of work you’re interested in puts greater emphasis on building up a portfolio of past work.
Also, whether you’re still on the lookout for employment or already settled in a dream job, it never hurts to continue to update your resume. You never know who is looking and what it might lead to!
Be Open to Virtual Networking Opportunities
Network. Even while most in-person social events — at least in large groups — remain off the table, there are still plenty of chances to network virtually. Webinars and events like it on Zoom and other online platforms allow you to meet different people from various industries and interest groups. This is a great way to put yourself out there by meeting new people digitally, as well as help you learn more about topics of interest.
It takes only a few clicks to check out the different communities available out there. When you take the first step, you really never know where it might lead you!
Save up for an Emergency Fund
There are several good habits you can benefit from as a young working adult. These include being aware of what are the wise ways of putting your first paycheck to use, and understanding the kinds of insurance you should get to protect yourself. Saving is definitely another top habit you should have. .
Saving for a rainy day is important enough from day to day. In uncertain times like these, it’s even more important that you have an emergency fund set aside. It could be made up of your current as well as past savings, and typically, about three months of expenses is recommended. But you may extend it to up to 12 months’ worth of expenditure, in order to create a deeper safety net for yourself, especially when it might take a longer time to land a job right now.
It might seem daunting at first to have to save up such a large sum of money, but you never know how small amounts of money put aside daily can really add up over time!
Back track your expenses and calculate how much liquid funds you’d need per month, and divide it up from there with your current savings. You then want to break it down into daily sums and from there, you can realistically work towards a certain fund for your future as backup! Planner Bee has a great article here on working out those sums.
Stay positive and resilient
We want to hope for the best, but we should also be ready for the worst. Going from school to the workforce is a big change, one that requires not just patience but also a fair amount of resilience.
While waiting for the right job to come along, it’s good to remember not to neglect the other aspects of your life. Here’s a handy acronym to work with, to try to get a healthy balance in our lives: ACE.
‘A’ stands for achievement, and it could involve anything that has to do with productivity or accomplishment related to self-improvement. ‘C’ stands for connection, and it’ll include activities that help you feel connected to family, friends, and even yourself. ‘E’ stands for enjoyment, and it very plainly refers to things that you like doing. It’s worthy to note that all three aspects are as important and not to be neglected.
There is no shortage of opportunities out there awaiting every one of you – you just need to set yourself an intentionally positive mindset every single day, have goals, and work towards them!
The future ahead remains bright. Carpe diem: seize the day, and with a handful of practical tips, you’re ready to step foot into this exciting new chapter of life.