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Graduates: Brace for Impact

By Stacey Chammaa

Initially, when I was asked to be a columnist for gulfy.com, COVID-19 was just starting to be at the forefront of our minds on a global scale. It had yet to become the pandemic it is today, quarantine wasn’t a way of life and job loss and global economic downturn didn’t yet seem as inevitable or as long-lasting as we might now fear. 

Needless to say, when I jotted down ideas for the editorial team it was a very different recruitment landscape than what we are potentially looking at now. 

Ideas included the likes of ‘Why Your Next Job Doesn’t Have to Be Your Dream Job’ or ‘The Power of Saying Yes’ (to any job opportunity). I initially wrote these titles hoping to get the point across to soon-to-be graduates that it’s important to say yes to every opportunity that comes their way, using every position as a stepping stone to propel them forward to something more suitable or in-line with their ambitions. 

Every internship or bad paying job I’ve had in journalism lead me directly to something greater. I was always in the right place at the right time because I said yes to being there in the first place. 

Those article titles were supposed to be a gentle reminder to the somewhat entitled youth who expect to graduate and land the ultimate gig. However now it feels more like a stark warning. The graduating class of 2020 must rapidly adjust their expectations during this unprecedented time. With job loss set to rise amongst many well-qualified cadres it’s time for recent graduates to brace for impact. 

Tools that need to be embraced, if they haven’t already, include online gigs and freelance opportunities. There are numerous sites connecting sellers with potential buyers looking for everything from voice-over work, logo design, brand strategy, video editing and much more.

Rather than building only on their existing skillset, it’s important to take the initiative to help address their skills gap. With so much information readily available everyone with a desire to be competitive in their field of work should be exploring e-learning, self-teaching tools, becoming more familiar with the unfamiliar, more self-sufficient and ultimately more useful to their potential future organisation – those faces are the ones who are going to stand out. 

The skillset of employees has, in just a matter of weeks, already increased. News Anchors are no longer solely news readers, presenting from home they have become producers, sound engineers, lighting technicians and their own glam team to boot. 

As things move to become more digitized, the more proficient you are at working software programs, basic coding and media literacy the more sought after you will be. 

In years to come, here’s hoping employers who see a 2020 graduate CV cross their desk give it some extra consideration. Hopefully, all the graduates will take heed and be wearing more than one hat, as I think future employers might deem many hats better than too many heads.