How to Align Career Goals in Finance in Post-COVID World

The abrupt and unpleasant onset of the coronavirus pandemic pushed a halt button over all of our lives, driving us into a state of acute uncertainty. The past few months have not been forgiving for anyone and have completely disrupted the way we have always led our lives. It has becoming especially difficult for students of finance who had a clear idea about their course work and had their career path mapped out in details. This uncertainty has given rise to an insane amount of stress and anxiety among the students who were in their final year, eagerly waiting to jump headlong into the big pool of business world. A large majority of students were cut off by the lockdown just before their semester examinations, or the beginning of the internship season.

The panic created by COVID-19 has left many youngsters susceptible to a variety of rash thoughts and doubt regarding their own capabilities. The biggest reason for this is because no one knows what the post-COVID world will look like, and this unpredictability creates room for confusion, insecurity and reservations about oneself. It should come as no surprise that the generation of today likes to know how things pan out, the intricate details of the procedure and words of wisdom or caution from individuals who have already experienced it. The coronavirus pandemic became the first exception to this as it came with no guidebook or expiry date.

It is no surprise that the economic condition of the country at large suffered substantially because of the extended lockdown period. Students of finance are too familiar with how this impacts them and their careers. Companies, banks and firms have all reduced their intake capacity at the moment, in order to recover the losses over the past unproductive months. Many institutions that students of finance aim for have capped the hiring process temporarily. These distressing changes in the field of employment have given rise to irksome feelings among students and it is time they knew how to align their career paths in a world cured of COVID-19.

It is absolutely crucial to anticipate the kind of changes there may be in the post-COVID business world so that you can prepare themselves amply and appropriately. You may be aspiring to join as an investment banker, stockbroker or mutual fund advisor after your final semester of Financial Planning. While most of the process remains unclear, there are certain parts that we can still bank on. There are some skills that all employers look for and that would not change based on these unprecedented times. You need master these skills to be able to excel in the post-COVID world with the background of Finance and Financial Planning.

Remote Working
Considering the chaotic times we belong to now, it is safe to assume that the workforce will remain remote for a foreseeable future. None of the employers will be comfortable with having the new recruits roam about in the office space while feeling safe. As the vaccine is not yet in the market, it is likely that this epidemic condition will last for a while now. What you need to do is be prepared to work remotely, most likely from the confinement of your homes. This requires you to get the appropriate set-up ready before you sit for the interviews. A working laptop or computer, stable internet connection and a space where you will not be disturbed by other family members or roommates.

For the students of Finance or Financial Planning, the job will, in all probability, involve sitting in front of the laptop screen for hours. It would play in your favor if you have ample practice from now on. This will eliminate obvious health issues like straining the eyes, developing a back pain and other discomforts.

The fact that you might not be able to physically meet your co-workers, colleagues, boss, clients and other members of the office can seem a bit worrying, challenging even. It is quite difficult to work with a set of strangers virtually, for hours. You should prepare yourself for all aspects of remote working because this will most definitely be a pre-requisite by employers in the post-COVID business world.

Grasp on technology
It quite logically follows the fact that you need to work digitally that you need to have a firm grasp of basic technology. COVID-19 has assured us of one thing and that is companies will now fast-track on to digital transformation. This will necessitate the employees to be tech-savvy and this will prove to be one of their biggest assets in the time to come. As a student of Finance, you were not taught a very technical course in your semesters which makes it all the more important for you now. Employers and interviewers will be more interested in a candidate who know their way around some technical stuff. This will ensure them of the fact that the particular candidate can get started without much supervision and guidance.

No doubt there will be an IT team backing you up, it is still better to be prepared for the likely scenarios than remaining held up for someone to help you. What you can do is start with a course that will teach you the technical aspects while you are sitting at home in lockdown. It is only a few hours off your daily schedule but it will help you in the long run. The best part of these technical courses is that you do not need to go anywhere physically and you will learn equally well. With a background in financial studies, you are no stranger to studying hard and learning new things with the same diligence. Most applications and websites that offer these courses are extremely user friendly, coupled with the fact that the courses are easy and the tutors available know how to make the technical stuff simple for newcomers.

Determination and Dependency
These are not skills that you can learn from an application or any other digital platform. These are qualities that you nurture on your own and these will take you a long way in every profession you choose. Each and every employer will be looking for a candidate who can assure them with their determination to work hard and never give up. This proves that you will be one of the dependable resources among all of your co-workers.

One of the best ways to cultivate the habit of determination is to hold on to something you want dearly and fight for it till you actually have it. This incredibly trying period of time has taken its toll on the best of us. It is very easy to give up on your career goals based on the increasing uncertainty that is surrounding your employment opportunities. You need to remain focused on your goal and hang on till you reach it. It would be very counter productive if you gave up on a career in finance after investing years learning tricks of the trade. Yes, the times are hard but that should not deter you from your career objective. Being honest to your goals will only prove you to be a focused and dependable individual, a more likely candidate to be hired.

Flexibility and Adaptability
After studying Finance and Financial Planning for graduation and maybe post-graduation, you are quite clear on how career opportunities will unfold once you are done with college. But this year marks the biggest exception as everything well-planned and thought through went for a toss. You have officially entered the first hiccup of your career, and it is in your hands how you deal with it. It is important for you to able to be flexible with the changes around you, and more than that, adapt to them without much hassle. The way you are handling things on your end, within the four walls of your home, will define how calm and collected you will be once the job starts.

You must be well aware of the workplaces of the companies, firms, banks and other institutions that you were going to apply to. In keeping with the unpredictability of the coronavirus pandemic, it is obvious that all workplaces are going through continuous changes now. In the post-COVID business world, employers will be more interested in job applicants who show signs of being a flexible, humble and adaptable individual.

You have to remember that it is going to be a new experience for both you and your employer in the post-COVID world. There will be minor changes every now and then, you must be willing to accept them and work with them to avoid any delays or miss any deadlines. An attitude that reeks of rigidity and stubbornness will not be appreciated in such dire times. If there comes a time where you are faced with a challenge at work, which might not even be yours to begin with, you need to show the yielding nature to contribute any help to prevent any bumps on the road.

A “can do” attitude is what employers will be looking for after this deadly virus is dealt with properly. It is however important to remember the fact that, just because you are willing to be adaptable and flexible, does not necessarily entail that you have the liberty to be inefficient. This flexibility is a requisite till the institution works like a well-oiled machinery all over again. It is essential for you to lead with a mindset that keeps evolving and you shall face no trouble adapting to your new workplace.

Professional Maturity
One of the most important life lessons taught by the coronavirus pandemic is the importance of maturity to deal with the ever-changing scenario. Being upset with how things are now is fair, but pondering over it and being unproductive is not the way to move ahead. Maturity is defined when you accumulate information, absorb it, process it and find a way to deal with it. In the words of Bharadwaj Karthikeyan, “Maturity does not mean age. It means sensitivity, manners and how you react to it.” Similarly, professional maturity is when you respect the opinions and inputs of your co-workers from diversified backgrounds, without the need to be biased. It is the ability to reach a decision unanimously, instead of being driven by compelling emotions or instincts. It can be expected of employers to select an interviewee who shows signs of professional maturity.

From the current work from home scenario around the country now, it can be deduced that it is difficult to manage one’s own time table when dealing with a team and deadlines. It is crucial to maintain a level of efficiency and productivity from a day’s work keeping aside all the personal activities, commitments, challenges and emotions. There are some tips that will help you develop this quality for the post-COVID business world. You must have a professional attitude and support the decisions of your colleagues or employer. You must be diligent with your work. If there was a mistake made from your end, you should take responsibility for it. You should always dress formally to avoid any unprofessional advances. Most importantly, you must communicate in a professional manner. That involves clear enunciation, maintenance of poise once your idea is challenged and the ability to listen to your co-workers attentively.

There is no hiding the reality that the job market is difficult, even for high-scoring students of Finance and Financial Planning. In such challenging times, it is the expertise in these skills that will help you acquire your career goals. The struggle is inevitable, but it can be made less intensive than expected if you learn how to align your career path once the dangerous coronavirus pandemic leaves the face of Earth. You have been limited to the comfort of your home for months now. As students of Finance, you must make correct use of this time and avoid the slag in your employment opportunities.

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