The repercussions of the lockdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic have been alarming to say the least. This period has allowed us all to delve deep within us and to acknowledge fears that haven’t surfaced for the longest of times. All of us had to stay away from other people, were asked not to visit our families and this gave us the opportunity to learn new things every day. Besides affecting our personal lives and disrupting it completely, the coronavirus pandemic has taken a severe toll on the economic condition of the country too.
Several business models have been completely shattered because they were not able to sustain the uncertainties of the time. What is worse is that this is not over yet. Since there is no vaccine available in the market yet, we are bound to live our lives dictated by a new set of rules, involuntarily. This lockdown period has exposed the hidden vulnerabilities of big and small business ventures to the public. The losses that were incurred during this time will have to be recovered as soon as this nightmare is over. But of course, COVID-19 did not come with a date of expiry and we have no way of knowing for sure when things will get back to normal.
Looking at this scenario from a futuristic perspective, the students of today will play a major role in stabilizing the country’s economy in the post-COVID business world. This year has been difficult for all students, especially the young minds studying Finance and Financial Planning. They will prove to be one of the pioneer economic drivers that will help restore balance to the ensuing precarious condition.
Students – The Greatest Sufferers
Why has it been difficult for the students of Finance and Financial Planning? Because like all other students, they have had an extremely rocky academic year. Not being able to go to college, learn in a formal and serious environment and losing focus from the curriculum are some of the expected challenges they have had to face. Things are worse for those students who were supposed to graduate from their colleges this year. There are certain things that you learn specifically in your last year, which widens your perspective of the real business world.
Considering all the negatives of the coronavirus pandemic, how can the students of Finance prepare themselves for a post-COVID world? It is not as difficult as it seems. Being a student of Financial Planning, you are well aware of the basics of risk analysis and its subsequent solution. All you need to do is speculate the kind of changes there might be in the business world after the virus has been properly dealt with. It should not come off as a surprise that many companies and banks that you were planning to work with have frozen the recruitment process. Hiring new candidates during these troubled times would only mean extra expenses for the recruiting company. Rest assured, after things get back to normal, recruiters will be hunting for fresh aspirants for many jobs.
Skills Students Should Nurture for a Post-COVID Business World
It is quite obvious that the ongoing situation might have taken its toll on the students of Finance and Financial Planning, like everyone else. The job market is not stable at the moment, but with time, it will regain its normalcy. While recruitment may have been stopped for the time being, no one can stop you from dreaming and realizing your dreams. If you have the skills and the knowledge, you can start your professional career independently. Though it isn’t going to be an easy journey to be an independent financial expert, if you have confidence you can achieve the impossible.
All you need to do is evaluate your skills and honestly introspect about your options. Below we shall be talking about few things that you need to keep in mind in case you are planning to go solo.
The Future Is Digital
As we limit human contact to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus, there is only one way for us to carry out our daily activities and jobs. We have officially entered the Digital Age and it is mandatory for you to learn everything about it. If you are planning to become a freelancer, you will need to be able to use the digital medium to your advantage. From connecting with clients online, to participating in online meetings, to submitting proposals to multiple vendors, you will need to know how everything is done digitally.
If until now you were banking on your inter-personal communication skills to take your further, you will now need to be able to use the digital ecosystem for communication. As a finance student, you may have ignored the importance of digital communication until now, but you cannot ignore it any longer.
You may need to learn how to use multiple applications like a pro. Remember since you are going to freelance as an independent professional, very few will treat you as a newcomer. No one will tolerate incompetence and lack of understanding. That’s the reason you should use this time at home to brush up your skills, understand the nuances of the financial industry and begin working as a pro.
You have already studied marketing management, statistics of business management, financial accounting, securities market, investment planning and a lot more. All you need to do now is figure out how these are digitally used. From now on, no one will be excused for not being digitally competent. This will be least expected from a youth who works as an independent professional. If you want to kick start your career on a high note, you must start the work today.
Ernst Raue had said that, “The digital revolution is marching on and entering every aspect of life.” This phrase holds true of the current pandemic situation that we find ourselves in. freelancers who wish to survive in the post-COVID world will have learn everything about digitization. Companies too will be looking to work with individuals who are digitally able to meet their requirements.
Build a Resume That Gets the Job Done
Once we enter a COVID-free world, there will be thousands and thousands of fresher with applications in their hands and dreams in their eyes waiting to fill in job vacancies. If you are going to be a part of that rat-race you must be prepared for a tough battle ahead. You can instead choose to become an independent professional with a shining degree in financial studies. But is the degree going to be enough? Will you be able to get desired projects simply with a degree? Well, no you won’t. In the professional world, work matters more than certificates. Of course your degree will give you an opening, but in the long run it is going to be your skills and hard work that’s going to take you forward.
But as a newcomer, taking only baby steps as an independent professional, how do you lure new clients? How do you convince them that you are up for the job? Since inter-personal communication isn’t going to work for the next few months (or years), you must rely on an impressive CV. This is the right time, amidst the ongoing lockdowns, for you to explore the numerous platforms that help freelancers find their desired job.
The first step, however, should be to create a LinkedIn page. LinkedIn isn’t merely another social media platform, but a powerhouse for job seekers and job creators. If you have an impressive page on this platform, follow your industry experts, comment on popular posts, interact with the bigwigs, you will get noticed far more easily. You will be surprised at how effective LinkedIn has proven to be a platform for youth like you.
Alternatively, you should also look for internships before going completely solo. Internships will not only strengthen your CV but also give you much-required exposure. If the placement cell of your college is able to provide you with an internship then there is nothing better. But for those who are not able to reap this benefit due to the prevailing conditions, do not lose hope. There are several platforms (such as LinkedIn) which can help you get an internship, both paid and unpaid. Since the financial crunch is for real this time, do not miss out on an unpaid internships too, at least if you are promised a certificate and letter of recommendation at the end.
There are other means of getting internships too. You can ask an acquaintance, family friend or even a business contact you met online. When you have completed a few internships and gained significant experience, your goal of being an independent professional in the post-COVID business world is closer than ever. Besides these benefits, you get hands-on experience of a work environment before you actually start working independently. This will play in your favor as you would already know how to behave in a professional setting, the importance of meeting deadlines will be an easier task and you would know the direction in which your career is taking you.
Flexibility is Strength
If you aspire to be an independent, self-sufficient and capable professional in the world after coronavirus, you must learn the art of adaptability. It is good to have solid principles and carry out a disciplined lifestyle. But being a flexible candidate will prove to be one of the most important criteria of making a successful career in a post-COVID world. The coronavirus pandemic has proved to us yet again that change is the only constant in the world. All the companies, banks, stock market, mutual fund undertakings, investment platforms and other such work environments will undergo a significant amount of change as soon as the country begins to unlock on a full scale. Businesses will likely favor working with independent professionals (such as you). Being prepared for a new working environment will work to your advantage.
You should not come off as a rigid and stubborn personality, someone who cannot adjust with the reshaping of the work environment. Sometimes, it might get necessary to perform certain tasks that were not allocated to you initially. If you come across as someone who can adapt to trying situations and understand the precarious nature of a new work environment, you will be much sought after.
Since there is a very narrow scope of going to the office physically, your decision to work as a freelancer might just be the right one. Undoubtedly, it will be a difficult process and you might feel you are doing more than you signed up for. But it is crucial to remember that as we will move from this impossible time to the post-COVID world, a time will come when everything will work smoothly as it did before.
In the words of Jessica Hagedorn, “Adaptability is the simple secret of survival.” Being a flexible person will only help you survive the difficult period of time that will be posed after the coronavirus is dealt with. But does being flexible necessarily mean you get to be inefficacious in your job? Absolutely not. You might need to do some extra work and deal with unlikely scenarios but what should remain constant is your diligence and your professionalism.
There is no doubt about the fact that the coronavirus global epidemic situation has had a profound effect on our lives, altering it in ways we never expected. Our definition of normalcy has been changed as we adapt to the evolving conditions. But it is possible to look at the positive alterations made by the coronavirus pandemic. In the world post-COVID, all the work done will be of a sustainable nature to prevent any losses if such extreme conditions surface again. Being a professional in the world after coronavirus will be a completely different experience, but it does not need to be a distressing one.
Instead of learning new terms during this phase like ‘lockdown’, ‘quarantine’, ‘pandemic’, ‘social distancing’, ‘N-95’, you can actually spend this time learning new skills. This will help you sustain yourself in the world of professionals after COVID-19. Maintaining customer relations, expertise in risk management, remote working without much hassle, being an example of flexibility, being a player and getting the job done without breaching the deadline are the desirable attributes. As a student of Finance and Financial Planning, these are some of the most important skills you should develop if you want to foster your career as an independent professional in the post-COVID business world.