So much change and so quickly! We’ve all been scrambling to cope with new approaches to learning and communicating, creation of bubbles and managing our time differently.
While this change has been fast, furious and unprecedented, the way you deal with it could make a huge difference to you from an employability and careers perspective.
Self management is a hugely important skill to employers and one that you can demonstrate easily right now, says AUT Employability Lab manager Serena Tiaiti.
“It is all about how you now take advantage of time on your hands and get on with developing your value through attending our online workshops for CVs, cover letters and LinkedIn. They’re more important than ever. All Employability and Career services are up and running online, so why not sign up to workshops and industry presentations?” suggests Serena.
You will also be demonstrating self management, motivation and resilience in the way you manage the university’s change to online learning, points out Serena.
“You need discipline, perseverance and self motivation to be successful at online learning. You’ll be literally applying those skills in your study every day.”
You’ll become more savvy with technology and more comfortable with communicating through web chat and other online tools as you do online group work. All this will give you more to offer in the workplace eventually, she adds.
Optimism, hope and resilience are extremely valuable career management skills, so here’s an opportunity to develop them, says Robyn Bailey, AUT senior lecturer and careers expert.
When we come out of lockdown and start crawling back to some semblance of normalcy, the economy is going to take time to recover. “There is no denying the economy is in shock and we don’t know when the labour market will pick up again. But when things do change again, will you be ready?” asks Robyn.
She advises using this quieter time to find ways to add value so when things pick up again, you are ready. Brainstorm with friends about what you could be doing to help others, show initiative and do something different over this time, says Robyn.
"Joining up with a community liaison or street group and volunteering to help those who can’t get out etc, shows you can think about the greater good and use your initiative.”
Volunteering is a great way to develop skills while being useful. Even though you can’t get involved in physical activities right now, there are other ways to be helpful. There are many opportunities around, including something as simple as making phone calls. Have you looked into helping the Student Volunteer Army?
Or joining AUT's co-curricular employability awards - AUT Edge Award and Beyond AUT Award? Both awards require volunteering hours and offer lots of ideas of how to get out into charities and places that desperately need help.
Employers have also been scrambling to manage in this new world of remote working and online recruitment. But they’re not turning their backs on students, with a number of employers providing presentations online to tertiary students, something many have not done before.
Look out for their advice on how to approach online interviews, job search and more.
One of the first employers to present online was EY. The presenters talked about how adapting and managing through change was one of the most essential skills anyone can develop and highly desired by employers.
Shailan Patel, MYOB NZ Education Manager, also emphasised the importance of adaptability during an online presentation he did for AUT students recently.
“What do you need to change to move forward. This will not be the last time in your life that you will be having to face change.”
He suggested that students take this time to reflect and do some “digging and thinking”.
“Attend webinars in areas that might be interesting, connect online and see if anything opens you up to new ideas.”
This could include upskilling to learn new skills that might be useful in the workforce, such as working with Excel, web content writing, learning how to read data, etc.
It is also really important to remember that you’re not the only one coping with change at the moment. According to a recent NZ Herald article, school closures are affecting 90% of worlds students - 1.5 billion people primary to tertiary.
Every uni student is going through the same thing right now, says Director of Student Employability Anna Williams.
“A disrupted qualification or change in style of learning or a gap before getting employment is not going to be seen as a negative over this period. It isn’t personal.”
Serena adds that job opportunities - as always - will be dependent on how well you sell yourself.
"Get to our workshops, look at our employability awards and find out about opportunities from employers who still want to meet our students online,” she suggests.
The explosion of use of online technology for not just study, but business meetings and presentations, is not going to fade out once Covid-19 has gone. Businesses will do a lot more online and if you're somebody that is comfortable with the technology, then you will be much more valuable to organisations. So get practice with online employer presentations and Elab workshops. Reach out to people on LinkedIn. Show you can adapt to change - find the silver lining - and make the most of the disruption thrown at you.
Visit Elabonline to book into workshops or use some of the online questionnaires on My CareerLab (found in Elabonline) to find out further information about building up skills during times of change - or indeed, anytime.