Updated: Aug 19, 2020
1. Focus on what you can control
We know that Coronavirus is impacting on the jobs market for 2020 graduates. With cases of recruitment being frozen, a reduction in the choice of jobs, and with increased competition. Frustrating and disappointing as this is, you cannot control these issues, you can, however, control how you respond.
Focusing on what you can control means reflecting on your options. These might include travel, temporary or voluntary work, working in a related field, further study, or even considering setting up your own business. Researching skills shortage areas and growth areas may also present opportunities you had not previously thought about.
Whatever options you wish to pursue, it is important to have a plan A and a plan B fall-back position. Once you decide on what these goals are, then think of yourself as a project and use a Gantt chart to project manage your response. Use the chart to list your goals and targets over a set time period and then list out all the activities you need to undertake to get to your goal.
2. Focus on my network
Did you know that 80% of jobs are not advertised? If employers are not advertising jobs, how do you find out about the positions?
Everyone has a network of family, friends and colleagues. Networking is not about asking your contacts for a job, it is about enhancing your communication skills, creating relationships, making connections and, importantly, building your reputation.
To build an effective network, you need to start by being prepared. Research and arrange meetings with your target audience, armed with relevant questions. Use professional networking sites and attend networking events. Most of all, be patient. Cultivating business relationships takes time.
3. Focus on how I am unique
We are all familiar with the logos and slogans of our favourite brands and how they are used by companies to sell products, to differentiate themselves in the market, to define their brand and USP, and to be remembered.
When employers are looking to recruit into their business they are in the market for students who will add value, can perform, and have potential. All graduates will potentially offer the basics, however the interesting bit for employers is the added extras you offer, how you are likely to perform, and what your potential is.
As with your favourite companies and products, it is important for you to define your brand, to think about your USP and to produce an evidenced list of qualities, skills and experiences that differentiates you from others. A helpful way to do this, and to get you thinking, is to create a visual image think about yourself as a product.
4. Focus on the positive
What characteristics makes a person confident? Is it the way they present themselves? Their enthusiasm and passion? Is it how they speak? Confidence and positivity manifests itself in many ways, and to grow your confidence, you need to think of the best things about yourself. What are you like when you are at your best? What is your proudest achievement?
How you feel about yourself drives your behaviours, and success feeds your behaviour. So, success comes from our self-belief and the confidence we have in ourselves. It is important to push ourselves outside our comfort zone to experience new things and to gain new experiences. These events boost our confidence and provide motivation to keep going. You need to remember though, that it is okay to sometimes take a set-back. Take the pressure off yourself, and accept that sometimes, you cannot be fully confident.