If you are a student, a recent graduate, or were meant to be (our condolences), many of us would agree that you’ve had a tough year. It goes without saying that navigating a pandemic was not on the syllabus and the global anxiety about its devastating impact has undoubtedly taken a toll on your motivation – and that’s to be expected. But it’s time to put down those baking utensils, close that permanent Netflix tab and start making moves to cultivate professional opportunities for our future selves.
Here are 5 ways you can get back on the proverbial horse and set yourself up for internships and grad schemes post-crisis.
1. GIVE YOURSELF A DIGITAL GLOW UP
With screen time on the rise, your online presence is more essential than ever for discovering professional opportunities, and if one thing is for certain – it’s that all employers check social media before hiring.
Us young folk are known for a generational aptitude for social media, so being active on your platforms is a great way to show your opinions and your personality. Think about using your socials to show your employer a side of you that they wouldn’t see on a CV – maybe create an Insta highlight of content that you’ve loved, share some interesting articles on LinkedIn, or write some short-form opinion pieces on Twitter.
TOP TIP: Consider your personal branding cross-platform – this can be as simple as using the same profile picture and linking all your discoverable socials to each other and to an online portfolio.
2. MAKE SOME FRIENDS
An obvious way to do this is by making connections on networking sites such as LinkedIn and The Dots, but if you’re really interested in building a network that can benefit your professional opportunities, you need to actually engage with people. Start by connecting with professionals that you admire and engaging with the content they’re sharing, or strike up a conversation along with your invite to connect (FYI tried & tested) e.g.
‘Hi, I’m … I loved the work you did with … I’m an aspiring … and would love to know how you got into your current career’. You never know what opportunities might arise from dropping someone a quick DM!
3. REASSESS WHAT YOU WANT
Taking some real, uninterrupted time to think about what makes you happy may seem like an amateur move but it could essentially build the foundation for your whole career. Pop on some Lo-Fi hip hop beats, get in your feels and brainstorm some things that really make you happy.
It’s also a great time to consider what kind of business you would want to work for, maybe there’s a company that has done some great campaigns during the crisis or supported the NHS in some way – choosing to work with a company is as much your choice as it is theirs.
4. MAKE YOURSELF RIDICULOUSLY EMPLOYABLE
We’ve heard it all before but ‘going the extra mile’ really does work. Taking a free online course can help you learn a new skill and show your potential employer a level of self-motivation. Websites such as EDX and Future Learn offer free courses in hundreds of different disciplines and take as little as a few hours studying per week – why not learn how to code your own online portfolio!
TOP TIP: Don’t forget to share your achievements with your network and add it to your CV – it’s a great way to address your (obvious) career gap and show your eagerness to learn.
5. KNOW THAT YOUNG MINDS WILL SURVIVE
Motivation can sometimes feel hard to find; it inherently comes in cycles and is impacted by the future’s uncertainties. And while there’s not much we can do to remedy the lack of control we have in the current crisis, we can work to regain motivation by owning the things we can control. Businesses of all sectors will always need a fresh perspective, particularly in times when innovation and creative solutions are so essential for moving forward.
By Ellie Howkins,
FYI Features Writer
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