Education and Career in an Unpredictable World – “Heart-to-Heart: Loving Community” Series
Since the pandemic started, youth and young adults entering their fields of study and potential career paths have had to endure unprecedented changes on a global scale. They have had to liken themselves to circus acrobats, flexibly changing and adapting their expectations, skill sets and goals with each new wave of news updates and local mandates, in order to survive and find a footing in this changing global market.
RE:NEW hosted a Career Panel Discussion in November 2021 to address this issue. We heard from five successful professionals in various industries and their views on the role of education in landing the right job. Almost all of them agreed that though obtaining a degree has its importance in getting your foot into the door of a company, work experience and proven skills in your portfolio will speak volumes.
Internships and Work Opportunities: Be Flexible and Ready to Work Online/Remotely
Some college students and graduates back in 2020 had their spring and summer in-person internships canceled due to lockdown measures, barring them from precious work opportunities. Others at that time found their companies shifted to online internships which allowed them to still get work experience remotely. If for some reason, lockdowns happen again or new mandates restrict travel, online options are the way to go.
According to a recently updated article from Indeed, a leading job search site, employers are also adjusting and responding to the need for more online, remote working opportunities. The beauty of this is that it opens up the possibility to intern for non-local companies, even international ones. So young people today may be able to cast their net wider than they originally thought possible.
Stay Up-to-Date with Continuing Education and Professional Skills
“Learning is nonstop. Learning isn’t just in school,” commented one of the panelists, a Strategic Project Manager of an e-commerce agency. “As soon as you graduate from school, all the latest technology you learn from school is probably outdated as soon as you get out. So you need to keep learning. Certification probably will get you landed to a pretty good job.”
Non-Traditional Routes for Business: Having the Right Mindset, Adaptability and Willingness to Take Risks
One of the career panel speakers who owns and directs her own bridal dress and photography studio, had a variety of jobs in the creative field after graduating with a degree in graphic design. She did not always find the jobs themselves very valuable but she was thankful for the people she met along the way and the strong portfolio it allowed her to create to land other jobs that provided her the skills she has now to run her own business successfully. She encouraged young people to stay positive and very open-minded; also always be ready for new things and challenges.
According to a US Chamber of Commerce article about post-pandemic business trends, ecommerce, cashless and contactless payments and the need for delivery even for local products will continue to grow. The idea of being your own boss may not require a certain degree or certificate but still requires experience and skill.
“My current boss, who built a multi-million dollar company…he didn’t even graduate,” said another panelist. “But he got the right trend and he can communicate really well and sell really well so he’s really successful in that business.” He further suggested young people to take a step of faith and pursue their dreams while they are still young.
Non-Traditional Routes for IT: High Tech Companies Offering More Opportunities
According to the panel speaker who works as a Senior Engineer at LinkedIn, a lot of high tech companies are looking to hire those from non-traditional backgrounds and offer training before possibly hiring them into the company, believing that that someone can be successful in a high tech company without a computer science background because they believe that smart people are everywhere. Apprentice programs open up seasonally at major high tech companies such as AirBNB, Pinterest, Google, IBM, etc. and last anywhere from 6 months to 5 years before possibly offering a full-time position at the company.
Though the pandemic has changed career goals for many, it has helped young people adapt and become more flexible which is important for the future. No matter what setbacks we may face, there are always new opportunities out there we can pivot toward. Armed with the right skill sets, work experiences and mindset, young people can be resilient and find new ways to succeed.
“The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand” (Psalm 37:23, 24) Even if unexpected challenges do arise and there are perceived failures, we can always trust God’s promises when it comes to our career path in this unpredictable world.
Written by: Elizabeth Hughes
Presence Quotient®, also known as Presence, is a Christian 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that has supported Christian and family values since 2003. We aim to raise up a new generation for the cultural mission — equip individuals and families to bridge the cultural and generational gaps and to live a unique life with wisdom.
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