April 12, 2022, by Leah Sharpe
Don’t Underestimate the Skills You Have Gained in the Pandemic!
By Anna Scrivener, Employability Education Projects Officer
I’m noticing a tendency for students to feel they have to apologise for the things they haven’t been able to do during the pandemic i.e. in person work experiences that were cancelled, sports teams that couldn’t play, or societies that didn’t meet.
I want to challenge that mindset. Sure, the pandemic has been a difficult time, but it is also one that has required us to draw on a whole range of skills that we might never have discovered. Celebrate these things and use the situation as evidence for them in applications and interviews.
Here are my top five things that we know graduate employers are looking for, and that the pandemic has built within you:
Effective remote communication
Lectures and meetings over MS Teams was a whole new way of communicating forced upon us. Initially, we weren’t sure where to look or how to participate, but as time has gone on we have all become experts in managing this new technology, but also how to build rapport and engage virtually, practicing active listening on a whole new level.
Granted there were possibly some benefits to studying from home, less time wasted on travelling for one. But it also presented its challenges, requiring us all to be disciplined in building an effective routine, juggling priorities, and maintaining motivation and personal accountability for meeting daily targets.
As the world learned how to navigate through an unprecedented period, so did we. The ability to develop new skills such as IT was vital, as every aspect of our lives went digital.
Resilience and emotional intelligence
These elusive skills that seem such a priority to employers have been difficult to evidence pre-pandemic but utterly vital to us over this period. Our worlds suddenly became very small and natural decompression outlets were removed. We have had to be more intuitive, conscious, and understanding of the circumstances of others. While also coping with our own increased stress and anxiety over an uncertain situation.
Adaptability and flexibility
There have been countless changes to our lives, personal and professional. Our ability to be flexible, adapt, and seek out opportunities was key to allowing us to continue to move toward our goals, despite the obstacles.
Remember we learn from every experience, good and bad. Employers realise that the world you have been studying within has not been normal, that access to traditional opportunities has been limited. Workplaces have also been transformed by the legacy of this period and the skills you have gained are very transferrable to the workplace. What they want to see is how you have reflected on the period to move forward positively.
Book an appointment with one of the Careers team to discuss how to use the skills you’ve gained.
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