From education to employment

How Can We Empower Students Who Graduate During a Pandemic?

Cel Amade

To help students cope with the pressures of virtual learning and isolation, some universities have introduced phone campaigns offering advice for future study or work, as well as mental health phone lines. We have seen lecturers go above and beyond to extend their office hours to encourage those struggling with online classes to address their academic concerns.

To further support final year students and graduates entering the labour market, some universities have also introduced online alumni mentoring platforms to offer practical support to the graduates of 2020 and 2021. Some universities have gone as far as committing to providing career advice for life to all its graduates.

Although, lecturers are often quite welcoming when it comes to academic related queries and University mental health phone lines are in place, it is still common for them to shy away from giving advice when a student raises concerns about their ability to secure a job, worries about their family, the future of their business idea or is experiencing a general lack of motivation to continue their studies online. To an extent, alumni mentoring has proved to be successful in terms of interview preparation or tips for young adults planning to join the same company or industry. This same approach has seen less of an impact when a student or graduate does not have an interview invitation on the table.

Yet, it remains vital that young adults continue to receive high-quality information, support, inspiration and thought-provoking ideas to help them design their post graduate life.

What would you have done differently if you knew Covid was going to happen?

“I would have tried to find more opportunities to develop my skills and ensure those skills could be used in an online context too. I would have also taken every opportunity to develop myself, develop my strengths and better understand my career options.’’

Jacob P., Sport and Exercise Science, 2020 Graduate of the University of Brighton

“If I knew it was going to happen, I would have been more involved in societies and events to develop myself whilst at university. Only after having these opportunities stripped from us, did we realise how valuable they were in the first place.’’

Farah Hanif, studying Management at Royal Holloway

Now more than ever our students and graduates need to be empowered with tools and techniques to deal with the change and uncertainty around them so they can start creating a more compelling future. Despite the challenging picture we see at present, Result Strategist Cel Amade recommends 6 steps students and graduates could take towards their personal development and career goals.

1.Understand your current position.

Take some time to really explore where you are now. Taking stock of your current situation isn’t easy – especially when things haven’t gone according to plan. Not many people have the courage to sit with themselves and look at their undesired situation square in the face and explore the feelings that come with living in an undesired now. Although it’s much easier to randomly pick a goal and hope for a better tomorrow, it’s often better to have an honest conversation about your current situation first.

  1. Know your strengths.

What is your top strength? Once you figure that out, be sure to play to your strengths. Too many people spend their lives working on overcoming their weaknesses instead of focusing on their strengths. When you choose a career that is in line with your natural talents, you’re more likely to enjoy it more and excel.

  1. Get clear on your goals.

“Clarity of direction usually equals confidence”. Dig into who you really are, what you want, and what you wish to achieve, instead of aimlessly setting new goals for the sake of achieving new things, pleasing others, or simply looking busy! The road ahead may have its ups and downs and there’s no shame in taking some time to find your calm.

  1. Next, pay attention to your mindset.

Our world changes when our perspective about ourselves changes. Let go of any shame, blame, guilt, or regret for your past mistakes and missed opportunities and focus on your desired result. Stop thinking about what others think you can or cannot achieve and start thinking of the possibilities ahead of you.

Remember: Job hunting or starting up a business is not always a short and straightforward process. Chances are you will get some rejections, so try not to take those rejections personally.

  1. Take bold strategic marketing steps in the direction of your desired result.

Once you have identified your current position, figured out your strengths and you have adjusted your mindset, you have the power to choose a new destination that honours who you truly are. Make a list of potential ideal employers or businesses you would like to work with. Understand the value you bring to the table and reflect those values on your social profile and CV. Then use your best creative efforts to showcase your skills and the value you bring to your prospective employer or business. Bring your CV to life (literally) and make it possible for your future employer or business partner to see your skills in action. No number of words or paragraphs on your CV can ever replace an active demonstration of your skills.

  1. Believe in your desired result as you take strategic marketing steps towards it.

Remember, it’s never too late to believe in yourself. To believe in who you are and the strength that is inside of you. To be brave and to shift a challenge to your advantage. To believe that you have the power to design your own world. See your best now. Not the best you were or the best you could have been if the pandemic didn’t exist. Achieving your desired result requires you to see the best in you now.

Cel Amade is a Results Strategist with an excellent track record of successfully facilitating, guiding and inspiring University students and graduates in challenging times to continue achieving outstanding results. Cel delivers keynote and workshop presentations to educational institutions – both live and virtually and has vast experience in creating social media videos used in platforms such as Facebook and YouTube. Her educational content has amassed over 332,000 views in the past year. Whether it is building confidence, strategically bridging skills gaps, or feeling more empowered to persevere – Cel’s clients attribute her guidance and inspiration as a contributing factor to their personal and career success.

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