2020 has been a whirlwind of a year so far due to the presence of Covid-19. The world has been affected in unimaginable ways. Jobs have been lost, companies have closed, people are working from home and the overall global economy suffered. Online learning has become the norm as students and educators rushed to adapt to a new way of teaching and learning. Although schools are slowly reopening and classes are resuming, students and graduates today face a future of volatility and uncertainty. What are some of the useful skills for students to help them navigate this difficult time?
Adaptability is defined as the ability to adjust to new conditions and environments. Students today may have to rethink their higher education and career pathways. For example, studying abroad may not seem like a feasible option as many international borders remain closed. In addition, students have to be able to adapt to the new way of learning remotely and digitally. The job market today has also become more competitive as many companies are more selective with the people they hire. Fresh graduates need to be comfortable in ever-evolving workplaces and be open to learning new skills. They also have to keep up with the latest industry news and be ready to face unforeseen challenges.
The Internet has been a lifesaver for many industries in the Covid-19 era. A number of companies have found ways to sustain their businesses digitally by exploring e-commerce, virtual events and webinars, among others. Students should take the time to do research on the types of digital and IT skills that are in-demand by today’s employers. Generally, social media marketing skills, knowledge in search engine optimisation (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), email campaigns, and managing websites are highly valuable and relevant in the near future.
Emotionally intelligent people have the ability to understand, manage and express their emotions in a healthy and positive way. Also known as emotional quotient (EQ), individuals with high EQ are increasingly sought after by employers today. This is because these people can communicate effectively and empathise with others to find solutions and solve conflicts.
As change can bring about a lot of stress, having employees with high EQ is comforting during these challenging and uncertain times. It is common nowadays to read news about people losing jobs, getting pay cuts and going on unpaid leave. Therefore, the ability to remain calm, rational and practical during difficult times is a coveted trait by employers.
Individuals who can think critically are able to evaluate and analyse information to make well thought out decisions. They are able to detach themselves from personal opinions and emotions when making decisions and drawing conclusions. In organisations, critical thinkers are needed to make informed choices about how to complete tasks, communicate information and relate with co-workers. Critical thinking is an important skill to hone in both the workplace and life in general.
In the past few months, our screens have been bombarded with fake news, unverified information and misrepresentations of data that may have caused anxiety, fear and worry. Critical thinkers know how to filter out fake news and not believe every single thing they read.
Adaptability, tech-savviness, emotional intelligence and critical thinking are some useful skills that all students should develop. Students need to prioritise remaining relevant and alert during the post-Covid-19 recovery phase. It’s important not to be complacent but instead constantly strive to learn valuable skills for self-development in preparation for challenging times ahead.