Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

What Skills And Experience Will Employers Look For Post-COVID?

The business world suffered a major blow when the COVID-19 pandemic led to widespread offices closures and major retail hotspots becoming ghost towns — and six months down the line, it’s become clear that many of the repercussions will have long-lasting impact.

This is particularly true when it comes to employment. After all, the field has had a very odd time.

In one sense, it has suffered greatly due to lockdown measures. Talented professionals have lost their jobs, businesses have been forced to close down, and the global economy has gone into recession. These things don’t generally lead to big hiring sprees. At the same time, though, the glut of talent on the market — combined with the existence of quite a few companies that have managed to adapt well enough to carry on largely unaffected — means that some big businesses are eager for new talent, and there are still plenty of opportunities out there.

Now, we can roughly consider this the post-COVID world: not because the virus has gone, or because things have bounced back overall, but because we’ve all come to accept how the world works now — and we’re ready to make the best of it. So what are employers looking for in this strange new world? What will they prize in the coming years? Here are some suggestions:

Training and support

Self-improvement is a vital pursuit, and the downtime created by the lockdown measures has really highlighted which candidates are eager to better themselves and which are willing to be entirely passive. If you know how to train yourself in relevant new skills, you’ll always have an advantage over candidates who need to be coached through everything step by step.

While you’re looking for work, keep up with all the latest developments through sites like this one, and use online training portals to pick out courses that will suit your desired career. It’s particularly worth checking out the Khan Academy: unlike many comparable sites, the Khan Academy has a broad range of free training resources. Remember to make notes and follow training exercises, as you’ll want proof that you actually gained something from your training.

Additionally, the more you train yourself, the more knowledge you’ll have to pass on — and being able to effectively train others is a skill companies will want to invest in. After all, it’s far cheaper and easier to have one employee train their colleagues than to bring in a costly third-party training service.

If you really want to set yourself apart, consider setting up a training course of your own that you could offer your prospective employers. You could even monetize it in the meantime to serve as a secondary income stream. If you’re interested, I suggest reading a Kajabi review or two (this Kajabi guide is the most in-depth I’ve seen, so it’s a good place to start): it’s an intuitive software platform for distributing digital materials, and it could be exactly what you need.

Operational flexibility

Almost overnight, the average business went from the traditional office structure to working fully remotely, and it made it abundantly clear which professionals were capable of adapting rapidly to changing circumstances. Some took to remote working almost immediately, while others struggled to manage their workloads and get by without conventional support.

And while remote working might be the new working standard, there may be a huge push to get people back into offices soon enough: it may be considered necessary as an economical measure, particularly given how heavily big cities rely on their business hubs. If you need to go back to a traditional office, will you be comfortable right away? You should be.

Being operationally flexible isn’t really something you can study, of course. It’s more about your mindset and your overall set of skills: particularly your IT skills. The more you know about using SaaS tools in general (G Suite, Microsoft 365, project management tools like Asana), the more easily you’ll be able to adapt to whatever the coming years have to offer.

Time management

Even now, many managerial types are uncomfortable heading up teams of remote workers, because they’re still clinging to old concerns about allowing people to work from home: most notably the worry that a lack of conventional oversight would surely lead to employees putting in less effort, being less productive, and ultimately returning less value.

This worry lingers despite the mountains of evidence that have shown remote working to be no threat to productivity: in fact, it’s generally a boon. Remote workers are happier and get more work done, but it’s inevitable that one troubling question will linger in the minds of business owners: “Will this productivity last?

After all, this could be seen as the honeymoon phase for remote working. Employees are eager to keep up the pace so their bosses won’t be able to justify asking them to return to the office. But two years from now, with remote working truly solidified as a standard, some sloppiness might creep back in — so it’ll be important for jobseekers to show strong time management.

Time management is all about keeping track of where your time is going (and how it’s justified by company budgeting) and ensuring that your superiors know what you’re getting done. There are many time-tracking tools on the market now, but they all function similarly. If you get to grips with one (such as Toggl Track), you should be fine with all the others.