Those in the know at Qatar Career Development Center look at how COVID-19 has reshaped the professional landscape – and how fresh graduates can meet the challenges head on
The business sector has undergone unprecedented transformation since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has posed many challenges to industries and the way companies work – with some suffering and others prospering.
The acute stress caused by the pandemic has accelerated the economic, social and demographic shifts that were already underway
Against this backdrop of change, professional development and career guidance experts at Qatar Career Development Center (QCDC), a member of Qatar Foundation, have assessed how the pandemic is redrawing the business map in light of the pandemic, and how new graduates and students can prepare for professional life and seize opportunities in the context of changes to the job market which are expected to continue for some time.
Effrosyni Parampota, an expert in career guidance and professional development at QCDC, says: “The acute stress caused by the pandemic has accelerated the economic, social and demographic shifts that were already underway due to the sweep of the Fourth Industrial Revolution across our world, which has made modern technology an essential factor in reshaping jobs and skills and had an impact on the size and the components of workforces.”
Parampota believes that the job market of the future will witness a huge demand for roles related to STEM fields, such as data analysts and scientists, Artificial Intelligence and machine learning specialists, robotics engineers, and software and application developers, as well as digital transformation specialists, and it is expected there will be an increasing need for them in the future. And she says there will be a demand for jobs in the fields of learning and development, and engineers across all industries, due to an increase in digital operations and the need for cybersecurity experts to protect organizations from potential cyberattacks.
The pandemic has also revealed the critical importance of healthcare staff, including physicians, nurses, paramedics, instructors, teaching assistants and specialists in social services
As for the health sector, Parampota says: “The pandemic has also revealed the critical importance of healthcare staff, including physicians, nurses, paramedics, instructors, teaching assistants and specialists in social services.
“There will also be a demand for jobs in service sectors and customer service areas in a variety of fields, such as psychology, rehabilitation, and family support, in addition to the increasing importance of jobs related to career guidance and development to help people define their goals and enhance their skills in order to stay competitive.”
Speaking about the challenges that graduates may face in choosing a career path and searching for suitable job opportunities, Parampota believes that: “Obtaining a university degree is only the starting point – the principle of lifelong learning and continuous development of skills will determine the ability of people to adapt and succeed in the future.
One of the most important points that young people should pay attention to is micro-certification
“One of the most important points that young people should pay attention to is micro-certification, where a number of training courses are offered online by reputable universities and professional institutions, in addition to a number of vocational training opportunities. Demonstrating proficiency in knowledge, or in the acquisition of a specific skill, and documenting it through a certified degree added to personal profiles or online CVs, is an important element in attracting the attention of recruiters.”
In addition to lifelong learning, steps that can be taken in searching for job opportunities include making use of a number of mechanisms that can support young people in their career mission, according to Parampota. “Nowadays, recruitment companies are applying AI tools to screen CVs, so it is important for the job seeker to reflect keywords from the job description in their CVs,” she said.
“Any CV should also reflect the reasons why you feel you are a suitable candidate for this role, and, as with any written content, the introduction should attract the recruiting employer through a summary of what the candidate can offer to that job vacancy, and what distinguishes them from others, including the basic skills related to the job.
Attaching a virtual portfolio of projects undertaken during undergraduate study, or including research papers, is an added advantage
“Attaching a virtual portfolio of projects undertaken during undergraduate study, or including research papers, is an added advantage. Such a portfolio can feature the types of skills many employers look for, such as communication, writing, time management, active listening, project management, teamwork, and research. Employers want to know the accomplishments of the candidate, so it is important for them to be able to see and analyze how the candidate’s abilities can be measured in their work environment.”
Parampota considers networking as the most important element in job-seeking, and says young people should communicate and interact with employers to make it clear they are available to work and interested in applying for a job with them, either now or in the future. “Personal communication - through contacting recruitment agencies, and taking the initiative to send your CV to potential employers – are among the most important actions to be taken when looking for job opportunities,” she says.
“By communicating in this way, you may be able to ensure your CV is at the top, or near to the top, of recruitment platforms.”