If the death toll of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is not giving you serious bouts of depression, here’s something scarier: For the past month, 10% of the US workforce, or close to 15 million people do not have jobs anymore, also thanks to the pandemic. As of the end of April, over 26 million people have looked into unemployment benefits, and the figure is not showing any signs of decline. This is millions of us who are struggling on multiple fronts: how to stay healthy, how to pay the bills, and how to keep sane with everything that’s going on.
With the job market at its rockiest in history, laid-off employees may want to use this lockdown period as an opportunity to reassess themselves in terms of their careers, what they really want to do as work, what their skills are, what the job market needs, and what skills they can develop to make themselves more “marketable” when the “new normal” kicks in.
The same goes for you, still working reader. You may be “secure” in your current job, but with the way the world economy is going, no one is dispensable. The business and commercial landscape is evolving, all the more because of the COVID-19 crisis. Demands from companies are changing, and if you plan to stick around in the employed sector of the economy, you need to keep your skillset updated to these demands. It doesn’t matter if you are “not so technical” and past your prime; if you want to stay employed, you have to reskill, upskill, and get your available skills in line with what the market needs. What skills are these? Take note of these skills that you need to acquire as soon as possible:
Up your critical thinking and problem-solving skills
According to a Society for Human Resource Management survey, the top soft skill that is absent among candidates according to 37% of employers is critical thinking and problem solving. The chance of someone with demonstrated problem solving and critical thinking skills getting hired is very high, as they are valued for providing options and solutions when companies face problems such as the current one everyone is facing.
Employers say they need a workforce fully equipped with skills beyond the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic to grow their businesses. These skills include critical thinking and problem solving, according to a 2010 Critical Skills Survey by the American Management Association and others.
Up your social media and digital marketing skills
With the current lockdown forcing businesses to shift to methods that do not require physical contact and the near future most probably seen to continue with this, efforts to encourage consumers to buy things have also shifted to online and digital. Thus, in-demand skills involve search engine marketing (marketing that will allow your business to shine in Google and other search engines), search engine optimization (marketing that will allow your online assets (website, social media) to be optimized so that your business will rank high on search engines), and email marketing.
While certain industries like Travel and Hospitality and Retail were hit very hard and it felt like they may take a while to restart, many other industries it seemed could see a tremendous need and opportunity to invest in Digital Marketing technology. It is also clear that for others, due to the changing nature of their businesses (e.g. fast food becoming a delivery business), they would be forced to rethink archaic marketing strategies, tools, and processes that they have been living with.
Up your AI skills
Jobs in artificial intelligence have been emerging through the years, and they will go further in popularity since COVID-19 discourages various practices such as working in physical buildings and people being physically close to each other. Moreover, AI has resulted in more efficiency in business operations, encouraging companies to be on the lookout for AI experts.
The most successful AI professionals often share common characteristics that enable them to succeed and advance in their careers. Working with artificial intelligence requires an analytical thought process and the ability to solve problems with cost-effective, efficient solutions. It also requires foresight about technological innovations that translate to state-of-the-art programs that allow businesses to remain competitive.
Up your data analytics skills
Skills in data analytics allow you to analyze raw data so you can discover trends, patterns, and recommendations that will prove crucial to businesses. Even now, data analysts and scientists are very much in demand to improve contact tracing and healthcare efforts and win the war against COVID-19.
The task of a Data Analyst is to process the varied data concerning the customers, the products, or the performances of the company, to release indicators useful for the decision-makers. Thus, the information provided by the data analyst enables companies to define the products to be offered to customers according to their needs, the marketing strategy to adopt, or the improvements to be made to the production process.
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