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A Post-COVID World for Jobseekers & Young Professionals by Zethu Gumede

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So, I finally decided to be somewhat productive and spent an hour and a half gauging insight from a webinar by the Royal Aeronautical Society titled, “How best to prepare for a career in aerospace and aviation following a crisis”.

This topic came at an important time when job seekers are tense and early career professionals are questioning their development. I want to tell you that we’re all on the same page. However, there are three key takeaways from this webinar I would like to share with you.

1. Up-skill

The reality is, unlike for previous generations, few jobs will last us until retirement. Being adaptable and flexible in changing environments will be a key skill to have at this time because the one thing we can be certain of is the unpredictability of our environment.  You need to improve your soft skills, which can be defined as your attributes needed for success on a job. Examples of these soft skills would be your critical-thinking and general emotional intelligence. These skills will come in handy because you may not find your dream job or find it but fail to get the salary that you think you deserve. To survive the effects of the COVID-19 post-lockdown, you most definitely need to tick on emotional intelligence!

As the lockdown has emphasized, being tech-savvy has not only become extremely advantageous but a necessity. This means knowing the “internet of things”, Big Data, robotics, coding, web development and digital marketing. Unfortunately for most South Africans, due to inequalities of the past and the present, this has become a huge marginalization from society’s current function. You need not let this beat you down!  The digital world may seem overwhelming in jargon and technique but we need to find a way to sift through it in manageable proportions. Our survival in the changing world requires it. With the vast amount of time you have YouTube, Coursera, Canva, Udemy and Edx are valuable resources for this.

2. Prepare

Start by self-reviewing your long-term and short-term goals with honesty. When last did you update your CV? Is it still 5 pages with all your high-school subjects? Right then you need to hear this. CV’s are now clear one-pagers with all the information recruiters need. Find out the latest CV formats and update it to a brilliant one-pager. Cover letters are where the magic is at. That cute story of how you were the captain of the netball team? Put it there. The great skills you’ve gained in the aviation industry? That’s the best place to put them and expand their relevance in the role you’re applying for. Aerospace and aviation has many ratings that are useful in describing your job skills for any industry jobs.

Many job interviews will be conducted via virtual means such as video-conferencing. Learn how to use these platforms in a professional setting. Familiarize yourself with interview questions and good communication skills. The aviation and aerospace industry tend to have psychometric testing, there’s no ‘trick’ to these exams but find out what they are and how they are conducted.

3. Network

If anything, time has taught us is that storms do pass and, on the horizon, beautiful rainbows emerge. Many companies are currently retrenching but they will be a time when more employment opportunities arise and you must be prepared. In the meantime, brush up your transferable skills and online network. Social media is the most common networking platform where you interact with others. There are good networking and bad networking conduct, make a conscious effort for good networking. Visibility is key in creating yourself as socially aware and a thought-leader in your industry of interest. LinkedIn is a good place to create a CV of yourself that recruiters will love. Stay engaged on current topics and update your profile. Interact with industry leaders and comment on pieces relating to your interests.

Lastly, be flexible, the current climates mean things are not going to be initially as desirable as we would like. Be flexible in how you approach job opportunities and self-development knowing your end goal. There is only one way to survive the uncertainty of a post-corona virus reality and that is to commit to a lifetime of learning. You’re already there engaging in informative blogs. Good job!

Zethu Gumede

Outreach Coordinator (GFPA Foundation)

Air Traffic Service Officer

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