Lost Your Job Due to COVID-19? 5 Professionals Share How They Realigned Their Career Paths

By this time, we all know someone who has taken a pay cut or lost a job, due to the ongoing pandemic. But even during these devastating times of economic uncertainty, several laid-off employees are surviving and thriving in different avenues they hadn’t tried before. They have also been able to rediscover hobbies, passions for cooking, gardening, music, art or binging on the latest series!

We spoke to five individuals from different fields who lost their jobs recently but got back on their feet fairly soon. Here’s what they had to say.

“Studying is a great alternative, especially with all this time.”

Akshay Kumar AV, 25 who was working with a reputed college as an assistant professor lost his job during the pandemic but in a month’s time, he took the decision to complete his PhD while he had the time.

“With the online classes in place for the current academic year, the requirement for teachers have also reduced gradually. My first thought was obviously to send out resumes to all the institutions I knew and even try to get referred by friends at these colleges, but nothing seemed to work. That’s when I started listing out all my future goals and realised that getting a PhD was right at the top,” says Akshay who is currently a part-time scholar at Christ University, Bengaluru.

“Yes, you have to try your best to land a job but also remember this a great time to do the other things that you had planned for yourself over the years. With everything becoming virtual and all this time on our hands, the opportunity to study at an international university or crack an exam that you’ve been preparing for is at the tip of your fingers,” he adds.

“It’s okay to take a detour”

Nileena Ajith, 25, who was working at an event management company based in Bengaluru decided to take an alternative route while looking for jobs.

“I knew that looking for a job in event management would not be the best option especially with the uncertainty of what the future holds. So I decided to look at my other skills and work with that. I narrowed down on marketing because that was an area I closely worked with even while working in an events company. But even when I was applying, I made sure that I didn’t settle for a job that I didn’t like, even though the times were desperate,” says Nileena who is now working as a Marketing Executive for a personal care brand.

“Go online and start researching industries and companies that are currently hiring. Identify and find personal connections in these organizations. Also make sure your LinkedIn profile or your profile on any other job portal is updated with current content, industry keywords, and clear value and to increase your online visibility by consistently engaging on the site,” she adds.

She also goes on to explain from her experience over the two months that often jobs aren’t posted — so you need to leverage your network to identify possible leads, opportunities or unadvertised openings.

“I switched from scrolling through my Instagram feed to scrolling through my LinkedIn account for a while and I think that did half the work in finding a job,” says Nileena.

“You never know what strikes a chord with an employer.”

Nayana Premnath, 30, is a YouTuber and an Instagram Influencer. She has not held a full-time job for over three years now, but started searching during the pandemic season.

“I decided to put up my skills as a YouTuber on my resume, even though I had no clue whether it would be counted as a useful skill. But in about a month’s time, I got the job of a content associate at an online learning portal and this was mainly because of my experience,” she explains.

“Remember to include your recent employment and career achievements on your resume, and be prepared to customise content for every application, you never know what will strike a chord with the employer,” she adds.

“Referrals can go a long way.”

Aishwarya Mohanan, 24, was working as a category manager with an e-commerce company when she lost her job mid-April.

“After I lost my job, I wasn’t exactly sure where things were headed and I was finding it difficult to find something that matched my area of interest. But my previous company was helpful in referring and recommending me to several other companies which turned out to be very helpful and I was able to get a job through the referral,” she explains.

“Although I’m working in a smaller company, I’m able to put all of my experience to its full use and I’ve also realised that looking at smaller companies or freelancing is a smarter option, especially during this pandemic season when everyone is looking for a job,” she adds.

“Ask the right questions.”

Hithan TR, 25, who was working as a financial modelling and conversion associate at a financial services company based in Trivandrum was finding it difficult to adjust to the unhealthy corporate culture at his workplace and decided to put down his papers during the pandemic.

“It was a risky decision but I couldn’t continue to work in a toxic environment. So I started conversing with my previous job’s colleagues about openings that are available and that’s when they suggested rejoining my previous company which is based in Bengaluru. As I had a good relationship with my previous manager and was eligible to rejoin, I was easily able to boomerang back into my old job,” says Hithan, who is currently working as a conversion associate in a Bengaluru based financial solutions company.

“Engaging conversations with your colleagues can go a long way. Instead of simply asking people to help you find a job. Inquire about opportunities, leads or information to support your job plan. For example, if there is a company that interests you, try to connect with people who work there to learn about the company culture. Or ask for an introduction to a person working in a field or role that interests you and ask them how they got their placement,” adds Hithan.

Whether you are mulling a new career direction or just waiting to find the perfect job, remember that it’s natural to feel lost or worried. And it’s equally essential that you surround yourself with positivity and keep networking until you achieve your goals.

(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)

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