Krithika Srivinasan is an Ex-Leadership of Byju’s, an alumna of University of Michigan with over 5 years of experience as a graduate and MBA consultant. Krithika has a hands-on experience of interaction with over 1Lakh students in her professional career where she has helped students in shaping their careers, seeking admission in top 10 universities of the globe. In her list of career achievements Krithika is also the president-elect of AIGAC and India’s only Harvard certified consultant for college admissions. Krithika works with C-suite to help improve leadership behaviour and effect a sustainable change as an executive and leadership coach. Under her leadership, CareerLabs has grown to a team of 150+, with 1Lakh+ students and 30000+ active users and over 3000 paid subscribers in less than a year.
Job-seekers today face a series of unexpected challenges caused by the unrelenting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Like most industries and institutions, the corporate world has also succumbed to the shortcomings of the so-called “new normal”. Looking for a job today demands a mandatory expansion in skill sets beyond the prerequisite technical expertise and work experience that is expected of each potential recruit. Recruiters today are looking for a variety of soft skills to facilitate a smooth transition into a new version of the corporate world that relies almost entirely on digital media for its functioning. Flourishing professionally in a space that has ceased to have clearly defined boundaries due to the present circumstances, and being your most productive self despite the unusual situation — that we all find ourselves in — is a monumental task.
The most important skill that you must have in order to be able to find a job in the present circumstances is tech savviness. While virtual communication had already begun creeping into more and more aspects of our lives as a result of the ongoing digital revolution, the pandemic unceremoniously fast-forwarded the process. Today, in addition to professional interaction and work-related correspondence, most of our communication with friends and family is virtual as well. This leaves no doubt that being tech savvy, and comfortable with computers and the internet, is an absolutely necessary skill to have. The ubiquity of digital skills is such that recruiters expect one to have them, no questions asked.
In a world where communication has become complicated in a heretofore unimaginable manner, social skills are critical to thriving in both the professional and the personal sphere. Where most conversations with people familiar or unfamiliar happen over internet-based video calls or faceless voice calls, empathy, respect, and active listening take on new degrees of importance. If it was difficult to form new connections earlier, the extra challenges it is now laced with should come as no surprise. Moreover, communicating online is also prone to misunderstandings, due to the lack of social cues like facial expressions or body language. To ensure that your message is not lost in translation or misinterpretation, it is vital to be unambiguous and concise, and also sufficiently transparent in providing clarity or addressing any confusion, should it arise.
In addition to adapting continually to the vast variety of virtual interactions you will be expected to participate in, corporate work life also expects constant adaptability and flexibility. From entering a new workplace to dealing with people of various departments and levels of hierarchy, you will be expected to adjust wordlessly to each new task thrown at you, or scenario you find yourself in. The parameters for successfully scaling a company change at every stage of growth, and a dynamic approach will be expected of any employee in such an environment. This is especially true in a start-up or an otherwise relatively new company.
As a fresh recruit, you will find yourself in new situations that you have never before been faced with, everyday. Resourcefulness and being able to think critically and creatively will take you a long way in responding to these novel situations and problems. Moreover, creativity and innovation are qualities that create space for growth and development. If you wish to progress in any field, these are essential qualities you must work to acquire and sustain. The corporate sphere is no different, and being able to think outside the so-called box is sure to get you noticed. The problems of today are unique, and therefore, demand unique solutions too.
Lastly, previously held leadership positions reflect well on your CV, as leadership skills are relevant whether or not you are in a position of authority at your new job. They have a lot less to do with leading others than they have to do with demonstrating a clear thought process and strategising effectively. Being self-aware and holding yourself accountable where necessary, builds your credibility and establishes you as someone who possesses leadership qualities. Accepting feedback from superiors and colleagues gracefully is the mark of a secure potential leader, and is seldom met with anything but appreciation.
To hire an employee that a recruiter can see contributing positively to the future of their company is not an easy task by any means. Most recruiters have now adopted the group discussion format for mass screening of candidates, as it is often able to provide an overview of multiple personality traits in one round of the recruitment process. Soft skills are often treated as insignificant CV padding alongside mentions of more important technical skills, but that is not the case anymore. Your soft skills can make or break your application to your dream job, and there has never been a better time to cultivate them than now.