Updated: Nov 17
In the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Indian job market has undergone a seismic shift. The once-familiar landscape of job hunting and employment has transformed into an unfamiliar terrain filled with uncertainties, layoffs, and economic recession. It is a landscape where competition is fierce, job vacancies are scarce, and many are grappling with the challenges of unemployment or underemployment.
As India and the world grapple with the aftermath of the pandemic, finding a job has become more than just an employment search—it is a quest for stability, growth, and a secure future. This journey is no longer just about updating your resume and scouring job portals—it requires a unique approach that sets you apart from the myriad of job seekers in the country. So, whether you are a recent graduate, seeking a career change, or simply looking for your next professional adventure, read on to discover how to navigate the Indian job market with confidence and resilience.
Let us embark on this journey together as we uncover a unique roadmap to finding your place in the Indian job market amidst these extraordinary times.
Redefine Your Skillset
In an ever-evolving job market, adapting and redefining your skillset to remain competitive and seize emerging opportunities is essential. Rather than limiting yourself to traditional roles, consider upskilling or reskilling in industries that have seen significant growth due to the pandemic’s influence on the economy. Here are some resources to get you started:
Online Courses and Certifications: Online learning platforms offer resources to help you acquire new skills. Websites like Coursera, edX, Udacity, and LinkedIn-Learning provide courses and certifications in various fields. For technology-related skills, consider platforms like Codecademy, Pluralsight, or Treehouse.
LinkedIn Learning Paths: LinkedIn offers curated learning paths in various domains. These paths consist of a series of courses and can help you acquire a comprehensive skillset in specific areas of interest.
Online Communities: Join online communities, forums, and discussion boards related to your industry of interest. Engaging in these communities can provide insights, networking opportunities, and a sense of belonging to the field.
Market Research: Stay informed about the specific skills and qualifications employers in your desired industry are seeking. Tailor your upskilling efforts to align with these requirements.
Engage with professionals in your desired field through online forums, LinkedIn, and industry-specific webinars. Building a meaningful network can lead to job referrals and recommendations.
It is integral to network efficiently. To begin with, start by reaching out to people on LinkedIn or other networking platforms whose profiles you might like. For example, one of their degrees, jobs, or internships. Do this by reaching out to people in mass volumes. Create by drafting messages you want to send to make a connection request. Here is a template that you can customize as per the person’s profile and your specific needs:
I hope this message finds you well. I am excited to connect with professionals like you on LinkedIn. Your profile and expertise are impressive, and I believe we can mutually benefit from our connection.
Looking forward to networking and sharing insights.
While doing this, you will encounter distinct types of individuals. First, some people simply do not respond or are inactive. Remember not to lose hope here! Second, you will find individuals who may eventually respond but on their schedule, and their assistance may only sometimes be helpful. However, the key to effective networking lies in identifying and engaging with the third category—proactive and engaged individuals. It is essential to approach them with a well-prepared mindset to tap into the potential of these valuable connections. Have your questions ready, seek out information relevant to your job search, and enter conversations with a learner’s attitude. By doing so, you will not only make a positive impression but also foster meaningful relationships that can significantly enhance your job search efforts.
Freelancing and Gig Work
In today’s gig economy, individuals increasingly turn to freelancing and part-time gig work as viable options to bridge employment gaps and take control of their careers. Platforms such as Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer have become powerful tools for connecting skilled professionals with a global clientele. These platforms offer many opportunities to showcase your unique skills and steadily build a diverse portfolio while earning a sustainable income.
Freelancing, in particular, allows you to leverage your expertise flexibly. Whether you are a graphic designer, writer, programmer, marketer, video editor, or possess any other marketable skill—these platforms provide a level playing field where you can compete with established professionals and enterprises. You can choose the projects that align with your interests and expertise. This gives you the freedom to pursue your passion while earning a livelihood.
Establishing a strong personal brand is essential to distinguish yourself from the crowd in a fiercely competitive job market. Building an effective personal brand requires a strategic approach. Utilizing various coaching tools and websites can significantly aid in this endeavor. Here are some valuable resources to enhance your branding efforts:
LinkedIn: Use this platform to showcase your skills and work experience and connect with industry professionals. You can also share articles and posts related to your expertise.
Personal Website: Building a personal website is a powerful way to showcase your unique skills and accomplishments. Platforms like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace offer user-friendly tools for creating a professional website. Share your portfolio, blog about your industry insights, and provide a contact page for potential employers or clients to reach out to.
Online Portfolios: Websites like Behance (for designers) or GitHub (for developers) are excellent for creating online portfolios. These platforms allow you to showcase your work, projects, and skills in a visually appealing and organized manner.
Blogging Platforms: Start a blog on platforms like Medium, WordPress, or Blogger to share your knowledge and insights. Regularly publishing articles related to your field can help establish you as an authority in your niche and improve your online visibility.
Professional Coaching and Training: Consider seeking the guidance of a career coach or personal branding expert. Websites like BetterUp, LinkedIn Learning, or Udemy offer courses and coaching services to help you develop your unique brand strategy.
Social Media Management Tools: Use tools like Hootsuite or Buffer to manage and schedule social media posts. Consistent and strategic content sharing across platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram can help you maintain a cohesive personal brand image.
Feedback Platforms: Websites like Replika or SurveyMonkey can help you gather feedback from peers, colleagues, and mentors regarding your personal brand. Constructive criticism and insights from others can be invaluable for refining your branding efforts.
Online Courses: Platforms like Coursera, edX, and Skillshare offer courses on personal branding, communication skills, and digital marketing. These courses can equip you with the knowledge and skills to effectively manage and grow your brand.
Visual Branding Tools: Use tools like Canva or Adobe Spark to create visually appealing graphics and infographics that align with your brand. Visual elements can leave a lasting impression on your audience.
Personal branding is an ongoing process. Continuously refine and adapt your strategy based on feedback and changing industry trends.
Adaptability and Flexibility
Given the uncertainty of the current job market, be flexible in your job preferences. Consider internships, apprenticeships, or entry-level positions to gain experience. Be open to relocating as some regions may offer better job prospects.
India offers a variety of government initiatives and schemes to support job seekers and entrepreneurs. Knowing about and leveraging these programs can significantly enhance your job search or entrepreneurial endeavours. Here is a more detailed look at some of these initiatives and how to access them:
Skill India: Skill India is a government initiative designed to enhance the skill sets of the Indian workforce. It offers various training programs and courses to improve employability. To access Skill India programs, visit the official website to explore available courses and training opportunities. Social media channels like Twitter and LinkedIn often share updates about Skill India programs and events.
Make in India: Make in India is a campaign to promote manufacturing and business investments in India. It can create opportunities for job seekers and entrepreneurs looking to participate in these industries. Stay informed about the latest developments and opportunities related to Make in India by visiting the official website and following related government social media profiles.
National Career Service (NCS): The NCS portal provides myriad employment-related services. Job seekers can find job listings, career counseling, and skill assessments. Register on the NCS portal to access job listings, receive personalized job alerts, and utilize career guidance resources.
Startup India: For aspiring entrepreneurs, Startup India offers various benefits, including funding support, tax benefits, and business development assistance. Register your startup on the Startup India portal and explore the available resources and incentives for entrepreneurs.
Mahila E-Haat: Mahila E-Haat is a platform for women entrepreneurs to showcase and sell their products and services. It is a great initiative for women looking to start or grow their businesses. Women entrepreneurs can register on the Mahila E-Haat portal to promote their products and connect with potential customers.
LinkedIn and Twitter: Follow official government accounts on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter to stay updated on the latest initiatives, programs, and job opportunities. Many government departments and ministries have active profiles.
Job Boards and Placement Services: There are various job boards and placement services in India, such as Naukri.com, Shine.com, and Indeed India. These platforms aggregate job listings from different sources and help job seekers find relevant positions. For women looking to start/restart their careers, websites like LedBy Foundation, SHEROES, and HerKey specifically cater to their needs.
Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY): PMKVY is a government scheme for providing skill development training to youth across India. It is another resource for those looking to enhance their skills. Visit the official website to find training centres and programs near you.
The job search process can be disheartening, but resilience is critical. Stay positive, maintain a routine, and seek emotional support from friends and family. Consider joining support groups or online communities where you can share your experiences and gain encouragement.
Finding a job in India’s post-pandemic recession is undoubtedly challenging, but it is not impossible. Embrace change, adapt, and be open to unconventional opportunities. By redefining your skillset, networking strategically, and staying resilient, you can navigate the Indian job market successfully, even in these turbulent times.
Remember that every job seeker’s journey is unique. Do not be discouraged by setbacks, and keep refining your approach as you move forward in your quest to find a fulfilling job in the Indian landscape.
Here is an Excel sheet that you can use to visualize your progress.
All the best! Authors: Anushka Maheshwari & Saman Waheed