As the world comes to a near full stop to avoid the spread of COVID-19, many young graduates and professionals are frantically trying to manage their anxiety and cope with the reduced pool of jobs and internships offers. Lockdowns, closed borders, and canceled flights are forcing many young graduates to either cancel or postpone their plans and the looming threat of an economic recession gives all of us plenty of reasons to worry.
However, there is still hope on the horizon. The right way to manage a crisis is to become a problem-solver and look for alternative ways to accomplish your goals. The future is unpredictable, but many NGOs and international organizations continue to work remotely and they will need as many people as possible to manage the consequences of the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Here are three main reasons why you shouldn’t give up your job or internship hunt:
More opportunities to work remotely
For many young graduates, remote internships or entry-level positions may not seem as hands-on and involved. Like all internships and entry-level positions, the kind of mentorship you received and the tasks you perform are more important than whether you are physically present or not.
For more experienced professionals, we can expect that most job postings for the foreseeable future will be completely or partially remote. There are still plenty of options and opportunities. Plus, many consultancies are already home-based, so if you are already an expert in a certain area and looking to make a career transition, now might be a good time to check consultancy opportunities with UNDP, for example.
There are plenty of organizations that already offer remote positions on a regular basis (e.g. Internews, Seefar, Humanitarian OpenStreet Map) and now many others are open to interns and workers to start on a remote basis.
More positions available related to COVID-19
Young graduates seeking positions in either humanitarian action, international development or human rights must know by now that crisis, unfortunately, multiplies job offers in these areas. From the migrant crisis on the European shores to the Ebola outbreaks, these kinds of tragedies always demand more specialized human resources—this is an opportunity to make a difference.
Right now, there are plenty of offers on websites such as ReliefWeb related to the humanitarian response to COVID-19. For entry-level positions, you will most likely find jobs related to Communication for Development and internships.
It’s always a good idea to reach out to local NGOs working in your area, especially those who deliver direct assistance to communities in vulnerable situations, and ask them whether they require any help during this period. Like we mentioned before, volunteering is a smart way to get your foot in the door and many organizations are in need of extra hands at this moment.
More time to fine-tune your CV, learn new skills, and network online
Another way you can cope with the lockdown imposed by COVID-19 is to fine-tune your CV. Oftentimes, young graduates are juggling many things at once to keep afloat and it can be difficult to really examine your strengths and weaknesses and craft a CV that showcases your skills. If you feel like there is something missing in your CV but you never got the time to get it right, now is the time to do it.
Similarly, you can take advantage of the lockdown to really focus on your digital presence and reach out to other professionals or learn a new skill. More people are spending their time online and this can be your chance to participate in important conversations taking place about social and economic issues and sector-specific challenges related to the fallout of COVID-19. It’s also a great time to learn a language, devise a new syllabus, pick up a credential, or explore subjects that you’ve been putting off. There are many courses and opportunities available online at no cost (the paid ones are pretty cool too).
There are still plenty of opportunities during COVID-19 and there will many more after the lockdown is over.
However, if you feel psychologically overwhelmed, it’s also okay to take a break and focus on other things in your life, such as caring for your family and friends. Practicing self-care is also an important skill that you will need throughout your career.