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Online Networking: A Necessity in COVID Reality

Online Networking: A Necessity in COVID Reality

Photo Credit: Sheridon Gayle

By: Marleen Campbell| USM VP of Academics

It is evident that we are now living in a new era. Many of us would have expected life to continue as per usual, but 2020 would have shown us that life has its pivots and we have to adjust accordingly. There has been a paradigm shift in all sectors and in the way how we execute every aspect of our lives; in business, in education, and many other areas.

The Jamaican job market has been adversely affected by the pandemic and the consequent economic fallout that accompanied it. Companies have had to cut staff to stay afloat after sustaining major losses. This reality accentuates the continued issue of unemployment and underemployment, for students who are pursuing tertiary education. This has left university students in our nation anxious and uncertain about their futures when they consider life after receiving higher education qualifications.

In this day and age, Jamaica has been allowing its human resources to be underused and misused. After 3-4 years of tertiary education and completing a bachelor’s degree, university students enter the workforce being underemployed. This is very evident in the employment of many university graduates in call centres as customer service representatives. Hence, more space needs to be created in various industries through innovation and investment, to help these youth to find jobs in their respective fields. In Jamaica, many persons get hired through their network, some would refer to that practice colloquially as “links.”

University students need to work on creating these “links” even in a virtual space to get ahead of these opportunities so that they can be ahead of the job pool and in charge of their own destinies. Students should start engaging platforms like LinkedIn, where they can connect with the movers and shakers in their preferred career field. It doesn’t stop there, students should also engage with these persons, have conversations with them and form bonds which can lead to them receiving necessary mentorship or even that job opportunity they were anticipating.

Quite frankly, the reality scares me as a university student but we need to accept the reality and work around it to shape our own future. We must learn how to function in this new reality, even as we seek to become game-changers in our country and world. Some of the skills and lessons that this pandemic has taught us are adaptability, perseverance, and resilience. These are the skills that we as university students will need when we enter the world of work. It is crucial even as we network in this online modality that we utilize and develop these skills. If it’s one thing that this pandemic has taught us it is that our education is our responsibility, so take a hold of it and chart your own course to your future. 

The views expressed in this article are solely the writer’s and not of the Hilltop Trumpet

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