Student life as with all other aspects of day to day life has been affected by the global pandemic. With different measures taken to prevent the spread of the virus, most universities have shut their doors and moved to online teaching and students were left to cope with a new way of life and an uncertain career future. Although those changes present challenges to higher education, the opportunities for learning and personal development should not be overlooked. In this career advice series, we are exploring how students around the world can continue their academic and professional development by speaking to professionals to produce country-specific advice on how you can plan your next steps on your academic and career journeys. We published our advice for students in Thailand last week and this week we are addressing students in India.
We spoke with Rashi, PROWIBO intern and a law student at the Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab, India about how students in India can continue their academic and professional development in the age of COVID-19.
What materials/resources are available to students?
There is a plethora of materials/resources available to students on the internet. A simple click on any search engine like Yahoo or Google can be helpful in extracting information. Students also have access to various books, journals, articles, blogs, and websites like Jstor, etc. that can help. Schools and universities have made it easier for students to access the course material online.
How can students continue learning in the absence of face-to-face teaching?
In India, conventional classes have shifted to online platforms like Google Meet, Zoom, Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, etc. These make it convenient for the teachers and instructors to reach all the required students at the same time. These platforms are also accessible to the students and very simple to use.
How can students work on their professional skills (soft skills) from home?
In order to work on their professional skills (soft skills), students can use various online platforms that are available to them. Pursuing a course provided by platforms like Coursera, academiccourses.com, and Professors Without Borders can help them a lot in developing skills like communication, creativity, writing, teamwork, etc. that can help them secure a job in the future. They can also join student groups where various students discuss and work on these skills together.
What career advice resources are available to students?
There are various career advice resources available to students like podcasts on all streaming platforms, videos on youtube, ebooks, articles and courses regarding the same. Students can also consult career advisors on video calls, Facebook lives, Instagram lives etc.
What online career opportunities are available to students?
To keep a track of online career opportunities that are available, students can use platforms like LinkedIn that provide an opportunity for employers to interact with students. Various platforms like Internshala, NoticeBard etc. also provide a list of available internships, traineeships etc.
What online volunteer opportunities are available to students?
There are various platforms that provide updates on online volunteer opportunities. Some of these are NoticeBard, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. In these difficult times, students can volunteer by doing social work, helping in raising funds for the needy, helping local businesses, etc.
What steps should graduating students be taking right now to prepare them to enter the job market?
The first step to be followed is to choose a career path that they are interested in. It is very important to be sure about the educational path that one chooses so that they can achieve expertise in that particular field and be passionate about working in the same direction.
The second step is to develop professional skills like communication, decision making, teamwork, etc. and that can be done by various means like taking up courses, etc. This is a very important step as it prepares the students for the job market and workplace environment.
The third step is researching jobs and employers. The students should be aware of the type of jobs available in the educational path they have chosen. The students should maintain a personalized list of employers they would like to work with in the future and explore salary trends in that field.
The fourth and final step is to timely update the resume. It is very important to showcase the most relevant work on your resume. A well-written resume increases the chances of you getting hired.
What online networking opportunities are available to students?
For online networking, students can use social media sites and applications like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc. that are easily accessible and simple to use.
How should students approach searching for career opportunities now? In 6 months?
When students find the exact area that they have an interest in, they should start keeping a track of the opportunities in that field especially if they are in their final year of university.
Maintaining a personalised list of the companies and firms of their choice can be useful as it helps keep a track of the opportunities there. Networking sites like LinkedIn prove to be really useful when it comes to searching for jobs as they make it easier for employers to interact directly with the students.
How should students contact potential employers about employment opportunities?
As mentioned earlier students can contact potential employers through sites like LinkedIn or by directly contacting them through means like email, etc. Before establishing contact, the students should make sure that they have an updated resume and are ready to make a good impression in front of potential employers. They should be professional and should keep a polite but formal tone while asking about employment opportunities.
Rashi is a student at the Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab, India pursuing B.A. LL.B. (Hons.). Her academic interests include International Law and Human Rights. She is passionate about promoting women’s rights and works with a few organisations in pursuance of the same. Rashi believes that everyone should have access to education and she has the experience of teaching underprivileged children with an NGO called Sarvahitey. Her alternate interests are listening to music and playing some musical instruments.