It’s a strange time to be alive—but if you’re alive and looking for a job, it’s probably even stranger. Be it students who’ve graduated into not just a pandemic but also a recession, or those who’ve been furloughed or laid off—looking for a job right now can be painfully tough. With 122 million Indians having lost jobs in just the last month, the situation seems particularly bleak. But offering a tiny ray of hope in this are these ventures helping people get jobs and internships in a reality no one saw coming.
Skillr, a job access platform providing a live COVID hiring tracker, was created by the same guys as those behind Leapskills—a company that provides skill development training programmes to students from small towns and rural areas of the country. The platform was originally planned to be launched in May but after the industry-wide layoffs that occured in March, they decided to launch early. “A lot of people started approaching Leapskills telling us how they had been laid off, asking if we could do something,” says founder Ankit Durga. “We realised that while we can’t do a lot, and can’t suddenly get companies to hire, we definitely can connect them.”
The website launched at the beginning of April, with about 2,400 companies listed on the platform. Currently, almost 2,000 companies are hiring on the platform, with the number of actively hiring companies within the top growing industries going up by over 41 percent in the last week on their platform. As the data on their website suggests, the current hiring trends are the strongest for IT, marketing, and software-based industries, steady for financial and healthcare industries, and low for hospitality and retail industries. The website also provides a service where they allow you to send in their résumé to them, and they then connect this résumé to a company looking to hire someone with similar skill sets.
“it is a very tough time because it's difficult to verify information, to know if the leads you’re chasing are right or wrong,” says Durga. “So you shouldn’t look at agencies and consultants, and instead, go to the companies directly for the hiring process. Keep researching which sectors are hiring. Many companies have now realised that remote working is possible, so they’ll be cautious in opening office spaces, so keep that in mind. The employment landscape will only open up when the industry bounces back—which is not when the lockdown ends, but in fact, much, much later."
Short for ‘discover’, Dysco is a professional networking and discovery platform that brings together people with unconventional career options. “A lot of jobs don’t fit the 9-to-5 job descriptions anymore,” says CEO and co-founder Khrisha Shah. “There are more new and niched opportunities available, but a big gap on where to find them—no such platform for people like entrepreneurs, freelancers and content creators, who don’t fit into any of the boxes. So we call it social recruitment, where some elements of social media are mixed in with traditional recruitment.”
Dysco has an ongoing list of companies hiring in the current times as well as a list of freelancers looking for work. Additionally, they’re also running a CV upgrading initiative. “While it is a worrying time for us at Dysco since a lot of people in our community have jobs that have completely stopped, it's interesting to see a lot more people looking for collaborations here”, says Shah. Advising people looking for jobs, she adds, “People should keep an eye out to see how jobs will evolve in the future and keep evolving themselves with it. Moreover, they should not keep themselves restricted to just one industry, but keep exploring options in related industries as well. Don’t pressure yourself to do too much right now, but have conversations and keep in touch with people for the future.”
Internshala is one of India's most frequented employment websites, mainly providing opportunities to students and fresh graduates. In the current economic slowdown, it has been a popular source for young Indians to look for employment opportunities. In April alone, it saw a whopping 73 percent surge in applications, compared to the same month last year. Currently, around 12,000 companies are hiring on the website, the majority of which are startups, mainly in the sectors of content writing, business development, and web development. It provides both work-from-home and in-office opportunities, though the latter has turned out to be less popular amid the lockdown.
“People who are looking for employment opportunities right now should look into volunteering and learning a new skill that would help their job prospects later,” says Kavya Papana from Internshala. To the graduates who might be looking for opportunities, she says they should brush up on their résumés with work-from-home internships, and simultaneously practise for interviews in the future. “The last time a slowdown like this happened was back in 2008-2009, after which a lot of start-ups emerged. So, I feel, this situation would lead to the emergence of a lot of self-employment opportunities and entrepreneurs.”
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This article originally appeared on VICE IN.