Finding a job during the pandemic: The value-added approach

As Jamaica’s general election draws near, many are left with burning questions regarding the state of jobs for the nation’s youth. Recently in the leadership debate, both parties shared that the digital divide, BPOs and new fields are the best options for youth, I beg to offer an additional viewpoint.

Ask yourself what are they key skills you bring to the table that could set you apart.
(Photog: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg)

Annually, over a thousand graduates across Jamaica complete their journey in undergraduate and post-graduate level education with a shot at making their mark in a brave new world. Unfortunately, some won’t stand out as much either by choice or default and at times do not see the full potential of who they are. As we are now living in a pandemic with scarce resources and limited access, jobs are seemingly scarce. For the non- and tertiary-educated there is one thing that gives all Jamaicans the opportunity to create, find and earn now, more than ever – being a value-added individual in a business that delivers on profitable results.

Ok, let’s break that down.

Let’s say you lost your job during the pandemic, what key skills do you have that can assist in the space of not having a job? It’s important to know this as it shows overlooked areas people fail to recognise – their innate skills and abilities to deliver results.

Expert negotiator? Great!

Charming and a problem solver? Excellent!

The current space forces us to look at abilities that leverage; adaptable skills we need to thrive.

“All companies need clients, even in a pandemic. There are many free courses online that teach people how to sell and become a trusted source for clients.”

– Shane Bennett

So how do you stand out in a world of similar? Here’s how you answer that:

1)    Ask Yourself: What Can I Do?

For me, I’ve always been a writer. That has, however, expanded to become a writer/voice-over actor and podcast host. Please note that all skills are transferrable.

Years spent in media, PR, events and production; these skills are the basis of my world in digital; content plans, blog posts, reports, strategy and research to make the brands I oversee pop daily.

Tip: Sit down with yourself and ask, ‘what’s the ONE thing that makes you different?’ Maybe you’re an administrator and can organise like the best of them. Maybe you’re an ideator and can see problems in 3D, pick apart the causes and create solutions. Or maybe you’re great with your hands, and can create, code, or craft; whatever it is, you make it beautiful. Those skills are very much needed.

Increasingly, more people are developing and honing skills that they are able to market in an ever-growing digital world.

2)    Ask Yourself: Where Can I Go?

This next normal allows for a think-shift of sorts to make all that you think is impossible, possible. That being said, it’s time to think about where your innate skills can take you, not just local but global. Currently, there is a huge trend toward remote work. No longer do you need to leave Jamaica to work in places like Lithuania, Estonia, The UK, Australia, Canada, America and Dubai. Thousands of jobs, part and full time are present and ready for anyone to apply. But let’s say you don’t have the training as yet. Online there are hundreds of courses, many free from Google Garage, Coursera, LinkedIn Learning and more, offered to all; find a course and make that shift digitally in no time. What made you stand out in your last job can also make you a star in the next. Additionally, with online platforms such as Fiverr, Upwork and locally such as Bluedot Communa, you have great options available right here in the Caribbean to earn.

Thanks to technology, and an increasingly digital world, job opportunities can be made available without relocation or disruption. (Photo: Bloomberg)

Tip: Review all current openings, search far and wide and seek jobs that fit your skills and abilities. You belong on the global scale. Your online job could be an additional income while in Jamaica or it could be your full-time job. There are no limits when working remotely.

3)    Ask Yourself: What’s in Demand?

According to the social networking hub for professionals, LinkedIn, there are at least 10 key teachable skills that companies now need in 2020. While eight are specialized skills in areas such as cloud computing, blockchain, analytic reasoning and artificial intelligence, two are not – sales and affiliate marketing. When done well, these two can skyrocket your income from zero to hero.

According to the WeAreSocial Digital Survey over 680 million Caribbean Nationals are on LinkedIn which means one way or another you’ll need to look within, look outside or find a way to make it work. Going online is always the best.

Tip: All companies need clients, even in a pandemic. There are many free courses online that teach people how to sell and become a trusted source for clients. Master how to pitch and how to close sales, especially using digital/social media it’s another step in becoming more valuable.

Digital media and marketing strategist, Shane Bennett

Let’s face it, you already have the tools – a smartphone or laptop and the internet. The opportunities are truly limitless.

Until next time,


The Author

Shane Bennett is the co-founder of Social Media Day Jamaica. A media and marketing strategist by profession, he focuses on digital, experiential and public relations for personal, corporate and SME brands.