A persistent difficulty the youth face is their inexperience. When applying for internships or part-time positions, their lack of familiarity with nuances of an industry will inevitably be scrutinised. Often, they struggle to compete with a more aware competition on this point - it can prove a difficult roadblock to overcome.
This is certainly true of established vocations, where young entrants in the labour force have to grind through menial and low-level positions before even getting a whiff of a more ambitious opportunity. So if you do not like the game, change the rules.
The youth today have an opportunity unlike their predecessors. The rise of social media and the digitalisation of most facets of life has opened up avenues where they have an inherent advantage - content creation like podcasts, blogs and vlogs, among others. Of course, there are two ways to go about entering the field.
One would be the more orthodox route of taking an internship, for example, with a company who has a social media marketing team. This is a safer option, and the advantage is such that companies often look to hire younger employees who have a better understanding of the ins and outs of using tech and social media.
The alternative, which is riskier (in the sense that it has a lesser chance of doing well) is to produce your own content. Traditional entrepreneurial ventures are often hailed for the extent of autonomy it grants to those who pursue them. In a way, digital content creation is no different.
An individual running an own YouTube channel has control over the subject matter, platform and guests. Similarly, a blogger has control over what they write about, how often they post, and what kind of theme and format to follow. Entering the digital content creation field allows the young to subvert the issue of being beholden to conventions in fields where they are unable to compete. At least, in the early stages of their careers.
They have an advantage in the digital content world because they are more technologically native, having grown up with it embedded in their lives.
I came across a podcast run by students from Dubai College, going by the name of The Dialogue Hypothesis. The podcast features different students discussing a range of topics, from engineering to music to charity. What I took away from this was that digital content creation offers a degree of flexibility that is unparalleled by most traditional career options.
It can be pursued to explore a hobby or interest, perhaps to share a talent or opinions, or even to demonstrate one’s depth and act as a valuable asset on future CVs.
A firm handle
Educational institutions are also beginning to recognise the role digital content will play in the future of vocation, and are rightly adapting curriculums to acquaint students with the necessary skills to be able to enter the field at a younger age, should they so wish. I have had many first-hand experiences with this, as towards the latter stages of my secondary education, I found my assignments to comprise less of worksheets and more of creating videos.
Recently, I applied for a research program at my university, and I have been instructed that the format of the findings are to be presented in the form of a podcast. For me, this is indicative of an overarching shift in emphasis on digital content creation.
I would urge more youth to view it as a viable option for their immediate future. Given the proper time and commitment, it will yield dividends. At worst, it serves to supplement a resume.
At best, who knows what kind of exciting career prospects it could lead to? The possibilities are limitless.
- Umer Lakhani is a Dubai-based undergrad.