With the coronavirus pandemic rocking our world, it is understandable to feel stressed, overwhelmed, and isolated. But just because these are challenging times, that doesn’t mean your career needs to grind to a halt. In fact, with the slowdown, this could be the perfect moment to reevaluate your professional trajectory and consider a new direction. Instead of spending the entire day glued to your TV awaiting the latest news updates, channel that nervous energy into formulating a career strategy. Here are some productive ways to manage the current situation and still move your career forward.
Take a step back to reevaluate your career
With people working remotely and some businesses shutting down, this may leave you with some extra time on your hands. That makes this the perfect opportunity to move your career forward. Think about where you are now and where you want to be. Do you feel fulfilled in your current job? If not, why not? Have you thought about starting a business? Now might be the ideal time to begin crafting a business plan or conducting informational interviews (via video conference). While you might be stuck working remotely, that shouldn’t prevent you from continuing to network in safe ways.
Work on your personal branding
How long has it been since you dusted off your résumé? Or updated your LinkedIn profile? Take this time to reflect on your professional achievements. Instead of a bullet point list of duties and responsibilities relating to each position, quantify your accomplishments. Employers want to see workers who can achieve solid results. Consider hiring a career coach or resume writer to support you and help you move your career forward. Resources like these are unbiased and can help you avoid some of the biggest job search mistakes.
Continue your job search
Even though some companies are freezing new positions and laying off workers, others are hiring like crazy. Look at Amazon—they are bringing on thousands of workers to meet the surge in demand as more people turn to online shopping. Other companies seeking new employees include online learning companies, grocery stores, and remote meeting and communication companies like Zoom and Slack. Delivery food services like Postmates, Grubhub, Uber Eats, and DoorDash are also seeing higher demand for their services. “This crisis is really a breakout moment for gig companies and for delivery companies in particular,” says Julia Pollak, an economist at ZipRecruiter. “That shift to e-commerce, which was already happening very rapidly, is just going to accelerate.” So, while it may seem like the world is at a standstill, now is not the time to press the pause button on your job search. In fact, by putting yourself out there now, you’ll be more likely to stand out from the crowd.
Prepare to interview remotely
Many companies are continuing to recruit in an effort to prevent a business slowdown. Those firms are now turning to virtual interview methods, like video conference calls, more than ever before. As an interviewee, this presents specific challenges. First, make sure you have a strong, reliable internet connection. Test your software and camera prior to the interview and dress like you would for an in-person interview. Practice looking into the lens and making eye contact. This technique makes you a more engaging potential hire. Remove all distractions (including the kids and the dog) and ensure that the interviewer won’t be hearing your doorbell ring or the neighbor’s lawn mower. Like any interview, if you prepare well before the big day, you’ll make a favorable first impression.
This isn’t a time to take a break from your career. Instead, use this time to strategically plan your next move. By focusing on how to move your career forward, you’ll be better positioned to take advantage of opportunities when the situation inevitably bounces back.
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