The whole world is on lockdown. What if I told you that you can still advance your career in these uncertain times?
Let me just start off by saying that you are probably tired of being bombarded with a million ways that we could stay "productive" during the COVID-19 pandemic. I have found myself in a more reflective mood rather than on power-drive mode. The reality is that the global economy will probably take some time to recover. And that will probably have an impact on the job market especially if you're graduating soon if you were looking to change careers or switch jobs.
Here are some ways that you can be proactive with your career rather than wait for the storm of Corona virus to pass.
1. Check-up on your references/mentors
You probably have a list of 2-3 people who you use as references and if you're like me, you probably only get in touch with them when you need them for said reference. While the world is on shut down, check in on them. Send an email or call them if you have their number and find out how they are doing. They will not only appreciate the gesture, they will value the fact that you took the time to see how they are doing in a context where you don't need them.
The cardinal rule of networking is relationship, relationship, relationship.
2. Ask someone to be your mentor
Still in the vein of relationships, we are all craving connection especially because we are all stuck at home. This rule applies at all times, but more so now where mentors may be more open to playing that role.
A mentor is someone who is where you would like to be and who could help you evolve in your career.
I will go over this further down the line on how to write an email to your mentor. Be clear on what you would like to get out of the mentor/mentee relationship and let the mentor know this.
Be ready to do the work: be proactive about maintaining your relationship with your mentor and don't rely on them to do the work for you
3. Catch up on research in your field
I am so tired of my timeline in almost all my social media platforms having all the doom and gloom about COVID-19. It is important to take a break from all the news and take some time to read up on the latest research in your field. Depending on your area of work look at published articles, guidelines, best-practices. Look for influencers who give out positive vibes and practical tips and follow them or like their pages. The world may be going down but you can take some time to do some professional development reading that you didn't previously have time or head space to look at.
4. Update your resume/CV
Unless you're actively searching for a job, you probably haven't updated your CV for a while. Now would be a great time to update it with your most recent experience. Clean up your CV, make sure the fonts you use are consistent - all your headings in the same size and font, bullet spacing are in the right places. This sounds like its obvious but you'd be surprised at how much a sloppy CV can work against you. Create a detailed CV with all your experience and a shorter version that you can update and tailor to a specific job when you are applying.
5. Write/update your long-term career plan
If you haven't already created a long-term career plan, now would be a great time to do so. I have found that in this season I am reflecting a lot on what I liked/didn't like about my career and my daily routines before the shutdown. I have also been thinking a lot about what I would like to keep/change. Think about where you would like your career to go in the next year, 3 years or even 5 years and then be specific about what you need to do to get there. Is it a course? A professional diploma or degree? Do you need to learn more about your field of interest? Commit your self to specific steps that you need to take and then work at them bit by bit until you get there.
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