With the world feeling like it is at a halt, it is easy to find yourself in a lul, especially professionally speaking. However, despite the current circumstances, there are still things you can do to elevate your career in these unprecedented times.
We asked ten thought leaders to share their best advice on how to advance your career despite the pandemic.
Their responses will inspire you to do the same.
Have a Headshot Ready At All Times
As simple as it may seem, many business professionals do not have headshots. A picture is worth a thousand words and it is imperative that when you market yourself that you have a professional photo to follow up your resume and career accomplishments. If you do not have an up-to-date photo or no photo at all, call on some local photographers to get that photo squared away.
Start Remote Consulting
With the massive shift to remote work this year, a way to leverage your skills in the new virtual world of business is to start remote consulting. If you have the skills, the barrier to entering consulting is extremely low especially with the amount of technology at your fingertips. Package your skillset into an offering and promote it using your personal network to start.
Pay Close Attention to the Market’s Needs and Use It to Our Advantage
We’ll indeed be entering a recession this year, which will mean fewer job opportunities. However, some industries will thrive during these uncertain times (online services, banking sector, healthcare), and we should see how our skills can fit in the current demand. After we assess this, we can pitch our knowledge and expertise to various businesses that will ultimately help us exceed our professional goals.
Enroll in Free Online Courses
Universities including Yale and John Hopkins are currently offering free courses to enroll in through Coursera. You may enroll in and take a class to enhance a skill you’ve wanted to develop. Or, you may take a course on a completely different topic you’ve always wanted to learn a bit more about. The University of Michigan, for example, is offering a free class on the essential strategies and skills for negotiation. And Yale University is teaching The Science of Well-Being, designed to help increase your own happiness and build more productive habits. Pick a class, enroll for free, and participate and learn from the comfort of home.
Learn a New Language
This will come in handy both in your career as well as your professional life. Use any of the thousands of language apps that can teach you any language you’d like. Depending on how much time you devote to it, you could gain intermediate knowledge of almost any language within the first few weeks.
Stop Asking for Permission
We all ask for permission in our careers than we care to imagine. Applying for a job on a website is a form of asking for permission to work. Employers no longer want to hire someone just because they need a job to pay their bills. People need to get clear on their values, needs and mission in life to seek out work opportunities aligned with them. Stop trying to fit into someone else’s ideal just to get a job. Get clear on what role you want work to play in your life and then proactively reach out to people, organizations and companies that energize you!
Help Somebody in your Network
Last year, I had a two-hour conversation with a friend who had questions about getting a job at an organization that I knew well. Recently, I’ve started interviewing marketing professionals at SaaS companies for my blog to shine a spotlight on their experience. Rather than only asking your network for favors, take a proactive step, and do favors for people now. People in your network will be more inclined to help you if you make the first move.
Bruce Harpham, Technology Marketing Consultant
Focus on Structured Communication
A lot of communication happens informally from desk to desk or through hallway conversations. All of these informal touchpoints are eliminated with a remote or dispersed team and it has a big impact on how quickly information spreads across an organization. Managers increasingly have to rely on emails, instant messages, and meetings which all take time and planning to execute. All of these little additions to your workload add up quickly and workers need to become very adept at project management very quickly to survive. A renewed focus on being structured and disciplined with your communication can help get your message out and improve your visibility.
Start by Improving Your Current Situation
This could mean taking on special projects in your current position or getting involved in new roles in your company. You may want to network with people who are working in a given industry or job position that you are eying up to pick their brains. By showing initiative in all aspects of your life, you will be able to bring a better package to the table. If there is an internal role within your company that you are seeking, you could talk to your superior and get in-depth feedback about what exactly you need to do in order to get that role.
Baruch Silvermann, The Smart Investor
If you have not already, take this time to get your Google Analytics certification. The course will only take 4 – 6 hours to complete and it is a fantastic accomplishment to put on a resume or showcase to a current supervisor. Knowing how to operate Google Analytics will make you that much more marketable and it will also show that you are a go-getter who took it upon yourself to get the certification.