How to Manage Your Career During COVID-19Apr 14, 2020
We're in a strange time of ambiguity and uncertainty, and for many that extends to the current state of their career. While your career may not be in the forefront of your mind, it's still important to manage what you can for now so you can continue to have the career you want when we get on the other side of all of this.
Many of us are working remotely, trying to survive a layoff, or dealing with reduced hours. Even if your company hasn’t implemented any changes yet, you could still be wondering what's next or bracing for the worst.
It's challenging to feel in control, when so much seems to be out of your control, so let me share some key things you can do right now to take back some control over your career.
1. Acknowledge and manage the anxiety - If you're in a heightened state of anxiety over your job or if you've recently been laid off from your job or lost a job opportunity because the company decided to freeze hiring, it's critical that you acknowledge the anxiety and stress and then find practical ways to manage it. For example, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America suggests you create a routine geared toward self-care that includes getting enough sleep, walking or exercising to expend the stress or practicing mindfulness techniques like meditation. It's hard to focus, make a plan of action or be productive if you're in a constant state of worry.
2. Take an Inventory of Your Skills - Now is a GREAT time to assess your strengths, skills and abilities. First, review your skills and consider how your current skills can cross over to other types of jobs or how you may want to reinvent yourself and your career. This will be extremely helpful for those who were recently laid off. Second, close the gap on your skills by taking online courses or training.
3. Update & Revive Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile - If your resume has been collecting dust, pull it out and update it. You may even want to reach out to a professional to help you bring it into the 21st century. Also, now that we're all living life in the digital space more than we've ever been before, optimize your LinkedIn profile so recruiters, companies and other connections can easily find you. Start leveraging that important digital real estate to your advantage.
4. Cultivate and Expand Your Network Now - It's true that many companies have slowed down hiring in the last few weeks, but others haven't, so don't assume all is lost. Instead of just spraying your resume everywhere, be strategic and build connections with your network online, including recruiters and hiring managers. Start reaching out to more people, let them know you're open to opportunities, what you're interested in and ask for their support. Follow the companies you're interested in working in so you can stay abreast of everything that's going on. Also reach out to the people that work there and ask about their experiences and let them know you'd like to work there too. Networking is about building relationships so be sure to offer support instead of just asking for it. Reach out to people and offer to "meet for coffee” through FaceTime, Zoom, Google Hangouts or Skype.
5. Practice Interviewing Virtually - Interviews have gone virtual and it's critical to get yourself prepared. Even though you're on video, treat it the same way you would a face-to-face meeting. It's easy to fall back into an informal tone because you're sitting at home; however, you need to keep it professional. The best way to prepare is to practice, practice and then practice again. Record yourself responding to random interview questions, then critique yourself and make the necessary improvements. Pay attention to your background, lighting, sound quality, distractions, knowledge of the technology, internet connection, and how you're dressed. Your interviewer paying attention to ALL of these things, so should you!
6. Be Patient - We're in this for the long haul and this pandemic has impacted us all at different levels. So be patient if you don't hear back immediately, and give a little grace if you don't hear back at all. Remember most of us are trying to work while home schooling our children, entertain our families, and even struggle to wear something more than sweats or pajamas. Others are caring for family members who have contracted the virus and wondering how they're going to pay their bills and their mortgage. We're all in this together and that's how we'll get to the other side.
The more you focus on what's in your control, the more productive you'll become. Pick an area to start working, make a plan, then take back your career.
Need more support? Don't hesitate to reach out for a complimentary strategy call with me. Click here and let's connect!
Watch my segment on AM Northwest where I shared a few of these points: