These are definitely some difficult, scary and uncertain times for all of us worldwide. The COVID-19 has hit us hard and the scariest and most anxiety-producing of it all is that no one knows how much longer or greater the impact of it will be; there are still many questions experts don’t have an answer to. A lot of us are working from home, homeschooling your children, businesses are closing during the pandemic, people have been laid off due to closures, it’s A LOT! There will be changes and transitions that will inevitably happen, we’ll need to be patient and believe that there will also be doors that will open and that it’s all part of your journey.
Truth is that we cannot control a lot of what is going on right now other than staying home if you can and use this time you have been gifted with as an opportunity to develop your career, enhance your skills and/or better prepare yourself overall for your future. Whether it’s 15-60 minutes per day that you now have additional time from not having to commute or other recreational activities you can no longer participate in, use that time to your advantage. This is a great time to re-evaluate where you’re currently at and bridge any gaps of where you want to be in the next few months or in the future. If you’re in a place in your career right now where you’re not feeling fulfilled, this is a great time to get in touch with your purpose and figure things out.
Below I share seven steps you can take right now to further develop yourself and your career. Pivots and changes will happen, don’t allow everything that is going on to become a barrier in accomplishing your goals. Instead,use this time to get creative, provide value to others and enhance your skill set.
1. Put your Dreams and Goals on the forefront
During this time it’s tough to think about putting your career first in the midst of everything that is going on but in actuality right now that you may find yourself with a bit more time on your hands is a great time to work on your career goals and reflect and figure things out if you find yourself considering career changes. Some ideas of actions you can take are research opportunities and options, take career assessments, egange in virtual informational interviews, read, develop career goals.
2. Budget your Money
Having your finances straight will not only help in times of need like the COVID-19 pandemic we are currently facing but it will also benefit you when needing to make tough career decisions. If you’re in a position where you’re unhappy at your job or career overall, having your finances straight will enable you to go part time if needed or leave your job altogether if you are at a point where you can no longer stand working there. Sometimes it also takes cutting down spending towards hobbies, clothes, nails and other luxuries in order to invest that money towards your career goals or business plans. Conscious spending can be difficult for some of us but matching your expenses towards your goals and towards where you want to be in the future will pay off later on.
3. Think of ways your skills can be leveraged
If you’re in a place where you're considering a career change, or even ways to make additional income to help support your family in these difficult times or to pay off debt, this could be a good time to start a side hustle. While you have the gift of time on your side right now, reflect on the skills you possess and how you can provide value where there's a need. You can start by identifying a problem and seeing how you can help solve that problem with what you know and are good at. If you’re looking to make a career change, reflect on your current skills and research how they can be leveraged into a different career.
4. Enhance or learn a new Skill
If you’re looking for ways to make yourself more marketable and/or enhance your skills, this is also a great opportunity to do so. There are so many online learning opportunities going on right now making it so accessible for everyone. Try sites such as Skillsshare.com, Udemy, and Linked In Learning to name a few.
5. Look for ways to provide value
During these uncertain times, people have all kinds of needs. Find ways you can provide value to others whether it’s guidance, encouragement, sharing knowledge about something you have expertise on, maybe even developing a virtual workshop, writing a blog article or creating a video on a specific topic. This will not only help others, but it will help keep your skills sharp and further develop your creativity and other skills. You also never know how this might further develop your career and the opportunities that may arise from it.
6. Dedicate time to enhance your Resume and Professional Portfolio
Looking for ways on how to spend your free time? Well working on your resume and/or professional portfolio is a great way to be productive during quarantine. If you’re looking for new job opportunities, you should be tailoring your resume and cover letter for every job you apply to anyway so now is the time! Building your personal portfolio and personal brand is also important, whether you’re a job seeker, career changer, or looking for ways to develop yourself and your career, now is the time to get creative and put some work into your personal brand. Some things you can do to build your portfolio and personal brand are: work on optimizing your Linked In profile, write a blog or Linked In article, if you’re an aspiring photographer for example, build your portfolio of pictures and projects, create content in your area of expertise, practice your interviewing skills. There is so much that can be done, get those creative juices flowing and take it one day at a time!
7. Develop an Action Plan for Your Career Goals
If this pandemic has shaken you and you’ve realized that you want to be more in control of your career and finances, right now is a great time to plan for the future. If you're inspired to do more for your community, for your family or maybe you’ve realized that you want to start an online business and work from home, if this is the case; developing a plan now will benefit you in the long run. Whether it’s a career development plan, a personal finance plan or a business plan, this is the time to do it. Carve out time every day to work on your plan even if it's 15minutes or block off a full day to work on it.
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