The coronavirus pandemic has upended many aspects of life, from learning and relationships to simply shopping for everyday necessities.
Unfortunately, one of the more negativeimpactsCOVID-19 has had is in the world of work. According to the OECD, unemployment throughout its member countries could reach as high as 12% in2021.
That said, it’s crucial that you continue working to improve your career prospects during this downturn. While things may look bleak at the moment, governments around the world are doing their best to improve the economy as quickly as possible. With the right strategy and attitude in place, you’ll be better positioned to come out of this well—not only with your career intact, but with greater promise than ever before.
Here’s how to improve your career during and after the pandemic:
1. Improve Your Skills
Most of us have found ourselves with a lot of spare hours during the pandemic due to more time at home and less work. Turn these negative aspects of the coronavirus crisis into a positive force for your professional life by building on your skills.
Many universities and online institutions offer complete courses, often for free, where you can study a number of topics. There’s edX, Coursera, FutureLearn and, of course, the highly-rated programs here at EU Business School. And, for most you can earn a certificate which will immediately improve your LinkedIn profile and CV.
2. Continue Networking
Social distancing might be required at the moment, but it’s important that you remain professionally present. While “traditional” networking may not be an option, there are plenty of ways to connect online. LinkedIn is of course the primary method, but there are manyo ther mediums, such as Facebook, Goodwall, and through your former university.
If you’re fortunate enough to hold on to your job, stay connected with people both inside your company and within your industry. Take the time to build those crucial relationships, as you never know how important they might become in your professional future.
3. Consider a Career Change
The coronavirus crisis may have put you in a bind if you’ve been fired or laid off, and it may take weeks or months to secure new employment. However, turn this setback to your advantage. If ever there was an ideal moment to switch career paths, now is the time.
Many people contemplate pivoting in their careers slightly or making a complete industry change, but job security and the time it would take causes them to pass it up. With those obstacles out of the way, consider if you’re really happy and fulfilled in your current career path. Do you see yourself in the same field a decade from now? It might time to make that transition!
4. …Or a Change of Scenery
If you’re happy with your career path, consider instead whether changing your location might be right for you. Packing everything up and moving to a new city or country is a tough ask in normal times. However, if you’ve been let go from your job, you might find yourself with the perfect opportunity to think about it.
Moving cross country or abroad isn’t for everyone, but it could give you a new lease on your professional life. If you’re facing a stagnant environment where you are now, that new landscape could reinvigorate both your personal life and your career. Or, to save money, especially if you are working remotely and see that continuing into the future, you could simply move to a cheaper town.
5. Update Your Portfolio and CV
Whether you find yourself out of work or busier at the office than ever before, one of the most important ways to improve your career during the pandemic is to update your CV. Even if it’s just one work experience entry away from being up to date, spend some time on getting it just right, with a current list of your most marketable skills, a rewritten summary statement and modern, easy-to-read formatting.
If you’re in a project-based field, such as graphic design or advertising, use the extra time you have to build up a professional portfolio. Hiring managers love to see examples of your previous work, and a well-crafted website displaying your proudest accomplishments is sure to impress them.
6. Set Yourself Up for Online Success
Finally, one of the best ways to improve your career during the coronavirus pandemic is to get with the digital program. The workplace is changing for many industries and businesses. Countless companies globally have moved to fully or partly remote environments. Rather than reverting back to a physical workplace post-pandemic, a large majority of these are expected to continue or even increase their remote presence into the future.
If you’re not already well-versed in remote working, don’t wait until you are thrown into it. At home, carve out a workspace for yourself free of distractions. For your desk, invest in the comforts and necessities of a remote workstyle, such as an ergonomic chair, standing desk and a high-quality webcam. Familiarize yourself with the programs essential to remote work, like Slack or Microsoft Teams for group communication, and Asana or Monday for project management.
While the global pandemic has thrown uncertainty and disruption into everyone’s lives, there are ways to use it to your advantage, particularly regarding your career.
Most importantly, recalibrate your expectations. Prepare for the prospect of working virtually in the years to come, and don’t let this “downtime” go by without improving your employability. Update relevant documents, network and don’t stop building your skills.
If you’re thinking about a business career, EU Business School has a diverse range of programs to fit your needs. With campuses both online and in some of Europe’s top cities, join a community of international students and maximize your career potential by taking one of EU’s bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, MBA, DBA, or other programs.