Guest post by: Luna Warren
COVID-19 has had an enormous impact on every industry, affecting people from all walks of life. And while this has led to widespread job loss and a change in work conditions, it has also affected the career paths of many executives and C-level professionals. If you are one of those people who have found their career put on the back burner there are ways to keep it on track, and even take advantage of the free time the pandemic has given you.
Upskill and Continue Learning
One of the biggest effects of the pandemic is the increased amount of free time many professionals continue to have. And while many are returning to work, it is often not at the previous capacity. The good news is that you can put this time to use and develop new professional skills. One way to do this is through taking an online course. Different online learning platforms today offer both free and paid courses. Some good examples would be CompTIA for IT certifications, Udemy for individual courses on marketing or data analysis, Codecademy for digital skills like cloud-based applications, and company programs offering to teach soft skills.
Getting a post-graduate degree can also be a viable option, especially if you aren’t expecting things to return to normal in the long-term. They can take just 12 months to fulfill, which means you could afford to take the time off and not be out of the industry for long. They also offer plenty of opportunities for growth — from project management and information technology, to emerging digital media and business data analytics. Online MBAs now also offer partnerships with global brands like Boeing and Edward Jones to help you work out viable solutions to real-world problems, as well as meet ambitious and talented leaders to grow your network with. All this can be done from the comfort and safety of your home too, something vital in the current climate. This is why analysts have gone as far as to say that MBA-holders will have a unique advantage in a post-pandemic economy They will be better prepared with valuable business skills and leadership potential, and a supportive network of connected business professionals, as they face tougher economic times after the pandemic.
Build a Strong Network
Even though you may be working less, now is the time to be more active in your professional network. Strengthen your LinkedIn network by connecting with new like-minded professionals and organizations. Engage meaningfully by actively participating in comment sections and discussions. Your professional network can be a strong foundation to lean on and can help set you up with better career possibilities both during the pandemic, and provide opportunities once it is over. If you’re not on LinkedIn yet, it is very easy to join. Many recruiters and hiring managers use LinkedIn to look for the best candidates for their companies. And with more time to spare, you can put more effort into your profile. Something you will need to do to stand out, as LinkedIn has seen record levels of engagement this year. Yet for executives with impressive resumes you are far more likely to find an opportunity.
Update Your Credentials
Other than your LinkedIn profile, you should keep your CV, website, portfolio, and other professional profiles updated and complete. Make them compelling and keyword-optimized, especially with the new skills and experiences you will gain from online degrees or new jobs. Good keywords are crucial to make your online presence strong, and help automated candidate-searching systems pick your profile. If you have a professional website keep it updated through blog posts and added content to show that you have remained proactive throughout the pandemic.
Offer Pro Bono Services
If you’re self-employed or unemployed, why not offer your current skillsets as free services? It can either be a good marketing strategy to make way for better opportunities as well as some good PR. You can be a life coach and put up a webinar series on crisis management and mental health. Or you can build a free website for a new charity organization, which can be part of your professional portfolio too. The
important thing to remember here is, when you give away something for free, you leave behind a footprint or market share that can snowball through feedback, and return to you like an investment. Positive action is another way to show you have been proactive throughout the pandemic which could lead to more opportunities. Keeping your career on track during COVID-19 has been very challenging for people across the globe. Yet there are ways to ensure that you don’t get left behind even if you have taken some time off or are looking to advance your career further.