By Elaine Mead
After a few months stuck at home, half the world is either just beginning to return to normal (and the office) or they’ve been left wondering what comes next after experiencing job losses.
Losing a job or part of your professional identity can be a shock to the system. Know you are not alone in this experience. When you’re ready to take the next step forward, there’s plenty of ways to do so.
It’s going to take a while for recruitment to pick up again and we’re certainly going to face a few more challenges as we deal with the impact of COVID-19. Making a plan for finding work might seem like a mammoth task.
The small things can quickly become the building blocks of bigger changes and help you feel empowered rather than trapped during this time. Aside from updating your resume and cover letter, here are six to get you started:
1. Update your LinkedIn profile
If it’s been a while since you looked at your LinkedIn profile, now is the perfect time for some updates. You can set your profile to ‘actively seeking opportunities’ to indicate to potential employers and recruiters you’re looking for work and follow companies for job openings as soon as they happen. Spend some time making sure all your job titles are up to date, remove anything outdated and include links to projects or resources that align with your work or professional identity.
2. Expand your knowledge
Learning professional skills is a lifelong hobby and a great way to kick start your own development journey if it’s been a while since you studied. If you’re seeking ways to feel in-control and proactive about your career, an online course or workshop could be just the thing you need. Whether you want something to help you in your current industry or you’re seeking to strike out in a new direction entirely, there’s something for everyone.
3. Check-in with your network
Networking might seem like a foreign concept in our current climates, but it’s not completely off the table. Are you involved with any professional associations for your industry? Many are offering free professional development workshops, as well as regular Zoom meetings simply giving members a chance to chat and discuss how COVID has been impacting their industry and day-to-day jobs. It’s a great way to feel less alone but also connect with some new faces.
4. Set up a professional website
If unemployment is on the books, setting up a digital space that contains your resume, write-ups of any projects and programs you’ve helped on, as well as a weekly blog on your own thoughts about your industry could be what sets you apart when job hunting. Consider this a portfolio where you get to showcase your in-depth knowledge and understanding of your work and include the link to your site on your resume. It’s a great way to invite employers to get to know you better.
5. Create some ‘how-to’ guides
Lots of people every day are looking for ways to simplify their workday or understand how to do something quickly and easily. If you’ve got some niche knowledge, creating a how-to guide is a great way to boost your professional identity. Identify common question-points in your day-to-day job or industry and do a write-up — you might even visit a few of your own gaps and write about those! Share online (either LinkedIn or your website) and invite others to share their input.
6. Start a business book club
There are books for every single industry imaginable, or you could pick a broader topic such as leadership, workplace culture, or emotional intelligence in the office. You can read alone or rope in a few other colleagues or industry peers to read along with you. It’s a different way of adding to your personal knowledge and growing as a professional.
Elaine Mead is a Careers and Work-Integrated Learning Educator based in Tasmania.