As the country goes into lockdown, it may seem that your career dreams have been put on hold. However, there are a number of things you can do at home to improve your career whilst staying at home. Here is our career checklist for how to boost your career prospects during the lockdown.
1. Update your CV
The top thing to do during the lockdown to boost your career is to update your CV. Whilst normal office hours may have caused you to neglect this important task, your new-found time at home is the perfect opportunity to optimise your CV. Take time to ensure that all recent work is present on your CV and spend your time in social-distancing optimising each point for the career you want to move into. Is there anything you have learned or improved upon recently that you can use to make your CV stand out? What skills or qualifications are employers looking for that you could look to add to your CV? Is there anything missing you could be working on?
2. Review Your Online Presence
No careers checklist would be complete without a note on improving your online presence. Your time at home is the perfect opportunity to review how you appear on the internet, something that is integral to how future employers will view you when applying for a job. Start with Linkedin and create a professional-looking page that showcases your skills and merits and offers the first port-of-call for potential employers.
Once you have optimised your Linkedin page, move on to other social media channels. Your Facebook and Twitter account, whilst personal, should still reflect the qualities an employer may be looking for and give a professional impression. If you have anything on there you would not like to discuss in the workplace, remove it or set it to private.
Finally, as part of your careers checklist, Google yourself. What comes up? Is it the image of yourself you want to be promoting? If not, work on improving this.
Looking for extra help in creating a professional online presence? Take a look at our guide here »
3. Take Part in Online Networking
One of the benefits of more businesses working remotely is that more and more people are looking to the online world to connect. Make the most of your online connections by networking online. Platforms such as Linkedin are a good place to start whilst Slack offers a number of forums open to professionals in a range of industries. Why not join a professional Facebook group related to your career to interact and share your ideas with those also in the industry?
4. Draft the Perfect Cover Letter
Use your spare time during the lockdown to head online and research the techniques and features of successful cover letters for your field. Once you have the theory worked out, it is time to draft out a number of potential cover letters, perhaps to create a cover letter template for yourself that you can use for different prospective positions. If you have someone whose opinion you trust, why not ask them to take a look at the results and offer their feedback?
5. Do a Skills Evaluation
Number five on our careers checklist for the lockdown is to conduct your own skills evaluation. What skills do you have that would be useful to potential employers? What have you learned or improved on in the last year that you would feel confident communicating to a potential employer?
Take a look at some common soft or hard skills in your industry and evaluate how you perform in them. Is there anything you could improve on? Once you have this list, write down the ways that you have demonstrated those skills and what the results were.
6. Capitalise on Your Working From Home Time
One of the benefits of working from home during the lockdown is that is has opened up this skill to a number of people who had never had to do it before. Being able to work remotely shows employers that you can work independently, without someone having to watch over your every move. It also shows that you can focus when you need to, despite any distractions you may face.
7. Complete an Online Course
With the advent of MOOCs, everyone from plugin providers to universities are offering a wealth of courses online. Whilst some do come with a large price tag, there are also a large number of free courses available for those who want to advance their skills online. Working from home offers the perfect opportunity to harness these online platforms to learn a new skill.
The Open University offers free beginner courses in a range of subjects whilst platforms such as Udemy, Skillshare, Futurelearn and more provide online courses to help your career and help you to learn new skills without even leaving the house.
Whether you are interested in learning code, finance or design, an online course is a perfect way to show employers you are constantly developing your skills and have the commitment to complete any tasks that come your way.
8. Improve Your Digital Skills
Working from home is the perfect opportunity to test your skills in a digital world. From setting up a Skype conference call to creating the perfect spreadsheet to track your stats, use your time working from home to turbo-charge your digital skills and become an expert in anything from Microsoft to digital time-management platforms. As one of the key skills looked for by employers, digital literacy can help improve your career prospects dramatically.
9. Analyse Job Roles
If you are looking to change your career or progress into another role, our career checklist can help you evaluate your employability. However, one of the best ways to prepare yourself for a new career is to take a look at what is already being advertised. Take a look at some advertised roles and think about what they are asking for. What skills do they list on the requirements and desirables? What elements of the role stand out as being important?
Now, take a look at what you do in your current role, what skills have you already demonstrated? Which elements do you feel you could improve on to become a good fit for the role? Whilst face-to-face interviews may not be conducted during the lockdown, you can still look at advertised roles to asses your suitability and some companies may still be conducting video interviews.
10. Practice Skype Interviews
Moving to video calls can be a big step for some, but what better time to practice getting used to the systems than working remotely? Many businesses now conduct interviews via skype before inviting successful candidates for a face-to-face interview so use your new-found experience in conference calls to practice getting used to the systems. You’ll feel instantly more comfortable during the interview process if you are familiar with the systems. You can even get someone you trust to conduct a mock video interview via Skype or another video platform.
Follow this careers checklist during the lockdown and you will be well on your way to the career of your dreams. If you need some help along the way, get in touch and be sure to check back to our current vacancies to find your next career move.