Today’s blogpost is inspired by a post I came across on LinkedIn last week by a career coaching colleague, Gillian Kelly, at Outplacement Australia, in which she suggested some possible actions for anyone facing uncertainty around employment, which means probably most of us!
Although you might feel from time to time like a stunned mullet during this pandemic, the reality is that this it isn’t going to last forever and that most of us are going to be trying to work on the other side. Most of us have had our work situations disrupted in some way and will likely be seeking to return to some semblance of “normal” post-lockdown.
With my career coaching hat on I’ve been percolating the mass of information coming at me from a variety of quarters and have also been doing what I can in the work space both for myself and to assist my current and potential clients.
Here’s some of what I’ve gleaned over the last few weeks from a wide range of sources. The great thing is that rather than taking only one approach and focusing on that, it might be more manageable and useful to do these things concurrently.
Ride out the storm
You might think that there’s nothing you can do right now but to wait it out, and that is certainly partly true. The sands are still shifting, and none of us has a crystal ball with any degree of accuracy to predict what might lie ahead.
My mind sometimes races if I spend too much time mulling over all the potential “what ifs” that might lie ahead. When I’m in this headspace, it can feel quite overwhelming and anxiety-inducing. The temptation can be to ruminate over and over all the possible scenarios, and with no clear exit point or resolution (how could there be, we’re not there yet and have no way of knowing with any certainty how things are going to pan out and what the implications will be) we can’t see those points through to completion. A certain amount of watching and waiting could be the healthy way to go. I am challenging myself to accept the current status quo AND at the same time keep a weather eye facing towards the future.
Pivot into current roles
Concurrently whilst waiting to see what happens further downstream, you can check out and pivot into roles that are currently available, such as those in in-demand industries. Putting food on the table and doing something useful fulfils our most pressing and practical needs and it also gives us a feeling of self-efficacy, of doing something constructive.
This might be just be a temporary measure to get you through, or who knows, it may lead to a permanent career change. I’ve had conversations with a number of clients about this in recent weeks. The key thing here is to be open and flexible and in some cases, it might be that you have to swallow your pride around your past role or occupation.
Think about what capacity might be needed and who might currently hiring?
Build up your career assets and value
Now is the ideal time to build up your “career assets” such as your skills, your professionalism and credibility and your connections. Take stock of what you have to offer in the current world of work and also what might be useful and in-demand during our economic recovery.
Do you have a gap in your skill-base that you can see potential future opportunity requiring? Can you do some study or start researching and working towards a relevant qualification? I’ve spoken many times about the vast array of free resources and courses that are available. This could be the perfect time to get started, particularly if you find yourself having more available time.
Create a cracking CV
I honestly think that many people stay in roles that are long past their sell by date for them because the thought of creating an up to date CV (and having a job interview) is too painful to contemplate. Yet at the moment, many people are being forced to contemplate life beyond their current or past role.
Given this, now might be the time to dust off your existing CV and invest some time (and maybe money) in bringing it up to speed and developing your interview techniques. It may sound like I’m stating the obvious here, but if you maintain your CV’s currency you are far more likely to confidently put yourself out there for new opportunities in a timely and effective way.
The other benefit to spending some time on your CV, is that it will help you to develop your confidence in your skill base and give you the ability to articulate more clearly what you have to offer in the way of skills and experience.
When I assist people with their CVs it is always so fantastic to see their confidence develop as they take the time to identify what they can offer a potential employer and practice talking about it, such as in preparation for an interview.
Make sure your CV clearly sets out your skill, experience and qualifications in an easily accessible format so that the reader doesn’t have to go digging to find answers to the key questions: “what can this person do?” and “can this person do the job on offer?” This is the bread and butter of the work I do, so please get in touch if you would like my help to make this process as painfree and effective as possible firstname.lastname@example.org
Pay attention to the priorities
In tandem with all of the above, you’re not going to get anywhere or even be able to get started on getting work-ready unless you are feeling – at least to some extent – well and functioning well. Paying attention to and prioritising your resilience and wellbeing is always a great investment of your time and is particularly important during stressful and challenging times. If this isn’t something you’ve been prioritising up until now, create a new habit of looking after yourself and in the words of our New Zealand leaders, be kind – to yourself and others.
Please let me know if you want help with any of the above – I am offering a range of cost-effective virtual coaching options and I’m thinking of running some CV and interview skills webinars – let me know if this would be useful to you.