For many of us in modern workforces, jobs are more than just a source of income. Increasingly, people are seeking something greater from their work: a sense of purpose.
For the 2.7 million Australian workers impacted by reduced hours or job losses due to COVID-19, the lack of daily routine and regular income, paired with COVID-19-related social restrictions, has taken away that sense of purpose.
When it comes to job loss, everyone will cope differently depending on their support network and personal circumstances. While there is no ‘right’ way to manage a pause in employment, focusing on your return to work can be highly motivating for some.
‘The Great Lockdown’ is an unprecedented event; rarely, if ever, have people had so much spare time. While this comes with its own set of challenges, it also grants an opportunity for what’s called ‘deep work’.
Deep work describes the labour that goes into things like goal setting, planning, blue-sky thinking and brainstorming ideas, but it’s often pushed aside in favour of tangible, outcomes-based work.
Now, with an excess of free time, those experiencing a pause in work have the chance to do some deep work of their own. Utilising this time to align yourself with a new professional path and purpose will serve you well in a post-pandemic job market.
Here are three tips to get your career ambitions in order as the world begins to re-emerge from lockdown:
Is it time to pivot?
The COVID-19 crisis is expected to reinvent many industries, meaning jobs and opportunities will arise that didn’t exist pre-pandemic.
If you’ve ever dreamt of pivoting your career, now is your chance.
Firstly, consider the motivations behind your career pivot; do you want to shift to an industry that you have always been passionate about? Is the potential to earn a better salary the driving force? Or do you want to work for a business that offers more flexibility?
Whatever your motivation, make this a non-negotiable in your new professional path.
Then, do your research.
Utilise resources like LinkedIn, industry and trade publications, and employer review sites to make a list of companies that you want to work for, as well as relevant job titles that suit your experience. Create job search alerts, so you are automatically notified when new opportunities come up within those organisations.
Research others who have been successful in your desired career path, focusing on their skillsets and years of experience to formulate a rough timeline for your trajectory.
Whether it’s a departure from the corporate world or transitioning to a new field of work, most skillsets are transferable. If you dedicate the time to deep work - figuring out what you really want from your career and how you plan to get there - you’re setting yourself up for success.
Clean up your touchpoints
When applying for a new role, especially in sectors where you have no pre-existing connections, your resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile are critical touchpoints for a potential employer to assess your strengths. To stand out among a crowd of candidates, these must be detailed, concise, non-generic and convincing.
When applying for a role, start by thoroughly reading the job description and highlighting keywords. Then, weave these into both your resume and cover letter to explicitly show your skills and experience match those listed in the ad.
When it comes to resumes, less is more. Use simple layouts including clear headings and subheadings, and only detail your experience most relevant to the role you are applying for - make it no longer than two pages.
LinkedIn is a great tool to grow your professional network, but it’s important to be discerning while using the platform. When inviting others to connect, avoid the ‘scatter-gun’ approach by only connecting with those you have met or worked with before. Similar to a resume, your LinkedIn profile should be concise, professional and accurate, as should any comments or posts you share.
More free time means you have the chance to perfect your professional profiles, ensuring you put your best foot forward with potential employers and your network.
The question many policymakers, employers and workers are asking themselves, is what does the future of work look like? And what skill sets will be most sought after once the world recovers from COVID-19?
The pandemic has catapulted most workplaces into the digital age, and as a result, digital natives are in increasing demand. From coding and security to digital design and development, digital fluency is becoming a prerequisite in future-proofed industries.
As well as digital skills, employers are looking for resilient, problem-solving, personable and creative workers to weather the storm that comes with disruption. Developing your soft skillset is key to employability, especially with the changing nature of communication and collaboration via digital channels.
With endless amounts of digital resources at our disposal, such as free LinkedIn Learning sessions, Tafe fee-free online courses, or GO1corporate learning pathways, upskilling has never been more accessible.
By Alex Hattingh, Chief People Officer at people management platform, Employment Hero.
Are you a millennial or Gen Z-er interested in joining a community where you can learn how to take control of your money? Join us at The Broke Millennials Club on Facebook!