While sitting at home during COVID
Hey everyone! Stop moping. Yes, I know your sporting events, social gatherings and concerts have been cancelled for a few weeks. The world has NOT ended, commerce is still happening, work is still happening and you have a beautiful opportunity to do some of those strategic career improvements that you’ve been meaning to get to. Only now you don’t have an excuse – so let’s get to it!
1. Overhaul your resume
Most of you hastily update your resume whenever a recruiter calls, you have a bad day at work or a former colleague wants you to apply for a position at their company. This means you quickly add your current position, list all the tasks and activities you can think of, and update your dates and professional certifications. In fact, your resume is using the same format you used when you graduated college and it’s REALLY bad. Take time to completely rewrite your resume – use current terms, drop irrelevant experience that doesn’t matter and focus on outcomes rather than activities. Assert the stuff you’ve accomplished, not just how you spent your days.
2. Reconnect with former co-workers and customers – personally
This does NOT mean sending a bulk email to your entire contact list. It does mean taking the time to write five or six personal notes to people who you’ve lost touch with, or those who have done interesting things with their career. Pick up the phone and say “Hi!” Schedule a quick video call to see what they’ve been up to. You really don’t have any excuses.
3. Add to your skillset
I’ve been talking about online education for many years. It’s a way for busy professionals like you to add to your skillset from the comfort of your home – on evenings and weekends. Well, now it’s trendy! You’ve been meaning to learn more about writing engaging content for social media campaigns. You really want to learn typescript. What is this thing called Sketch? Why not invest in yourself?
4. Start building your personal brand
Start by imagining your future self. Who do you want to be as a person? What do you stand for? How do you want others to see you? What is your legacy? These are the questions that go into the creation of your personal brand. Once you’ve formulated the brand, make sure that you are consistent with it in every social channel, document, design and interaction. Dump the imposter syndrome!
5. Clean up your LinkedIn profile
Like your resume, that LinkedIn profile has probably been an afterthought – not front and center to your professional life. Overhaul your profile like you did your resume. Dump the college internships – unless you’re sub five years out of school. Take the graduation dates off your education if you’re a 10-year professional. Those skills that people endorse you for and you have no idea why? Yep – get rid of the irrelevant words. LinkedIn uses these to show you content – so make sure the skills, activities and interests are meaningful.
6. Build your career plan
Is your career serving you well? Are you headed in the direction you want to be going? Build your mid and long-term plan and track it. If you got off the main path at some point and aren’t pleased with it, then make a plan for getting back to your true north. Nothing will be immediate, but a plan will make you feel like you have some control.
As unexpected and untimely as our current existence is, we’ve all been given the gift of time. I can’t think of another period in history that EVERYONE has time. We should seize this opportunity to do something for ourselves, our families and our careers. My very best wishes for health and mindfulness. For more thoughts on how to think strategically about your career, visit us here!