You may not think that being based at home full-time during the current situation is the opportune moment to be moving up the career ladder. However, spending so much time at home can offer a few benefits, the main one being that you have likely gained some spare time to reflect on your career and upskill.
So why not dedicate your new-found free time to develop in areas that will place you in the best position to take that next step in your career? Here are just some of the ways you can best utilise this time to your advantage:
- Fix up your CV: First, and perhaps most obvious, is to use this time to revamp your CV. Whether you last updated it last month or last year, it’s important to regularly keep your CV up-to-date with your latest achievements, responsibilities and awards. Make sure any achievements are backed up by quantifiable evidence wherever possible, as this information acts as an impactful and easy to understand view of what you can bring to a new role. This could be, for example, the number of programmes you have successfully delivered, the amount of money you have generated in a certain timeframe or the percentage of issues you have resolved.
- Brush up your (remote) interview skills: Even if you’ve undertaken an interview recently, it doesn’t hurt to practice your interview skills. This is especially important when job hunting from home as chances are, at some point during the application process, you will be asked to undertake a telephone or video interview. To ensure you’re fully prepared, run a practice interview with a friend either over the phone or via video – our guide includes some of the most popular video tools you should get to grips with. Ensure you’re well-versed on how to use the technology and practice your technique which will differ from a face-to-face interview. For example, lacking visual clues on a telephone interview, your tone of voice should instead portray your professionalism and enthusiasm for the job.
- Learn a new skill or two: The extra spare time you may have gained is a great opportunity to develop your skills which will be valuable additions to your CV. This could be something technical, such as becoming proficient on Microsoft Excel or learning the basics of how to code, or a focus on your soft skills such as communication and interpersonal skills which are highly valued by employers. There is a wealth of online resources available that offer either free or paid-for courses such as Udemy or The Open University, so find the course that’s right for you and get learning!
- Improve your commercial awareness: Becoming more commercially aware is always an asset in any employee, and it can also make you consider how other types of organisations work. For example, if you work for a corporate but are interested in start-up life, why learn more about that area? There are a number of ways to improve your commercial awareness today:
Listen to podcasts: Not only can you find podcasts on any topic, but they’re also almost always free. What’s more, they’re great to have on in the background while you’re at home. PlayerFM enables you to pick from podcasts on such subjects as software engineering, investing and entrepreneurship. Meanwhile, Feedspot has come up with a list of career podcasts for 2020, of relevance to sectors including – but not limited to – nursing, aviation and IT.
Reading business books and articles: The global research and advisory firm Gartner provided this rundown of books that could enable you to become a better leader and more effective in business in 2020.
- Keep in touch with – or FIND - your mentor virtually: Every ambitious person should have a career mentor. If you already have one, keep in touch via video calls, phone or email. If you don’t know if a great time to find one. Research senior people in your line of work whose career trajectory you admire, and send them a professional message on LinkedIn. There are certain principles when communicating with a mentor: always show respect and gratitude for their time, discuss how their previous advice helped you and always set an agenda for any conversations: topics you’d like to focus on.
- Get in touch with a recruiter for a career consultation: For further support in figuring out the next step in your career, why not speak with an expert recruitment consultant? Hays consultants are fully operational during this difficult time and can offer advice on the career options available to you. Get in touch with your consultant to discuss what you need to do to take that next step up on the career ladder.
For further advice and best practice tips to use your time at home most effectively, visit our Inspire Me in the New Era of Work Hub for a range of blogs and guides.
About this author
Gaelle joined Hays in 1999 and in her time with the business she has led dedicated teams providing expert recruitment services for a wide range of sectors and professions, with a particular focus on construction and property. In 2018 she was appointed the Director for Permanent Recruitment, working across Hays UK and Ireland to improve business performance, drive best practice and shape Hays’ value proposition to both clients and candidates.