As we sit down to business as unusual in our newly established home offices and wade through another week of uncertainty, it feels as though our lives, careers and plans are on hiatus.
Whilst this is a completely valid feeling and one that requires some time to process, this pandemic could also be an opportunity to take the next step in your career. You just have to think a little more laterally about it.
I often encounter professionals who are reactive jobseekers. Reactive job seekers become active when something in their personal or professional life changes (they could have had an argument with their Manager and it was the final straw or perhaps they’re ready to start saving for a holiday/house deposit?), or when a job opportunity pops up that’s not perfect, but it’s ticking 80% of their boxes. This is a pretty standard approach, but it’s one that relies more upon your reaction time than your professional acumen. If your job seeking activities are triggered by external forces, you’re always going to be running on someone else’s schedule, which means you’ll never have enough time to do yourself justice.
In the current economic environment, with almost every aspect of our world (including our job market) battening down the hatches for an uncertain future, reactive job seeking is essentially off the table. What’s left is a unique opportunity to slow down and if you want to, transform yourself into a proactive job seeker and put the pieces in place so that when the job market does fire back up, you are ready with a game plan to take that next step in your career.
Proactive job-seeking is different for everyone. It could be as simple as taking a forensic eye to your resume and polishing it up to ensure it’s free of cliches and is aligned with the professional image you want to project. A similarly simple proactive task might be a butcher’s paper mind map where you list out your job wants, needs and aspirations to give yourself a clearer picture of where you want to head next.
For those who have a clearer idea of where they want to be, proactive job seeking during this time might mean taking an online short course to gain a new technical skill or taking a deeper dive into a project management tool you already use in order to get better value. Remote networking is another great way you can lay the groundwork for new opportunities to arise in the future.
Above all else, when you cultivate a proactive jobseeker mentality, you are practising resilience. Having a resilient mindset and planning for a pandemic free future which will eventually materialise is not only good for your career, it’s a powerful way to practice self-care and manage your mental health.