7 Things You Can Do for Your Career From Home
Like the vast majority of the rest of the world, you’ve suddenly found yourself stuck at home.
And, although a couple of days on the couch in your favourite sweatpants or the fact that you get to work with your dog laying at your feet sounds dreamy, the boredom can set in pretty quick. And let’s face it: for some this sudden shift in your working life introduces some anxieties too.
Rest assured, that’s normal. Even in typical times, a reported one in three workers in Australia have concerns that they’ll be laid off, and that number is probably only skyrocketing given the state of economic uncertainty we’re all living in right now.
If you’re one of the lucky ones who aren’t concerned about your job security, you’re bound to still be dealing with some other career-related stressors. You’re no longer working side-by-side with your team and your boss, you aren’t out at happy hours shaking hands and making connections, and that conference you’ve been looking forward to for ages has been postponed indefinitely. I feel you.
Coping with the physical and psychological demands of self-isolation can be difficult too. Because most of us are creatures of habit. The predictability and regularity of our work routines are hardwired into our lives. Work provides us with meaning, structure, and community.
I know, it is a frustrating and disheartening time for nearly everybody. But, I am here to encourage you with the fact that there’s still plenty you can do to boost your career—yep, all from the comfort of your couch.
Ready to take back some power and control and continue fuelling your professional fire? Here are a few ideas.
1. Review your life
Most people are so busy running on a hamster wheel each day that they never make time to stop and review their life from an internal perspective. For some of you, this may sound a bit woo woo but asking the big questions allows for change and growth – and that includes your professional careers. We spend about 90,000 hours at work in our lifetime, so yeh, it’s a big part of our lives.
So go ahead, reflect on the questions below and see what shows up:
o Is this still the life I want to live?
o Do I love my career?
o What would satisfaction in all my key life areas look like?
o What is most important to me in my life?
o Where do I want to be in 5/10/20 years?
2. Update your LinkedIn profile and your resume.
Today, hiring is done online, but more than that, recruiting is done online. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media (specifically LinkedIn) to screen candidates during the hiring process, and 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees.
When’s the last time you even looked at your resume or read through your LinkedIn profile? If it’s been a while, take some time to knock the cobwebs off.
Add your most recent positions to your resume and remove any old or outdated ones. Include links and attachments to some of your recent work on your LinkedIn profile, update your summary, or endorse the skills of some of your contacts (so they can return the favour). LinkedIn is your digital first impression, like a resume, but more about you personally. Your resume limits the amount of information you can share (usually it’s up to 2 pages max, anything longer it gets ignored). Your LinkedIn profile offers the opportunity to showcase more than what 2 pages can hold, from your opinions, your skills, your endorsements, reviews and so much more.
I work with my clients to revamp and reposition themselves on LinkedIn as part of building their personal brand through our personalised 20 Steps to a Better LinkedIn Profile – making them stand out and shine through copy, keywords, look and feel and more so that they can be discovered by potential employers, recruiters and clients easily.
3. Create Content – Build your Personal Brand
You’ve heard all of the advice about fostering your “personal brand.” And, while that phrase alone can inspire some eye rolls, it’s a concept that really holds massive weight— you have a personal brand whether you consciously build it or not.
People are going to talk about you no matter what.
Personal branding is about controlling the narrative. It’s about not leaving the success of your career up to chance.
In the end, you decide what the world thinks, feels, and says about you. If you think about that, there’s nothing more powerful.
With close to 1 million Australians to lose their jobs by November because of the current pandemic, more than ever you need to establish more credibility in your industry to position yourself as a leader or subject matter expert.
One great way to build up your own brand is by starting a personal website or a blog. This will give you an outlet where you can showcase some of your greatest work (it’ll serve as a portfolio of sorts) or write advice about topics that you’re passionate about.
Make sure that you also share your website and blog with your network, especially if you’re creating resources or writing about subjects that are related to your career and industry. You’ll build your authority and also show that you’re invested in your work—beyond just what’s required for your paycheck.
4. Expand your knowledge with online resources
Are you feeling like the days are running together and you’re just barely making it through your daily responsibilities? When you’re making such major adjustments to your normal working life, things like learning and development can easily slip to the back burner—or off the stove entirely.
Challenge yourself to hone new skills or expand your knowledge by taking an online course.
Whether you want to become a Photoshop whiz or understand the fundamentals of google analytics, there are plenty of courses out there to help you push yourself and beef up your credentials from home.
While you’re at it, now’s also a good time to stay updated on what’s happening in your industry. Follow some relevant organizations and publications on social media to receive their updates, and start an Evernote account so you can save all sorts of interesting reading materials to return to later.
5. Touch base with your networking contacts
Maybe you aren’t heading out to after-work networking events or attending industry conferences and events, but that doesn’t mean you should let your professional relationships stagnate. We could all use a greater sense of connection right now anyway.
Reach out to some of your contacts (particularly ones you haven’t chatted with in a while) to check-in. Send them an interesting article you read or just a friendly, encouraging note. Or, ask them to schedule a virtual coffee chat when you can both catch up on what you’ve been up to.
In addition to combatting the loneliness that comes along with being stuck in your house, you’ll also solidify the bonds that can pay dividends down the line.
Remember, the old cliché often holds true: it’s not always what you know, but who you know.
6. Raise your hand for a project outside of your comfort zone
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut in your current position, and that certainly starts to feel even more true when you’re suddenly working from home and just trying to make it through the day-to-day.
Push yourself out of your comfort zone by volunteering for a project that you usually would not take on. Whether it’s a more straightforward data entry task to help your team to transition to working from home or it’s a daunting project that you previously would’ve done your best to avoid, go ahead and challenge yourself.
Not only will you lend your team a much-needed helping hand (and, you know, impress your boss in the process), but it’ll also hopefully reignite a sense of enthusiasm about your work—especially when your daily responsibilities are starting to feel mundane.
7. Read a book
Yes, curling up with a good book totally counts as a career-boosting activity—especially if you pick up a business book that’s on your reading list.
There are tons of books out there (authored by leading experts) that offer deep dives on a variety of topics, whether you want to learn about starting a business, gather some strategies for leading a team, or master some tactics for negotiating.
But this is only the time to let your imagination grow, so pick up a fiction book as well. I love to review some of Oprah Book Club recommendations – Queen O usually never gets it wrong.
Want to make this activity even more fun? Ask some of your colleagues or close friends to read one of those books at the same time as you (think of it as your own makeshift book club). You’ll feel a little more connected, while also engaging in some thought-provoking and beneficial conversations.
It’s tempting to think that you need to be out and about in order to contribute to your career growth. However, rest assured that there are plenty of things you can do to benefit your career success—without leaving your house.
Put these on your list, and you can feel confident that you’re doing everything you can to pursue your work-related goals, regardless of what else is happening in the world.
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