Has your career been adversely affected by the pandemic, perhaps through furlough, redundancy or a change in job role? It would be easy to assume that there's not much you can do to progress your career during a global pandemic. You may be thinking that the best thing to do is to sit and wait for the viral dust to settle before taking any drastic action. That’s if you have such a luxury.
On the plus side, the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown may have given you the time to reflect on the important things in your life and consequently, your career too. However, at some stage in the near future we’ll all be back on some kind of treadmill and for many people there will be far less time for reflection and self evaluation. So if the pace of life has slowed down a little for you, how can you make the most of this break from ‘normal life’?
If you’re at a point where you’re now thinking you’d like to do something different, but you don’t know what to do or where to start, here are 5 actions you can take now that can help you to reboot your career in 2021:
1. Develop a growth mindset - your mindset does not have to be determined by external circumstances. Two people can face the same adversity but have totally different attitudes to handle it. A growth mindset is one that says “challenges can bring out the best in me” whereas a fixed mindset says “the pandemic has ruined my potential”. Successful people have a growth mindset. The first step is being aware of your mindset. If you don’t have a growth one, start engaging with people who do. It will have a positive effect on you.
2. Assess your career values - your values are the driving force for your career. They are the reason why you do what you do. But sometimes we compromise on our values for various reasons. Our values can change as a result of positive or negative circumstances but despite those changes, your job role often stays the same. Then the things that attracted you to the role no longer have the same appeal. Therefore, assessing your values should be an ongoing activity.
If you’re doing work that is in line with your own core values, you’re far more likely to be content. So what is important to you when it comes to work now? What do you want your work to give you a sense of? If you can identify 3 core values, that’s a great starting point. Then any opportunity that you identify in the future should be measured up against these values.
3. Be clear about your best skills - what are the key skills that you actually enjoy using? You may be using a range of skills in your job but you’ll be more motivated to use the skills you actually enjoy using. These are the skills you never think twice about using and when you’re in flow, it doesn’t seem like work. On the flip side, are you doing tasks that sap your energy? Either way, such an assessment could prompt meaningful discussions at work.
4. Identify your passion - by the time you retire you will have worked for around 50 years, so it makes sense to do something that you’re actually passionate about. But how do you identify such a holy grail? It’s not easy. If it was easy, there wouldn’t be so many disillusioned employees out there. However, there are a few questions that you can ask yourself that can challenge your thinking. For example: what difference do you want to make through the work you do, and to whom? What do you care about? What would you do if all jobs paid the same? If you could re write your job description, what would you include?
One quicker alternative option to the above points is to take a psychometric test which can highlight your strengths, personality preferences and interests before going on to suggest courses and possible job options. It won’t tell you the whole picture, but it’s a great starting point if you’re really stuck.
5. Network - self reflection is all well and good, but it should always lead to reaching out and connecting with others in order to boost your career. If you’ve identified what you think you’d like to do, find people who can answer your questions about your next steps. Social media such as LinkedIn is an ideal platform to do this, especially if you don’t know anyone personally that can help. If you have a bit more time on your hands, now could be the ideal time to boost your online profile and network with professionals in your sector or from other sectors if you’re considering a career change.
These are hard times for everyone as we are having to deal with situations out of our control. However, there is still much you are in control of and despite the current pandemic, now might be your best opportunity to get ready for the next exciting chapter of your career.
For more information about psychometric tests and career aptitude tests, click here