Well, where to begin?
First off, the world as we’ve known it, really for decades, has rapidly shifted multiple times over the course of a short few months. Everything has changed and everything will continue to change for years to come. The changes have touched every industry, every business and organization, and the economy at large, from a micro and macro lens. So, what now?
In terms of your career, you have likely seen shifts as well – from what you have as your career to what you wanted for your career to what you want for your career now in anticipation of future changes.
What should you know going into the next year? What should you think about when it relates to your career? We’ve compiled a list of career tips to consider for answering those questions for a post-COVID-19 world.
Tip #1: Try to anticipate what markets will be most impacted by the after-effects of COVID-19
As an entrepreneur, I empathize with people who invested in any type of business prior to COVID-19 that was dramatically impacted by the quarantine. This goes for bars and restaurants, hotels, and travel companies. They didn’t see the virus coming; they likely could not forecast its impact on the main driver of their core business: people leaving their homes and being active.
It’s on you as “your own boss,” as Steven Pressfield argues with his concept of “Me, Inc.,” to be proactive in trying to anticipate changes to major markets so that you know what economic lanes are widening and which are narrowing.
For example, let’s say your dream was to open up a painting school. Would that be something you’d want to do right now? Probably not. Why? Well, because the market for painting schools is uncertain; it’s contingent on unpredictable measures such as when will people feel comfortable being around others to learn how to paint in-person.
Sure, you can take the digital route, but is it really a bet you want to make when it comes to your career? Think about all of these factors. An industry can disappear or change completely in a matter of weeks, like big events (sports, concerts, etc.). Be cautious and don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Don’t let it be the “be all, end all” of your career decision-making process. Instead, use it as a resource when conducting your research and determining what route you want to take.
Tip #2: Sharpen our skills and find ways to stand out as a candidate
We know that unemployment claims during COVID-19 reached unprecedented numbers. This means a lot of things to a lot of people (and we truly, truly empathize with their situations), but it also means that there will be a lot of competition in the future for every job position that survives in the post-COVID-19 world.
When it comes to your career choice, this pretty much means that you’re going to need to stand out as a candidate to ensure you’re not overlooked. You already had to do this pre-COVID-19, but you will have to do this even more aggressively post-COVID-19 because the competition will be so high.
Think about this way: jobs are zero sum and they function in a supply and demand environment. If there’s less supply (less jobs being available), and more demand (more people needing jobs due to being laid off or running low on money), then you have to sharpen your skills and do whatever it takes to stand out as a candidate.
Look at job descriptions (even old ones) and invest in educating yourself on all the skills and requirements needed to be considered an ideal candidate for the job position you’re seeking. Do the research. Do the work. Sign up for a free or affordable online class. Maybe even get a master’s degree. Get going and give yourself the best shot to succeed.
Tip #3: Work on your productivity, time management, and technological skills
There are three things that will test you in a post-COVID-19 world most.
First, is your productivity levels. You’re going to be working from home more (it’s unclear when offices will open up back fully) so you’re going to need to hold yourself accountable for your work. According to Healthine, staying mobile can increase your productivity.
Therefore it might be worthwhile for you to invest in a standing desk (or build one), take walking meetings, and avoid the pitfalls of sitting health risks. Businesses will want to hire advanced practitioners who understand how to operate in a remote environment in the face of challenges across the board.
Second, is your time management abilities. Can you manage being at home, being around your family, handling food and other house chores, all while taking conference calls and not getting tired? Not losing enthusiasm and optimism for your job? It’s really difficult and can only get harder over time. It’s going to be on you to be able to manage your schedule, organize your day, get things done, all the while dealing with the unpredictable nature of the world around you.
Third, is your technological skills. Companies will want to see that you’re keeping up with the technological changes around you. Can you multitask between different tools and platforms? Can you learn something new quickly without being overwhelmed? These are the types of things companies will be looking for when it comes to selecting an ideal candidate. Not only that, but you’ll work better, smarter, and faster if you’re able to use technology to your benefit.
At the end of the day, the choice is yours. But the one most important tip is to move at your own pace. These times are hard. They’re not easy for anyone. As productive and proactive as you want to be, it’s critical that you don’t beat yourself up if you’re not moving at the pace you’d like.
Breathe. Focus. Meditate. Take your time. Eat well. Sleep well. Start there. Then work your way to thinking about the future – and the future of your career.
Do the best you can and always try to think positively about where you’re headed. Then map out a path to get to that goal and build out the daily process that will guarantee your success. In a post-COVID-19 world, we’ll need to think critically with pragmatism, intertwined with supportive self-care.