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Design your post-COVID career chapter

Five steps to get you started
Blog 125 Design your post COVID career chapter scott graham 5f Nm Wej4t AA unsplash

Ah COVID, how you’ve filled our thoughts and conversations (but not so much our weekends) over the past 18 months. It’s safe to say you’ve put us through the wringer, changing the way we work, travel (or don’t), connect, learn… You’ve pretty much turned life as we knew it on its head.

Now that the vaccine rollout is underway, we’re starting to see light at the end of the tunnel. Yes, the disruption has been significant and continues to be so – and yes, we’re all concerned about the mental health of those we care about, and ourselves. But in amongst the mess, there are some really exciting opportunities coming through. If you haven’t already, we suggest you read our article on ‘the great resignation’, which explores the seismic shift that’s unfolding in the global workforce, as more than 40 per cent of employees prepare to leave their job within the next 12 months. (To put things in perspective, that’s almost double the job-switching rate when compared to the previous year.) For all its downsides, COVID has pushed many of us to reassess our priorities and work out what we really want to do.

So, for those of you starting to think ‘what next?’; who are looking around the corner and feeling optimistic that vaccines will allow the world to open up soon, here is your personal checklist to help you get strategic and plan your next move.

  1. Build your social capital. This isn’t just about having a good network; it’s also about developing your personal brand. Admittedly, it pays to know the ‘right’ people, with research showing 85 per cent of jobs are filled via networking. But social capital also comes from the relationships you form with other individuals or groups; from shared experiences and values; the introductions you facilitate; the job tips you pass on; the favours you deliver; and the advice you give. Your social capital follows you wherever you go – hopefully preceding you to that next big opportunity.
  2. Design your career pathway. Map it, plan it, write it. Be clear about where you are going, and why, and what needs to be done to get you there. Be big and dynamic in your thinking. Don’t limit yourself to a particular industry or role. List what you need to do, where your skills gaps are and how you’re going to fill them.
  3. Tell people. Share your plans and engage your fans and advocates. You need to make it easy for people to tell others your career story, where you are heading and what you are looking for. Have conversations with the right people. There’s never been a more important time to leverage your network.
  4. Identify learning opportunities. Step up your learning now and create evidence that you are someone who can step into new roles and adapt at every turn. The world has changed forever and people who are resilient, committed to learning and can pivot their thinking and ideas will be highly sought after. According to the World Economic Forum's Future of Jobs Report 2020, half the workforce will need to reskill by 2025; depending on the industry, the average worker will undertake anywhere from one to five months’ worth of learning days to master new skills. If the half-life of a job skill is about five years (meaning it halves in value over that time), it pays to assess your skillset every couple of years so you can identify – and remedy – any gaps.
  5. Consider your whole life. Your job is what you do, not who you are. Look hard at your physical, mental, emotional and financial health. Consider your relationships and commitments outside of work. Are you clear about purpose? What makes you happy? What do you want to achieve personally? In the midst of great change, there really is no better time to perform a whole life audit.

Taking that first step into the unknown can often be the hardest, so if you’re looking for more inspiration, check out this TED Talk from entrepreneur Chieh Huang, who shares his tips for knowing when it's time to move on in your career – and what you can do to prepare.

- The Coach Place Global.

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