Life on the inside: 10 tips to reinvent your career during lockdown
The long coronavirus lockdown has given many people ample opportunity to reflect on life, including where their careers may be heading.
Those who have lost jobs, been placed on furlough, or who have simply been given a new perspective on their work, may be considering a change in direction.
This could include taking inspiration from the carers, nurses, postmen, teachers and delivery drivers helping to keep the country running, as suggested by Google search trend analysis by Money.co.uk.
The online comparison service’s research for its Key Worker Nation Report led it to compile some advice for those looking to reinvent their careers.
1. Embrace the downtime
Much is uncertain about the future under coronavirus, which could trigger stress and anxiety.
But Money.co.uk advises people to “embrace the uncertainty, and allow yourself a bit of downtime”.
As a starting point it advises people that giving themselves a break can help “sustain and boost all of our cognitive processes” to come out stronger for the next stage in life.
2. Build a diverse portfolio
“Change is never linear,” warns Money.co.uk, so people seeking reinvention should not limit their options.
“In the current crisis, it makes far more sense to try and build a diverse portfolio,” the site advises.
It says reinvention can be “a little messy” as people “experiment and puzzle out what kind of role you want”.
“Don’t get hung up on following one set road,” it adds.
3. Start on new projects
Money.co.uk advises people to take advantage of online resources and the time available to try new things.
This could involve cultivating new knowledge, developing a new skill, speaking to new people, joining a night school, doing advisory work or getting involved in start-up ideas.
Of course the Covid-19 crisis makes this challenging, but new projects could help prepare for the next job opportunity.
4. Reconnect with dormant ties
Networking need not completely halt under lockdown, with online messaging still a useful resource, Money.co.uk highlights.
It recommends getting in touch with contacts, such as old colleagues, you may not have spoken to in a while.
These people will hopefully know you well, but still be distant enough to offer constructive help.
5. Get more social online
As well as reconnecting with former contacts, Money.co.uk urges people to build new relationships.
This could include using Twitter, finding industry-specific lists of people and following them.
Similarly, job-hunters can connect with managers at companies they would like to work at through LinkedIn.
Introducing yourself can put you on their radar, with many perhaps having more time to speak online now than pre-lockdown.
Those stuck at home with their families might also welcome the chance to speak to someone new.
6. Find the gaps
Once you have a sense of what you would like to do, you will need to work out how to get there.
Money.co.uk advises: “Don’t let this overwhelm you. Be pragmatic and practical. Find the gaps in your knowledge.
“A good way to do this is to pretend to interview yourself. What questions would you hate to be asked? Why would you hate to be asked them?”
Areas you lack confidence in could indicate a lack of skills and an area to start building ability.
7. Flexibility is key
If you have been in one career for a long time it is easy to doubt yourself and feel unable to take on a new job.
But Money.co.uk encourages people to ditch such thinking and “embrace the change” through being flexible.
“Think of the future as an open canvas to paint on,” it advises.
8. Small practical steps
Money.co.uk suggests breaking down objectives into smaller, more manageable chunks.
“Pick one small task a day and focus on it,” it advises.
This could include finding online courses of interest, identifying relevant recruiters, brainstorming what you do and do not enjoy about your current role or listing companies you might like to work for.
9. Help others
“Getting out of your own head is, paradoxically, a great way to reinvigorate yourself, whilst also doing some good for those around you,” Money.co.uk says.
It recommends finding ways to help others, if not in person then online.
One example might be setting up a donation service for medical suppliers among local residents.
10. Talk it out
Money.co.uk says one of the best ways to process thoughts is to simply “talk it out” with someone else.
This might prove tricky under lockdown, but one option is to arrange a suitably socially distanced walk and talk outside with one friend you respect.
Alternatively, stay online and book in a video call with friends or seek out the services of a career coach.
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