Lessons in Lockdown: Many of us are finding ourselves without a daily commute at the moment… and possibly without as much structure as we’re used to!
So when you’re forced to stay at home, here’s how you can make the most of what some people are calling downtime. Others prefer the term ‘house arrest’… While you can’t control what’s going on in the world, you can at least use the extra time constructively. This way, you’ll be better prepared when ‘normal life’ resumes and maybe even incentivised to make some changes after a period of reflection.
What do you want from your professional life? Are you ready for the next move? Change of scene? Or is it time to reskill and pursue a different direction?
The words of civil rights leader Howard Thurman come to mind: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
Your career is a good place to start… and now you actually have the time to reflect on what fuels you and how you want to make a mark on the world.
Here are eight lessons in lockdown to maximise your time during this strange period:
- Identify your incentive. What gets you up in the morning? Use this break in your regular routine to think about your career. If you’re not sure where to start, our 6 steps to success programme might be just what you need. It will help you identify what drives you and align your values and beliefs into your chosen career path. Find out how it worked for some of our clients.
- Lock on to LinkedIn. This is one activity you won’t regret in the enforced downtime, as LinkedIn becomes more popular than ever (at last count, it had more than 660 million users). We’ve got the lowdown on making the most of this platform and how to boost your network – at times like this, it’s a powerful way to stay socially and professionally connected. As well as getting your LinkedIn profile in good shape, remember to share the love. Now’s a great time to give a colleague, co-worker or associate a recommendation.
- Revisit networking. Social distancing doesn’t stop you networking, in fact, it’s more important than ever. We’re all reaching out more. Not just family and friends, but old friends and work colleagues. To connect, check in and touch base with people. Turn the extra time to your advantage by hanging out in virtual groups that you may not have prioritised before. Why not set up your own group?
- Nail your CV. This is especially important if you’ve recently been furloughed or had your contract terminated. If you’ve been made redundant, then you might be thinking about making a fresh start and getting yourself ready for applying for new roles. There are things you can do to lay the groundwork now and strengthen your CV. And if you need a little guidance, get some help from our experienced career coaches. We’ve also got tips and support to bolster you following redundancy.
- Brush up on your skills. It’s time to invest in yourself. Watch webinars you’ve been meaning to, and expand your horizons. Check Centre of Excellence and Udemy – both great sources of diverse courses. Many of the world’s most respected institutions, from Harvard to Cambridge, already offer online courses. There are also professional development options on LinkedIn (some are free). Leaders in every sector are embracing this. We recently read that the Birmingham City boss is improving his guitar skills – see how other sports managers and players are keeping busy.
- Practise video interviewing. Coronavirus aside, this is becoming the new norm for interviewing techniques at senior levels. Familiarising yourself with how this scenario works is good for your confidence so that when your next interview happens over Skype or Zoom, you’re in a strong position. (Be mindful of your surroundings and watch out for rogue items, pictures or people in the background…)
- Plan and perfect your portfolio. Especially if you’re in the creative industry. In normal conditions, you may be short on time to update your portfolio properly. Getting all your files and examples together is a great use of your time – and if it secures you the right role in the right company, then it’s an investment that will be well worth the effort. Plus it frees you up for other things. If you’re a creative freelancer, take a look at some great advice about resources and support during Covid-19.
- Aim high, think big. You’ve been thinking about a role on the board for a while, now’s the time. If not now, then when? Businesses may value what you can bring to them when we eventually emerge from these unsettling times. Grab the opportunity to see what’s involved and how to procure your first paid position.
At City CV, we believe times of instability are also an opportunity to challenge your thinking and reset goals. We’re going to come out of this period as different people in a different world. It’s almost licenced to reinvent yourself. That said, self-care and looking after your mental health has never been more important. If it’s all getting too much, Business Insider has a fantastic article on dealing with Covid-19 induced anxiety.
And if you’re not sure what to do for yourself, do some good for others. Help the NHS fight its battle by volunteering. There’s more about how you can help at goodsamapp.org/NHS.