For many of us, the adjustment to a “new normal” amidst the COVID-19 pandemic has been one heck of a bumpy ride. Whether you have had to change your study habits, get used to sharing a full-time workspace with family members or roommates, or simply adjust to the lack of social interaction, the coronavirus has found many ways to slam its foot on the breaks of life. This could be especially frustrating if those breaks have directly impacted the progress you were making towards your career-related goals. But that doesn’t mean your forward momentum has to stop. Here are three simple tips on how you can keep your foot on the G.A.S. even during this unprecedented time.
With social distancing in place and our favorite extracurricular activities on hold, more of us are finding that we are not quite sure how to fill the extra time in our schedules. (And let’s be honest, how much Netflix can one person actually watch?!) Instead of reminiscing about what our daily routines used to look like, use this time to think about what your future could look like! Ask yourself what skills you’ve always wanted to develop or what experiences you’ve wanted to gain and start setting measurable goals to help you achieve them. It doesn’t matter if these goals are immediately attainable or ones that may need some extended time to complete, the fact that you are dedicating some time and focus to them will help keep you motivated in making them become a reality!
Now that you’ve established your goals it’s time to start taking action steps to bring them to fruition. No matter what the goal, be it developing a technical skill like Microsoft Excel or learning a new language, there are a lot of e-learning platforms that are currently offering their courses for free or reduced cost as a result of the hardships caused by the coronavirus. If your goals don’t align with technical learning, perhaps exploring ways to build your soft (or transferable) skills may be a better option. For example, consider setting aside time each day to network with industry professionals through LinkedIn or other professional organizations to develop your communication and interpersonal skills. You can also consider joining virtual events like webinars or the CLAS Case Competition to enhance your problem-solving and analytical skills while earning a great résumé builder at the same time!
With newly developed or enhanced skills and experiences under your belt, you’ll want to start showing off what you’ve learned and how you can apply it moving forward. Did the experience help increase your understanding of information related to an industry of interest? If so, consider contributing to conversations in LinkedIn groups or blog posts. Not only will this help you grow a network within your desired industry but it will also help establish your reputation as an individual contributor when it comes time to start applying for jobs. Don’t have a LinkedIn account or are looking to share insight with a smaller audience? Start by writing your own blog post about your experiences that can be shared with family members, friends, and fellow students on a personal or academic level. You should also consider updating your résumé to highlight these new attributes. If you are unsure of where or how to incorporate these new skills into your résumé feel free to schedule a resume critique with a career coach for some guidance.