Stories

Managing your career during uncertainty

While the start of a new year is a time of reflection and goal setting, COVID-19 means more uncertainty about what lies ahead. You may be facing unknowns in your personal and professional life, including unemployment, reduced work hours, working remotely and more. Here are some strategies for making progress towards your career goals and moving forward in a changing environment.

Be proactive

Make a list of actions and goals that are within your control. What changes do you see coming in your organization and industry? What are their implications? If you anticipate downsizing, update your resume and activate your network.

Keep learning

What interests you? What skills do you need or want to develop? Even if you’re not looking for a job, you can position yourself for the future. Review some job postings to understand what employers are seeking. Consider building your credentials with a certificate or learning new software. Participate in your organization’s professional development programs. Talk to your boss about projects you’d like to join and ways you can contribute.

Grow your network

Maintaining and expanding your network puts you on more solid ground during times of change. Gain insights into industry trends by participating in virtual professional association events and add these to your resume (under “Professional Development” or “Affiliations”). Continue to schedule conversations with contacts inside and outside your company and reach out to new colleagues. Tap into the power of your Northeastern network by joining and using NUsource, our networking platform.

Be visible

Post content related to your field on LinkedIn so that your peers stay aware of your expertise and accomplishments. Volunteering with a professional association helps develop new relationships and leadership skills. Working remotely requires making an extra effort to reach out to others in your company that you are not part of your regular meetings.

Strengthen your job search

Stay on top of trends and seek insights into area of growth or opportunity. While some industries are hurting, others may be growing. Target your search and networking efforts to these growth areas accordingly.

Diversify your search and increase your options by having a plan A, B and C; this means pursuing your ideal employers and roles as well as second and third tier ideas.

Given that employers are receiving large numbers of online applications, see if you have internal contacts who can share your application with a hiring manager; this can increase your chances of landing an interview.

Practice self-care

Maintaining wellness is key, so recognize when you need to take a break, exercise, recharge or ask for help. By identifying your goals and action steps, you can navigate changes and make steady progress towards in 2021.

Michele Rapp is the Associate Director of Alumni Career Strategy.