How to Work on Your Career, Even During Isolation

COVID-19 and national lockdown have had a huge impact on university students around the world. As well as the most obvious stress surrounding our health and the health of our loved ones, there is a huge lifestyle shift to adjust to as classes are cancelled and we can't see our friends (in person!) any more. Another huge concern for many people is the future of career prospects. Summer internships are being cancelled, companies are cutting costs (and therefore not hiring) and it's hard to access advice from the Careers Centre as the University is closed.

But all is not lost! There are a few easy ways in which you can improve your career prospects from the comfort of your own bed. Even if you’re feeling spectacularly unproductive these days, just a couple hours here and there can have you in a top notch position for the dreaded job hunt.

So, here are a few easy ways you can keep optimising your career prospects from home - even in national lockdown!

1. Update your CV

Having a strong CV is the easiest way for you to show off your potential to any future employer. While you have the time now, go back through your CV and edit it to be the best it can be. Play around with different layouts, compare how it looks at 1 page versus 2 pages and procrastinate your day away by experimenting with different fonts.

When it comes down to it though, remember that in order to showcase your best potential you want to emphasise what you contributed and what you learnt at every past work experience/project on that resumé. Use bullet points that start with active verbs to indicate what impact you made at each past role and how you can contribute to the workplace.

2. Update your LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn is your professional footprint on the internet – which means that in reality, far more people will see your LinkedIn profile than your CV! What’s more, some firms even recruit people actively from LinkedIn, so your profile could just land you a job.

There’s plenty of articles on the internet about ways to improve and optimise your LinkedIn image, so peruse those at your own interest. The basics include: a good-quality photo, a catchy bio and clear descriptions of your past roles so that hiring managers can see what experience you have. If you can also get previous colleagues or managers to ‘endorse’ you or give you recommendations, that’s even better!

3. Research potential fields that you may want to go into 

All of this preparation work… you’d think you need to have a 10-year career plan in place, right?! Wrong. It is 100% OK not to know what you want to do yet. Make the most of all this time at home to ask parents/older siblings/friends/colleagues/neighbours what their career path has looked like and whether they have any ideas that could interest you. After that, Google is your guru: browse career blogs, research general fields that you may be interested in and also spend time on specific company websites to make sure that any companies you apply to are places with values and cultures that you could thrive in.

In fact, even if you think you know what fields appeal to you, why not take this time to read up on some other options just so you know what else is out there? It can’t hurt!

4. Apply to online/remote internships and jobs

As companies adjust to moving online they are shifting plenty of their internship and job opportunities online too. In fact, remote working and working from home may become the future of the work force! Browse job-hunting sites like LinkedIn and your school Careers Service to see what roles you can apply for, even during a global pandemic.

5. And most of all, don't stress!

Even though this is a really stressful time in lots of ways, the most important thing is to keep healthy. You will find a job that you love. Keep that in mind and try to stay positive!

person sitting at the edge of a bed with an open book in their lap and a cup of coffee in hand

 

This article is part of our second themed week on ways to cope with social distancing and isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK. We send our HC love to all of our readers and contributors!