Managing Your Career in the Time of Coronavirus

Posted by Calling All Optimists on May 6, 2020

The world is full of uncertainty right now. Companies are freezing hiring, the global economy is unstable, and there’s no end in sight to social distancing. With so many changes, it can be challenging to think about how you can manage your career. Before anxiety creeps in, take a deep breath and acknowledge that the pandemic will pass. Even though right now is challenging, there are still opportunities to grow professionally if you know where to look for them. Here are some ways you can feel more empowered and in control of your career during the current crisis: 

Stay positive

Give yourself permission to be uncertain for a short period of time, but then find a way to move past that and stay positive. Staying positive will allow you to see opportunities where others don’t and focus on your long-term future, no matter what you’re facing right now. It will not only improve your mindset, but your performance at work as well. Studies show that people who are optimistic perform better at work, enjoy greater work satisfaction, and have less work-related stress. 

Take time for self-reflection

Our previous action-packed days often left us with no time to actually sit down and think about ourselves and our future. Use some of your new free time to assess your professional growth and actually answer all of those questions about yourself that are critical to career planning. What are your strengths? What are your areas of growth? What have you learned from your current role and how do you want to use that knowledge moving forward? This is a great time to think about who you are, what you have to offer, and what you want out of a career. 

Focus on your long-term goals

Speaking of career planning, it’s critical to focus on your long-term versus short-term goals during a crisis. Instead of mourning short-term goals that might no longer be possible, revisit your career action plan and set a new pace for yourself. Think about what small actions you can take now, like learning a new skill or joining an association, that still ladder up to your long-term goals. 

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Research companies and industries

This is a great time to either revisit or create your list of companies and industries you’re potentially interested in. As far as companies are concerned, look at how they’re handling coronavirus overall and their employees. As far as industries are concerned, consider refocusing on ones that are predicted to be more recession-proof, including healthcare, law, government, anything digital, and business consulting

Adapt to digital relationship building

Just because you may be physically socially distant, doesn’t mean you have to be digitally socially distant. Use this time to catch up with your mentors and grab digital coffees with current and former colleagues. Revamp your LinkedIn and connect with digital networking groups and associations. Search for digital events you can attend instead of the in-person conference you were planning on. People who continue to relationship-build despite the pandemic will be better positioned when companies start hiring again.

Keep learning

You know that soft or hard skill you’ve been wanting to develop? Find a way to do so online! Search for classes on LinkedIn Learning or free digital classes offered by colleges. It’s also a good time to master working from home. A flexible work-from-home schedule might become the new normal, so learn how to execute virtual meetings and manage your new at-home life. 

Consider graduate school

Don’t let the pandemic hinder potential graduate school plans. Graduate school is still a great option to grow your skills and put your career on the fast track. Research schools and see how quickly they’re adapting to the new normal of online learning. In particular, business schools are extending their deadlines, offering digital engagement opportunities, and reducing their application fees. Testing requirements like the GMAT have also adapted and moved online

Even if the world feels out of control, it doesn’t mean you can’t take control of your career. The pandemic will eventually fade away, so do your best to use this time wisely and stay on the path to success.