Making the most of lockdown

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It is a difficult time for all of us. COVID-19 has derailed a lot of the goals we had for 2020. It’s important to make the most of the current situation. If you currently have a lot of down time you can use this free time to make progress on your career goals. There are still opportunities to develop and learn things which will help you find a new job. Your goal should be to develop your CV by adding additional skills and experience. Also, you need to grow your network so you can be made aware of opportunities when they arise.

Learning

The additional time stuck at home gives you a great opportunity to learn a new skill. You don’t need to spend any money as there is plenty of free content on youtube and blogs. The world is filled with people who love their work so much they really enjoy teaching others. They have produced some incredible content which is available completely for free.

For example, I learned php & mysql from a youtube channel called thenewboston. Their videos make learning a lot easier as they are broken up into small bite sizes of videos 5 – 8 minutes long. All of the videos I used from their youtube channel are completely free. 

Think about what new skill you could learn that would make you more valuable to your next employer and get to work. If you’re not sure what you should learn we’ll give you some suggestions later.

Getting Experience

When you have completed the first step of getting a new skill the next step is to get experience applying that skill in an environment that mirrors your future role as close as possible. Internships can provide that setting. 

You need to begin with the end in mind. When you are sitting in an interview it is much better to show you have been able to successfully apply what you have learned in a similar environment to your potential employer. This will give you a much better opportunity to get the new role. 

One of the benefits of COVID is companies are far more open to employees working remotely. This will give you more opportunities to find the internship that will give you the experience you need. Now you will not be as limited as before to internships by geography.

Networking

Networking is a critical activity to engage in during this time. While having learned a new skill and gained experience is useful, it’s no good to you if you can’t find new opportunities. In my experience, a lot of people found roles through their friends which is why it is critical you expand your network on linkedin. You can expand your network by sending connection requests to people from your industry. Most people on linkedin are very open to networking.

You can also use linkedin to demonstrate your skills and experience. You can share your work with your connections who can in turn can share your work with their network. For example, if you’re a designer you can share your portfolio and connect to all those that liked your posts. 

If you are looking for a job rather than clients, connect with recruiters. Often they will share jobs with their linkedin network first as it’s free before posting them on job websites such as indeed. 

Ask for help

The last piece of advice is to reach out to people and ask for their advice. Identify people who are in the roles you’d like to have and ask them for their advice. They can provide you with all types of very useful information such as:

  • What are the key skills and experience to have?
  • Where should I be looking for this type of job
  • What were the interview questions?
  • What are the key qualities they look for in a candidate?