Right now, many of us are concerned about our career. Maybe you’ve been furloughed or laid off. Maybe you’re still working but are starting to hear rumors. Or maybe you’ve been thinking about making a career change for several months. Regardless of your situation, you should be thinking about your career and how to position yourself for opportunities.
There’s a saying in recruiting, “Always be closing.” Well in career development it’s “Always be ready.” As in, “Always be ready for your next opportunity.”
At last year’s HR Technology Conference, I attended a session led by Cornerstone OnDemand which was focused on the topic of career development. They outlined five activities that we should be doing to elevate our careers. The activities were relevant then and they’re still relevant today. What I like about this list is that we can apply it in both a group learning environment as well as a self-learning one.
- Befriend machines. With many of us working from home are becoming more connected to technology. That’s not a bad thing. While technology isn’t going to replace human interaction, gaining digital fluency skills is important. This is an opportunity to demonstrate that we can work effectively on our own as well as in a collaborative environment using technology.
- Build your tribe. It is possible to cultivate positive business relationships while working remotely. Look for opportunities to virtually network inside and outside the organization. Share valuable information via social media. Respond to calls and emails in a timely fashion. Be willing to listen when a friend or colleague needs you – maybe for their career development.
- Make yourself known. We’re not talking about being pushy here. Think of making yourself known as in the famous quote from Steve Martin, “Be so good they can’t ignore you.” Spend time reflecting on your personal brand and reputation. Are there aspects of your brand that you’d like to change? Also consider spending some time to increase your knowledge of other cultures.
- Make sense. Cornerstone explained this one as being focused on getting better with logic. I could see that as improving critical thinking and business acumen. Look for opportunities to connect qualitative information and quantitative data to tell a business story. This could also be a great time to demonstrate the ability to successfully manage change.
- Keep it going. Whether we’re working from home or in an office environment, we need to show that we practice ethical behavior in our personal and professional lives. We should demonstrate empathy and emotional intelligence in our interactions with others. And it can be far more difficult than it sounds, but we should find ways to celebrate our resilience to the ever-changing world around us.
As you look at your career – in terms of what you would like to be doing in the future – think about what you need to learn and how you would like to learn it. I know group learning sessions can be a lot of fun, but there are some things that would be better to learn via self-learning. Now might be the right time to focus on those self-directed activities. It could really take you places!16