Many of us find that to grow and progress in our life and work, we need to undertake personal and professional development. But what does personal or professional development actually mean? And what do you need to do to put a development plan in place? Read our guide below to find out! What is personal
Updated 31st March 2020
Does being stuck at home mean that the steps you were taking to find a new role have plateaued? You may be surprised to learn that this enforced downtime can give you the opportunity to take stock and actually boost your career prospects. If you’re looking for a job in London during lockdown or a period of self-isolation, here are our tips to help you use this time to your advantage.
It’s time to evaluate
Juggling a job and your personal life while taking the next step in your career requires compromise. Each element takes up a huge amount of time. The result is that job hunting can become a tick-list exercise, crammed into any remaining time in the day, rather than a conscious and deliberate process.
Now is a fantastic time to actually evaluate what you really want from the next step of your career. Ask yourself about your goals and aspirations in order to make a solid plan. You may even take this opportunity to find out more about yourself and which roles may actually suit you. 16 Personalities offers an excellent personality test to help reveal which careers play to your strengths.
Tips to help you find a job while at home
Not only can career evaluation reveal ideas you hadn’t considered, it can also highlight gaps in your experience or skills. Contrary to what you may think, your job hunt shouldn’t just focus on finding your next job. If you take this approach, your skills tend to stagnate and you may be unable to reach for career success in the long-term. The good news is that downtime presents a great opportunity to do things which, once recruitment activities are back in full swing, will put you in a better position than before.
Take an online course
Trying to squeeze extra training into everyday life is hard. However, now you have time to sign up for extra development options which will hopefully help in finding a job. There are a plethora of online training providers with many currently offering their courses at lower prices or even free. Excellent providers include:
- New Skills Academy: Provides several courses covering everything from secretarial/administrative basics to public speaking. You can also get up to 65% off all courses using the code TIGER at the checkout.
- Udemy: Over 100,000 courses on anything and everything from programming software to leadership skills.
- Future Learn: An eclectic mix of courses aimed at broadening your skills and helping your career development.
Expanding your professional knowledge by reading about your role and industry can help bring greater depth to what you do. Not only that, if you’re actively looking for a new role, then relevant reading brings you two more benefits: you’ll be prepared for future interviews and you’ll identify ideal employers!
Career admin and CV advice
How often do you find yourself sending off your CV knowing it’s not quite right for the role advertised, but you haven’t had time to customise it properly? Luckily, you now have time to spring-clean your recruitment admin so this won’t happen again.
Here’s our biggest piece of CV advice while in self-isolation – use this time to update your latest experience, skills and achievements. You can also create a small suite of cover letters relevant to different jobs or niches, ready for customisation in due course. It’s also a good idea to research potential employers, consider questions to ask at future interviews and prepare your own answers to common questions. Don’t forget to take the time to tidy up your social media, paying particular attention to LinkedIn, as this is the first place employers are likely to look when they see your application.
Career development projects
In the last few years, there’s been a major change in what future employers look for. No longer are they satisfied with a list of duties and skills – recruiting managers also want to see evidence of these.
There are a number of different side projects you can take up which provide evidence and will elevate your skills. They don’t always need to be directly related to your career, but the important thing is that they showcase skill acquisition.
Examples of worthwhile projects to keep you busy:
- Create an online presentation about your profession aimed at sixth formers or university students
- Write a paper or article about a development in your field and publish it on LinkedIn
- Become a volunteer on a helpline and improve your communication skills
Keep in touch
With everyone stuck at home, it’s actually a good time to network. You can arrange video meetings, pick up the phone, or even fire off emails. Importantly, don’t forget to keep in touch with your recruitment agency. Keeping them in the loop will help ensure that you’re ready to go when there’s a fantastic job for you to apply for.
Downtime doesn’t have to feel unproductive. In fact, in career terms, using downtime wisely is an opportunity you should grab with both hands! Use it effectively and you’ll be perfectly positioned to take the next step in your career.
If you’re looking for more CV tips, interview advice or other blog posts to help you during the lockdown, our Insights page can help.
Author bio: Andrew Fennell is the Founder of CV-writing advice website StandOut CV  – he is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to websites like Business Insider, The Guardian and FastCompany.