Written by: James Ponds
With everyone staying at home and the state of the economy up in the air, plenty of people are concerned about their financial futures. One of the ways you can combat this fear is to find better, more stable employment, but that may not be as easy as it sounds. If you need to bolster your resume, it can be difficult to do when everything is closed down. Luckily, there are things you can do right now that will make a difference during your next round of applications. Here are 5 ways to improve your work situation without leaving your house.
1. Learn a New Skill
One of the best ways you can make yourself a more desirable employee is to learn a new valued skill. You can do this by taking a class, a workshop or by finding a mentor in your chosen field. Any new certifications you get will bulk up your resume when you're ready to search again. This may also be the perfect time for you to go back to school, and something like an online MSA could be a perfect opportunity for you to start a new career or get ahead in your field. Even if you don't take the time to learn something new that is industry specific, there are basic skills anyone in business should have. You can use this time to brush up on networking, customer service, negotiation training, problem solving, or new and improved sales techniques. Professional leadership skills, for example, have a high value in any field.
2. Get More Experience
If you're having trouble finding a new job or working your way up the ladder, you might need some more experience. You can do this by seeking out an internship or volunteer opportunity, or you can ask a contact or colleague to take you under their wing in a mentorship situation. The more experience you have, the more unique your perspective becomes, the more capable you seem, and the more your application will appear to hiring managers. If you're a decent writer, you might want to try interviewing experts in your field and selling pieces online. Even if you're just speaking with experts, this can further help you establish your own expertise.
You may be stuck at home, but that doesn't mean you should slack on your networking. You never know where your next lead will come from, so it's important to treat everyone you meet with the respect of a colleague, even if you don't have a job yet. Brush up on online etiquette for virtual conventions and workshops. Because everyone speaks over chat, you might even feel more comfortable approaching people you wouldn't have dared speak to in person. It may even be easier to snag an email address or an invitation to speak via private message. Many organizations that had to cancel in-person events are still hosting events for free or at a lower cost, so you could attend workshops you might not have been able to afford before. Since you don't have to travel or be stuck in a hotel lobby between sessions, you can pick and choose which ones you'll get the most out of.
4. A Strong Online Presence
If you're looking for a new job, make sure you're easy to find online. Even if you don't see and apply for every job you're qualified for, a hiring manager may come across your name or profile online and be interested in speaking with you. Keep all your information up to date, especially your contact information. This is also a good opportunity to cultivate a professional online presence and get rid of any unflattering photos or posts your future employer is likely to find with a simple google search. Some people go so far as to create a professional website with a resume and portfolio. This is especially useful in artistic industries, but a creative presentation may still work for you even if you aren't an artist or writer.
5. Keep Up With Current Events
If you're on the hunt for employment, it's more crucial than ever to keep up with the news in your industry. As things change, you need to be prepared to adapt to new challenges, and this can give you an edge over your competitors. This is also where effective problem solving skills will shine. If you can spot upcoming issues for a company and enter with solutions already prepared, you're positioning yourself as a problem solver and a valuable asset for the business.
The job market may be tough, but you're not helpless just because you're stuck at home. If you learn something new and put yourself out there in a positive light, potential employers will be able to see the value you're bringing to a new company.