The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a major shift in the move toward remote work. Professionals who are used to going into the office every day are now telecommuting and collaborating with team members using digital tools and channels. Many people are finding a number of benefits to working from home, including more free time that would otherwise be spent sitting in rush-hour traffic.
So what does this mean for career development? According to Harvard lecturer Vikram Mansharamani, one of the most important competencies for the future is the ability to learn new skills. He believes that generalists will fare better than specialists because workers are likely to switch job duties more frequently.
"If you're relatively new to the workforce, my advice is to manage your career around obtaining a diversity of geographic and functional experiences," noted Mansharamani. "The analytical capabilities you develop (e.g. basic statistical skills and critical reasoning) in the process will fare well when competing against those who are more focused on domain-specific skill."
Here are five ways to achieve these goals when you're working from home:
1. Take online courses
There is no shortage of online courses available to you. From Ivy league schools to platforms like Udemy, LinkedIn Learning and Lynda, you can access courses that will teach you new skills. Whether you want to learn a new programming language or brush up on your public speaking skills, you can learn from experts from the comfort of your own home.
2. Attend virtual events
Remote workers now have the ability to attend professional events that may have been outside of their reach prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many events which were previously held in-person have transitioned to digital spaces using video conferencing platforms. These events can be great resources for learning about industry trends and making connections with other professionals.
3. Find a mentor
Just because you're at home, it doesn't mean you can't find someone to mentor you as you progress along your career path. If you already have a mentor, you can use video conferencing solutions to connect with them, review your progress and ask for advice. If you're looking for a mentor, sites like LinkedIn provide the perfect opportunity to make new connections.
"If you're employed and seeking mentorship, now's a great time to reach out to individuals within your company who have achieved the promotions or pathways that you're looking to emulate," says Rebecca Wright, Regional Vice President for Beacon Hill's Associates Division. "Hearing firsthand what someone else did to find success within their path can inspire you and keep you engaged on your own journey, especially while battling pandemic fatigue and feelings of isolation."
4. Build your professional network
If you feel isolated during self-quarantine, social media platforms can provide an outlet for meeting like-minded people. Consider joining professional groups on LinkedIn and other platforms to discuss industry trends, have conversations about important topics and bounce ideas off one another.
This is also a good time to get in touch with a professional recruiter. When you work with a staffing agency, you can find job opportunities that may be more difficult to uncover on your own. Recruiters may also be able to provide you with guidance for how to improve your chances for getting jobs relevant to your ideal career trajectory.
5. Read books on topics related to your career path
The internet contains a vast amount of information, but you won't find everything you need to know online. Many libraries offer contactless curbside pickup so you can borrow the latest books on topics relevant to your career.
Ready to take the next step in your career? Get in touch with the expert recruiters at Beacon Hill Staffing Group to learn more.
This content is brought to you by the Marketing Team at Beacon Hill Staffing Group.