Steps to take to advance your career even when stuck at home
By Edith Moricz
This is an unprecedented time. We’ve needed to practice social distancing for over four weeks.
I’m generally an extrovert, so this crisis has been quite challenging for me just as it has been for many people. But I vividly remember my own job transition many years ago during which I learned effective practices for advancing one’s career from home.
At that time I had a laundry list of important to-do’s as each day melted into the next. For example, I had to be laser-focused with my time to “brand” myself online (and offline).
These stay-at-home projects didn’t involve my operating in a person-to-person social context such as I’m used to. I wasn’t, for example, networking at events.
Time was an issue. I was very busy working within this new paradigm because I soon learned there are plenty of important tasks to do. Another challenge during that period was squeezing in an effective wellness program. But I did this as well, which also helped me manage stress. More about wellness later.
I learned major lessons during that time. And most of them are very relevant to this period, when we all need to practice social distancing.
So I’m eager to share my recommendations for transitions and for landing your dream job. These all are recommendations that are not impacted by the need to do social distancing.
First off, I want to say that landing your dream job, even in these difficult times, even when you’re mostly stuck at home and not, say, out networking in person, is possible.
Taking the next step
Many people feel it’s hard — maybe even impossible under these circumstances – to initiate and stick with a job-search process. But even during a crisis like this, one can start building to the next step in one’s career.
It’s true, you can’t at this point network in person. But there is a proven recipe for landing a job that can work for you. A big part of this involves leveraging the power of remote technology. It also involves organizing one’s ideas – on paper, or on documents on your computer.
The following steps are a big part of the foundation of my own private career-coaching program, FastTrack2YrDreamJob, which has been recognized by LinkedIn. (I was named LinkedIn’s #1 Career Coach for 2017.) These will keep you mindful of the special talents and qualities you will bring to your next employer:
What’s your content (and context)?
Your first steps start with introspection. Then you move forward to demonstrating your value to employers. So:
1. Capture (on paper or word-processing document) what you do best and who you are.
2. Compose a compelling narrative (your life story, career path).
3. Create enthusiasm, intrigue (regarding your success stories, your impact on the community).
4. Consistently communicate through multiple channels (such as video and online groups).
Fundamentally, it’s important to explore, define, narrate your skills. These will help you identify your passions, your desired career path. Ultimately, this could provide signposts to your ultimate impact and legacy.
By contrast, avoid these bad habits that, as a private career coach, I see a lot:
• Negative talk.
• Harboring doubts that feed into low self-esteem.
• Lack of a commitment (or low priority given mounting at-home responsibilities introduced by sheltering at home with family) to wellness, to regular, consistent movement, healthy nutrition, and a state of affirmation.
Your daily commitment to wellness
How does wellness (physical and mental self care) factor into today’s job search given social distancing? It’s more important today than ever before. How you take care of yourself dramatically impacts how you feel. How you feel, as a result of how you choose to take care of your body, impacts how you present yourself to the world. How you feel also feeds into how consistently you affirm your skills, talents, passions, career, and life path.
So how do you take this crucially important step? First, practice daily wellness (walk in the neighborhood, start a new routine, choose stairs whenever possible, etc). Not practicing daily wellness can be a silent enemy to your vigor and confidence, and to showcasing your best to the world.
You have control. Even if you start by taking small steps to a wellness routine it will be progress. Your wellness plan is an essential part of your job-search plan.
Finally, and I’ve shared this approach throughout the years of my career coaching, is to define what type of job and job environment makes you happy and at which you are most successful. Taking time to do this can help you achieve tangible, immediate results.
My three core principles for landing your dream job are to be clear on:
1. What you love to do.
2. What you excel at.
3. What corporate culture recognizes and values your expertise and credentials.
Can you define what you represent and, specifically, how you’ve impacted organizations and/or individuals?
With this in mind, I recommend managing your schedule by doing these things each week:
1. Identify relevant job descriptions based on your skills, experiences, and/or expertise. Apply to these jobs.
2. Target organizations, their mission and leadership, that excite you, even if there isn’t a job opening. Contact the leadership team.
3. Understand your value by creating a polished narrative. Share this verbally and in writing with people who might be in a position to forward your job search.
4. Create consistent, meaningful online content. Post weekly on LinkedIn.
5. Provide online mentoring. And volunteer. Share your skills and knowledge to give back and help others. It feels great to make an impact on another person’s life.
All of these professional steps can be taken without leaving your home. Of course in terms of wellness, you may need to go outside if you choose to take a walk or a run, while, of course, practicing thoughtfulness in terms of social distancing.
You can do this!
Edith Moricz is Founder of Fasttrack2YrDreamJob, a career coaching program, and rocketYOUR nonprofit, a custom fundraising coaching program. She is a career coach, fundraising coach, adjunct professor, and author. She currently provides career coaching by phone and video, as well as on-site and remote fundraising coaching to non-profits around the country. She was named LinkedIn’s Best Career Coach in 2017. Edith can be reached at 617-755-1772 or at LinkedIn.