The pace of change is so fast at the moment, it is difficult to see what the future holds for all of us. - and that includes our career aspirations and goals. But there are some positive things we can be doing now.
Do you feel as if your career dreams or plans have gone up in smoke as a result of the pandemic? Or are you are bingeing on Netflix because you think there is nothing else you could be doing? What could I do for my career right now other than just wait and see, you may ask? Well, perhaps there is a lot more you can do than you think!
If your plan A has fallen through and you feel lost about what to do next, look again at what is available to you.
Talking with a careers adviser (appointments through Career Centre) may help you rethink your options according to your interests and present circumstances. You can talk through what alternative plans you can follow, including delaying or re-strategising your career.
Expand and learn
Expand your connections and learn about your sector. This is vital in a changing labour market and economy.
As well as searching on LinkedIn for ARU alumni in your field, look for other professionals in roles you are interested in. Ask them to connect on LinkedIn using a tailored message and later, request to meet for a ‘virtual cuppa’ when you could find out about their job, company and what is happening in their sector. And who knows? You may even find out about an opportunity that was not been advertised.
Learn to spot opportunities. Some would be obvious right now, but the labour market is more agile and more interesting than that. Where could you find trends or employers that are recruiting?
Check with the Employability Service. Talk to professionals. Read sector news and keep asking questions. For example, how many of you mechanical engineering students knew of GTECH before COVID-19? Or did you know there is significant demand for programmers or for online technology content, from theatre to education? One of those new positions could be for you!
Volunteer. In this time of need, you can really make a real difference and contribute to your community, which can be personally very rewarding as well a great help to others. Volunteering can also help improve your employability skills.
You can create your own opportunity by simply offering to help in your street by, for example, coordinating a WhatsApp group. You can also register as an NHS Volunteer Responder or (if you're an ARU student) search for other volunteer vacancies on https://www.angliastudent.com/volunteering/.
Learn and develop your skills, new interests or hobbies. This period offers a chance to develop important skills needed in your career, which you perhaps didn't have time for before. Did you ever think about learning Python? Or improving your Excel skills (a key requirement in so many jobs)?
This is also an excellent time to pursue activities that motivate you, which may help your personal development. We have all seen in the last few days an explosion of creativity and you may have a few ideas you want to try. Many courses have been made free now. ARU students can access thousands of courses in LinkedIn Learning, for free. There are also interest groups being set up via Zoom, like hip hop dancing. Why not give these a go?
Stay home, stay healthy and stay well.
By Luisa Ares, Employability & Careers Adviser
Picture of musicians by Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest on YouTube.