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ARTICLE: Managing Your Career in a Crisis

Fear and paralysis can be common in a crisis, but you don’t have to succumb to it—rather, take the opportunity to prepare for new and unexpected opportunities. Taking actionable steps in your career during these times may also help relieve anxiety and channel your energy into something you can directly impact. Here are some tips to help you effectively manage your career during a crisis.

  • DEMONSTRATE YOUR VALUE: Be the colleague that puts your hand up to lead a project or offer to help someone. If your company uses social media platforms, work to create a supportive community in that space. Make what you’re doing and how you’re contributing obvious to your boss. Think about pressing topics for your organization and offer to take the lead on them as a source of support, a great thought partner, a sounding board, and someone that can handle the ambiguity and pressure of a crisis.

  • PRIORITIZE NETWORKING: Nothing shapes your trajectory and adds to your market value more than growing and maintaining your network, and the best time to build it is when you don’t need anything and aren’t yet launching a job search. If you have extra downtime right now, focus on checking in on and reconnecting with your professional contacts, especially on LinkedIn. Re-share articles that you like, comment on someone’s post, or create content yourself. Set up a virtual coffee meeting or cocktail hour—reach out over text or email, and do it authentically.

  • SHARPEN YOUR BRAND: Always have an optimized LinkedIn profile and resume ready. Review both documents and update the following sections on LinkedIn: your headline, keywords, profile picture, job descriptions and volunteer affiliations. By optimizing your LinkedIn profile, you may make new connections or attract new job opportunities. Join relevant industry groups and follow companies and thought leaders of interest. Post content at least monthly—be bold to share your expertise.

  • UNDERSTAND THE MARKET: Conduct research and better understand your local job market along with which industries are growing during these turbulent times. Know what positions are in high demand and how your skills and experience stack up. Be able to articulate your unique value and transferrable skills should you want or need to launch a job search in the near future.

  • ADAPT TO VIRTUAL JOB SEARCHING: Set your expectations appropriately—some processes are simply going to take longer as there may be less demand, interview delays, offers held up for in-person meetings, or you may have less leverage in negotiations. Networking is the best way to attract promising job leads. Set up job alerts so relevant roles come directly to your inbox. Do your best to find someone in the company you are interested in that you can connect with or who will recommend you for the role. If you must apply online, reach out to the hiring manager or recruiter letting them know about your application and that you’d welcome the opportunity to discuss the company’s needs and how you may be able to help. To put your best foot forward during virtual interviews, find the best background, camera angle and lighting. If you’re not accustomed to virtual meetings, practice with a friend beforehand—there is an art to connecting online. Focus on building rapport, watching for body language, and pausing appropriately between comments to facilitate a smooth dialogue.

Careers are long and inevitably include several bouts of economic turbulence that will both test and refine your resilience. Whether you are looking for a new job or not, remain positive and productive over the next few months and continue to look for opportunities to grow your skills. When you stay focused, it is possible to advance your career even in difficult times.

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