It’s no secret that the world is rapidly changing. As industries shift from short-term solutions to long term strategic changes in the face of COVID-19, being nimble is paramount to successful career development.
According to financier and strategist Leo Tilman in his book Agility: How to Navigate the Unknown and Seize Opportunity in a World of Disruption, failure to recognize changing tides and strategically adapt early is a sure lead down the path of business extinction. No industry is spared, and none are positioned to be more agile than those already in the digital space.
No matter your profession or the state of the world, it’s good professional housekeeping to regularly assess where your career is at, where you’d like it to go and how you can adapt to take it there. As we approach the close of a year that was upending in many regards, Simplilearn would like to add to your 2021 New Year’s resolutions with these seven evergreen career tips.
1. Maximize Your Home Office Space
A stunning 42 percent of the total U.S. labor force is now working from home permanently, and this percentage is even higher globally among the digital economy and technology industries.
Now that many of us are working from home, it’s important to be intentional about our workspaces at home. At the beginning of this transition, we found ourselves clumsily set up at the kitchen counter, dining room table or living room sofa. Whether you’ve made a permanent transition, or only find yourself working from home on occasion, your home workspace is equally important.
Here are a few universal home office career tips:
- Set up a designated, permanent, and private desk area where possible that you don’t have to reconfigure at the start of each day.
- Organize and declutter. Clutter drains us psychologically, leading to mental exhaustion and overwhelm.
- Keep your environment fresh. Ensure the temperature is comfortable for you, open windows when possible, and diffuse your favorite stress-busting essential oils.
2. Continue Learning with an Online Bootcamp
Continued learning is a life-long process and investment. If it feels like the technologies you use at work are advancing faster every day, it’s because they are. Technological advancement is a force similar to biological evolution, and it’s important to keep up. If you work in the digital economy or a tech industry, you likely feel this rapid evolution happening around you at a seismic level.
Many of us are finding ourselves going into a less certain world in 2021, with more time on our hands than usual. Use your time management skills to make the most of extra time, learn something new, and stave off boredom.
But education doesn’t have to be grossly time consuming. Online bootcamps are accelerated, intensive study programs that enable students to learn the in-demand tech skills sought by recruiters. These programs enable you to develop a new skill and add value to your résumé in a matter of weeks, not months. There are many benefits of enrolling in online courses, and this is why you should upskill with an online bootcamp.
- Get real practice with applied learning designed to present real workplace challenges.
- Advance in your current role by showing your employers that you’re capable and trained to take on new responsibilities.
- Become a candidate for an advanced role outside of your current organization. If you’re feeling stuck, you may have hit a ceiling with your present employer. It may be time to sharpen your skills and shop them elsewhere.
- Remain relevant in your industry by staying on top of the latest trends and technological developments. By staying knowledgeable, you’ll always have value to offer your peers and mentors.
3. Update Your Résumé: Simple and Digital
It’s wise to always have an updated résumé on hand, allowing you to respond quickly when new opportunities present themselves. Keep a working master file of your résumé on your desktop so that you can easily update new skills and experience and continuously improve your format and language.
Updating the hard copy of your résumé may sound like an obvious career tip, but here are a few steps to take it further and ensure your résumé stands out in the stack.
Especially if the rest of your workflow has moved online, your résumé and if applicable, your portfolio, should be easily accessible online as well.
Pay Attention to Design
According to Forbes, you have just five seconds to grab a recruiter’s attention with your résumé. This means that if your résumé isn’t designed to visually flow, you’ll have missed a narrow opportunity to communicate your value. Look for templates that keep the most pertinent information like your contact information and current role near the top with well-organized and clear section headers throughout.
Differentiate yourself by visually prioritizing highly sought-after niche skills and unique experience in your industry. Not sure what employers are looking for? Take your time to read through a variety of job postings for target positions or connect with a recruiter.
4. Invest Time in the New Networking
You’ve likely been hearing the networking career tip that it’s not what you know, but who you know since the very beginning of your education and career. No matter how qualified you are, it’s people who do the hiring, and having a solid network of professional relationships will advance your successful career faster.
While the classic coffee meeting or evening mixer have long been networking staples, digital transitions have opened new doors and lifted geographical restrictions. Networking has become more efficient and accessible as the world has changed, and savvy networkers have adjusted with these career tips.
- Leverage your LinkedIn network to stay on top of industry knowledge and take note of who’s talking about what. Thoughtfully send connection requests to people whose careers align with your goals.
- Replace the coffee date with a half hour video call. Remember, just because the world has changed doesn’t mean the human desire to make real connections has gone anywhere!
- Scan networking websites like Meetup to find like-minded professionals in your area who are eager to connect and discuss their work.
- Take on mentorship and seek mentors. A good mentor will ultimately help you better understand what makes a great leader in your industry. Conversely, being a mentor allows you to test your knowledge and exercise leadership skills. It also looks great on your résumé!
5. Map Your Long-Term Goals
Where would you like to be in 10 years? Five years? One year? Goals are not destinies written in stone but knowing which direction you’d like to be going toward a successful career can help light the way.
For each length of time, imagine your dream career destination. Then, create a map moving backwards with each of the steps it would take to get there until you’ve reached where you currently are.
It’s good to revisit your goals at regular intervals as you make progress, and your direction matures. Set quarterly reminders for yourself in your calendar to take an hour to update your career maps and review your own career tips.
6. Plan Your Days
Knowing your long-term goals is important, but so too are your short-term goals and to-dos. Career tip number six is to not let disorganized mornings lead to disorganized days. Begin each day by writing your pending tasks and prioritize them.
Overwhelmed by too much to do? Break it down. Start with projects and break them into tasks. If the list items still feel too big, list out the step-by-step micro-tasks that will carry you to completion. When it’s time to prioritize, rank projects and levels of completion by due dates.
As you check away your to-dos, this will keep you on track. Check-lists not only help to create direction for our days, they scientifically make us feel good as we work toward a successful career. With each small task you cross off, you boost your mood with a flood of dopamine, the reward brain chemical.
7. Invest in Your Wellness
Just as we take steps to protect our physical bodies from illness, engaging a holistic approach to wellness is a career tip that protects our minds as well. It will come as no surprise that when you are not feeling your best, both physically and mentally, you aren’t able to achieve as much. Perhaps counterintuitively to being your most productive self, rest, rejuvenation, and time away from your work are mandatory parts of the formula. These wellness tips double as career tips.
- Sleep a full seven to nine hours a night to restore your body and mind. The brain processes information in a deep and qualitative way when we sleep. For those who work in information dense industries this is especially crucial rejuvenation time.
- Move your body daily. We think better after even gentle exercise, with a clearer mind, boosted mood and decreased anxiety. We’re able to work with much greater ease and efficiency when we’re able to face a busy day and mountain of tasks with a level head.
- Eat a balanced diet and stay hydrated. The laws of the universe dictate that the body does not spontaneously create energy, and we must fuel ourselves. A balanced diet with lots of water intake will keep your blood sugar balanced and your feeling level throughout the day as a result.
- Practice mindfulness through meditation or other exercises to maintain productivity. Exercising your brain’s ability to remain focused on the present moment makes it easier to complete tasks without worrying about the past or future.
While 2020 has been a huge challenge for everyone across the world, this should not deter you for planning and preparing for a brighter new year. And investing in your career is always a wise move. To learn more about how you can advance your career, check out Simplilearn’s vast array of online bootcamps that will help you gain the latest skills and knowledge to move your career in the direction you want.