Approaching Work and professional development in COVID times

The world has witnessed a major turn of events in the last year. COVID has hit us hard, personally, economically, and emotionally, each one of us is impacted in some way.

Given the nature of my job, I work with job seekers from all industries, experience level and educational background so I have closely witnessed the uncertainty at the client’s end, offers withdrawn in the last stages, candidates refusing to make a switch in times like these, all caused due to economic slowdown since the last year.

CTV News Canada quoted approx. 5.5 million job losses nationally last year 2020, including 2.5 million workers who suffered reduced work hours or absence from work due to COVID. While these numbers are concerning, it made things even more difficult for graduating students in 2020-2021 who struggled to secure even part time survival jobs. I have met (yes virtually) and have spoken to many new grads in recent months in my effort to help them in their job search and placement journey.

Also, since we are talking about Canadian market, it’s imperative to mention skilled immigrants that make an important part of Canadian workforce. Pandemic faded the hopes for a better future for many. Since we have been hit by another wave of coronavirus, 2021 also doesn’t look much different but does that mean there are no options?

While we might have not fully recovered, there is definitely some improvements and I can say this as I have seen people returning to work (post temporary layoff), employers introducing new positions and reopening roles cancelled in the last few months, many LinkedIn statuses changing from “open to work” to “starting new position”

For anyone looking for that next opportunity, there are some, easily available resources to help

Skill enhancement, certification and license – Most of the professionals I know invested last year to earn professional designations – PMP, CPA, CHRP/CHRL, just to name  a few,  to better align themselves to their career goals.  With ample of resources and online tools available, this was best use of time saved on commutes (for all of us working remote) and more time at hands (for those out of work, unfortunately). The trend continues this year as teams got smaller, employees took more responsibilities and realized their potential for growth and progression.

LinkedIn – Ever since LinkedIn introduced – skill assessment, Resume Builder and Interview preparation featuresin 2019, it has probably been best and most used since last year. Everyone spending time of LinkedIn for job search or learning would appreciate these free, easy to use and helpful feature that is helping premium and non-premium users alike. If you pass an assessment and display a badge, recruiters can identify you and LinkedIn also starts shared the new job posting relevant to your skills based on the assessment you take and display.

LinkedIn generated resume is not the best you can have but I admit that it is a convenient way to convert your LinkedIn profile to a professional looking resume within minutes. I had a candidate last week proudly sharing her resume built via LinkedIn for a job we were discussing.

LinkedIn Learning, Udemy, Coursera and many more online platforms offered free and affordable online learning hours and access to endless technical , business and soft skills programmes, benefiting countless professionals and new grads.

Network and References – People areno more shy to reach out to their LinkedIn and personal network for work. Like never before, last year has seen many people openly posting about layoff on LinkedIn and other social channels, asking for recommendations, references and gathering massive response, possible help, and support. Executive and HR professionals are coaching and connecting job seekers to hiring channels, helping them sail through disruptive times. In personal experience, my team was able to fill over 30 support and contact centre positions through Facebook groups last year.  

 Entrepreneurship avenues – As COVID impacted normal course of lives and work, it created scope for new, web-based way of living. Shopping, groceries, food and even healthcare turned to online platforms giving way to many new start-ups and businesses. I know a friend who started food take-out services after losing his job to COVID last year. Another friend who, few months into job loss started handmade household décor business and is selling online also taking corporate gift orders. For those open to a fresh start and there’s a world of opportunities.

Like they say- When the doors begin to close, the mind begins to open.  All we need is  Patience, Perseverance and Plan to reach our goals, may be newer and unfamiliar ones this time.

Good Luck 🙂

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