We are now well into the second week of our national Lockdown here in South Africa. And although all signs seem to indicate that the spread of the COVID-19 virus is slowing, we still have a long way to go. Many people have used this time to catch up on a few Netflix series, but others have been using this time productively to further their careers.
You might be wondering what can you possibly do during a national Lockdown that will benefit your career. Well, there are actually a number of extremely productive activities available that can all be done from the comfort of your little “Lockdown Palace,” or as I like to call it, home. Check out these 5 simple ideas to boost your career while on lockdown.
Things to do during Lockdown that will benefit your career.
If you are professionally-minded and unable to work during this Lockdown then you might be going slightly crazy from the boredom at the moment. Well fortunately for you there are a number of productive activities you can do from the comfort of your home that will benefit your career then this is all over. Let’s have a look at my top 5 recommended activities to boost your career while self-isolating.
1) Upskill yourself.
It does not matter if you are a job seeker or happily employed, as a general rule you should constantly be upskilling. You should do this either to keep up with your industry trends or just to add a new skill set to your name. Employers love staff members who are motivated and passionate enough to take the initiative to better themselves.
I think many people are put off from upskilling activities because work often gets in the way. However, if you are not working through this period then now might be the perfect opportunity to upskill. I recently wrote an article on upskilling for free during the South African Lockdown, and identified 7 free websites that offer free online courses. Check it out and get started today.
2) Updating your CV
If you have been happily employed for a number of years there is a good chance that you have let your CV become outdated. This quiet time might be the perfect opportunity to get your CV up to date, even if you are not considering looking for a new job. I always recommend that employees keep their CV up to date.
If you already have an existing CV design that you are happy with then you just need to add your current projects and successes to the current design. However, if you are going to use the time to completely redesign your CV then have a look at these fantastic services that you can use to update your CV.
3) Networking / Building a network
Most people think of networking as a very social activity, and the idea that we can network during a National Lockdown comes as quite a surprise to many people. But the truth is that thanks to the internet you are actually connected to more people then you think.
There are many ways we can use this opportunity to Network.
One of the easiest is to reconnect to people that you may have lost touch with. We all have a few numbers on our mobile phone, email addresses and Facebook friends that we have contact to but do not contact. Now might be the time to pop these contacts a simple Whatsapp, Email or Facebook message, who knows what opportunities might come up. As a disclaimer here I am suggesting that you contact professionals from your past, not your Ex fling that you still think about on quiet weekends.
LinkedIn is another great networking website. If you do not already have a LinkedIn account now might be the time to open one up and start making connections in your industry.
4) Applying for jobs. (If you are looking)
If you were looking for a job, or you are considering looking at the end of the Lockdown why not start applying now. I will start by telling you that there are significantly fewer jobs being advertised at the moment, however, if you have the time, why not check a few job boards on a daily basis.
You need to remember that companies are going to be under extreme pressure to catch up on this lost time when the Lockdown finally ends, and many employers do not want to waste time conducting interviews when it is going to be full steam ahead. For this reason, I have seen a number of job vacancies being advertised with the start date listed as “At the end of Lockdown.”
If you see a job that interests you why not go for it. Just remember to be wary of Job Scams, the scammers are still very much at work.
5) Perform a Social Media Spring Clean
Most employers are going to check your Social Media accounts when making a hiring decision. However even if you are not looking for a new job I highly recommend that you constantly maintain a clean online presence, and if this is something that you have neglected now is the perfect time to clean up.
To get started I recommend you do the following;
Google you name: just to see what comes up. If you do not find anything add your school and home town to the search to get more specific results. Do this for both a web search and an image search.
Private settings: If you are keen on privacy you can adjust your privacy settings on your social media accounts so that only friends can see your posts and photos.
Delete embarrassing posts: Even if you go private I suggest that you scroll through your entire timeline searching for embarrassing posts. Yes, this is time-consuming and you might think what’s the point if I have the privacy settings enabled. Well, firstly we all have Facebook “Friends” that we do not know very well and these people are able to access and even download images from your profile. And secondly, you never know when you will get a friend request from your new manager or employer, it is not easy to ignore these requests, and if your profile is clean and professional you will make a great impression.
Use a professional profile picture: I tell people constantly that you are representing brand YOU on a daily basis. Your social media should not be used just to impress your buddies with photos from last night’s party. Rather use it to promote your own brand! Start by making sure that your profile picture is of good quality and professional.
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