Coronavirus (COVID-19): How to utilise this time for your own development
With many of us adapting to this dynamic new recruitment market, wary professionals are taking an even more considered approach to making a career move. Our consultant Daniel Diamond discusses what you can do to utilise this time for your own professional development.
Curb Your Enthusiasm. What a TV show! Thirty-minute episodes of pure comedy genius written by Larry David capturing the frustrations and nuances of interacting with others in society. Except, we can’t interact with each other at all right now. We’ve all been away from the office for two weeks and Curb Your Enthusiasm has been the guilty pleasure that’s kept me sane. Whilst it’s easy to turn to Netflix, Prime and Sky as obvious distractions, in this article I’ll set out how we can use the following (insert fearful prediction from Twitter) months for our development and to actively benefit our careers.
In truth, we can only control things over which we have control. The recruitment market is not so binary that everyone was recruiting two weeks ago and now isn’t. Certain areas are buoyant, others remain active. If you are considering your next move, you should still be thinking about a way to achieve it. What does your online brand say about you? Am I known to key recruiters in my space? What can I do to put myself in the best possible position to secure my job? Usually we don’t have enough time to think about these things. Now we have all the time in the world.
Here are 5 tips from SSQ on how to utilise this time effectively:
- Positive mindset
Whether we’re looking after a puppy, home-schooling a child or merely convincing ourselves to get out of bed before 9am, a positive mindset is key. It has huge physical and mental benefits and significantly impacts on our efficiency and the way we work. It may sound like an obvious place to start but this is a time for introspection; to look at our careers and reassess what we’re looking for and how we can get there. We suddenly don’t have our colleagues around us praising us for that deal we just worked on but instead have to lift ourselves. We also need to bring that self-motivation into our job search. The market won’t stand still, careers will move forward and we should too. Use this time as much as possible to read articles, network with the key recruiters in your field (*SSQ, hint*) and set yourself up to succeed.
- Build your brand
LinkedIn has 15 times more content impressions than job postings. It has transitioned from being “just” a recruitment platform to also being a professional network where we go to educate and inform ourselves. With over 30 million companies on LinkedIn, it’s the place we go to make an impression.
Now is a great time to focus on improving our CV or LinkedIn branding. It says everything about who we are as lawyers, and partners and HR teams are increasingly turning to the network to research candidates ahead of interviews. This is the time to be known in this market and social media is at the forefront of achieving it. For some this will come naturally but for others it’s a challenge. It is vitally important we market ourselves in the right way and use a recruiter that both backs us and is able to support us with advice in terms of how to improve our online presence.
- Remote Interviews – Practise, practise, practise
Make eye contact. Shake hands but not too firmly. Now we have Zoom and Microsoft Teams, none of that matters right now. However, remote interviewing still takes practice and preparation is key. Whether we’re interviewing for a role now or considering looking for new opportunities in the future, now is the time to practise and master remote interviews.
A few hints and tips…
- Practise video calls with people you’re use to talking to in real life or ask a consultant at SSQ to carry out a mock interview with you.
- Dress for an interview. Most of us have access to wardrobes, if nothing else.
- Be somewhere quiet. If there are children in another room, let the interviewers know this at the start. Expectations are different right now and people are understanding of this.
- Adapt preparation plans. Suddenly we can have notes and should capitalise on this as an opportunity to portray ourselves in a more measured way.
- Network, network, network
We’re all in the same boat. We’re all starting emails with “I hope you’re coping okay at home” and “how was your daily walk?” so now is a good time to reach out to contacts we’ve not spoken to for some time or even business develop new contacts. Social distancing doesn’t mean distancing yourself virtually too. It’s not a sales call but a goodwill call to check in and see how they’re doing (and where they’re walking). When the market picks up, it’s the clients that we’ve reached out to in times of difficulty that will remember us most. Be the lawyer whostands out from the crowd.
- Focus on your long term goals
Have you ever harboured hopes of being a sports lawyer? Or perhaps of making a move in-house? There are countless podcasts, online courses and articles which can enrich our knowledge of industries we’ve previously seen as unobtainable. With some occasional downtime between filing deadlines, we can take the time to immerse ourselves in something that will improve our awareness of our industry or a sector we’re hoping to break into. If you need any suggestions, just drop me a message and I’ll happily suggest some ideas.
Whilst it’s clear that challenges lie ahead, what is certain is that we can see this as an opportunity to develop our skills, understanding and awareness, refocusing our attention on where we want to take our careers both online and offline. It’s easy to be complacent and think that the job market will simply stand still and wait for us but in truth, we create opportunities for ourselves and with time on our side, what better chance to use our time to stand out and set ourselves up for success.
If nothing else, watch Curb Your Enthusiasm and I’d love to hear about your favourite episode!