Give your Job Prospects a Lockdown Leg-up
If you’re starting to go a little strange in lockdown (and who isn’t?) there’s a cure for that: give yourself a meaningful project to focus on. Use this time to boost your career prospects. If you follow these tips, you can build yourself a better future right now from the comfort of your sofa.
What really makes you stand out to recruiters?
Update your LinkedIn profile
When a recruiter picks your CV out of a pile, the first thing they’re likely to do is google you. Hopefully, the first thing they’ll land on is your LinkedIn, not your Facebook or your Doctor Who fanfic. Here’s what they’ll be looking for.
- A professional photo. No photo says you’re unwilling to be open or can’t be bothered. A photo with a glass in hand or with family, friends, or pets says ‘unprofessional’ (even if Fluffy has now become your favourite colleague).
- Your job titles – have you added your achievements? Don’t just list projects, mention the difference you made and the results you achieved.
- Your qualifications. Do they relate to the interests and expertise your CV claims you have?
- Membership of professional bodies. Again, if you’re claiming to be an expert in something, you might want to join a professional body to prove it.
- How current your qualifications and memberships are. If you haven’t invested in your personal development in the last five years, that’s an alarm bell.
- How you share your expertise. It’s easy to use LinkedIn to publish blog posts on your interests and share helpful tips and techniques via the groups.
How to make the most of your lockdown
First, whether you’re employed, furloughed, or jobseeking, set yourself some working hours – and some non-working hours, so you don’t stew in a constant state of guilty ‘should-be-working’.
Next, if you have a job, take the time to create some presentation materials, checklists, or prompt sheets for your work. Prompt sheets are a simple but very powerful productivity tool. Just think of a task you do regularly and write out every step in order. This gives you a template so you can speed through work on train tracks without getting distracted or forgetting anything.
It’s well worth investing this time now, because when lockdown ends, businesses will be in frantic recovery mode and you’re likely to have a lot on your plate.
This is also a great time to read books on your line of work, or even better, to study for a new professional qualification. While you can learn a lot from books, you can’t attach your reading list to your CV. An up-to-date qualification will back up all those claims you make on your LinkedIn profile.