Remote work certainly has its perks, but for many of us, it also has its challenges. In this blog series, we’ll focus on the home office, discussing ways to adapt and conquer—both as an employer and an employee. This is post 20 of the series. You can follow the rest of the series and read our past posts here.
The days feel ongoing and repetitive. Working and leisure time appear to blend together because the scenery stays the same. All this bodes the question, what is free time and what should I do with it? As good as relaxing is for your mental state, so is being productive. That satisfying mood of contentment after getting work done or accomplishing a task is second to none. And with all the free time that our current state of affairs has inadvertently given us, best to take advantage and do something that will advance your professional capabilities. Here are a few things to help fill the free time while helping to boost your resume.
Take free courses / join networking events
It’s never too late to learn new things and make new friends. Online courses of all varieties are plentiful across the internet for you to indulge in whenever you please. Whether you want to take them for personal or professional growth, the courses can help solidify your specific talents or open your eyes to new ones that might be helpful in moving forward. If you’re thinking of making a career change, in the midst of this global crisis, taking a few courses to help lead you in the right direction is always helpful. Not to mention, doing it from the comfort of your own home eases any anxieties you might’ve had if you were required to physically attend.
The same goes for networking events. Meetings/conferences might have slowed down, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t existent. Networking events via Zoom, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, and other video sharing programs are still happening and are a good way to talk to like-minded folks about career opportunities, goals, and connections. It’s a lot different than standing around a conference with a nametag, but you can come and go as you please with the ease of a click.
Shape your skillset and add a few more
COVID-19 did an excellent job of exposing some flaws in the way we currently go about our daily business. What works in an office setting might not be as effective in a time when working from home is what our foreseeable future entails. For those who have adapted well even when their company may have initially stumbled, highlight that. There’s a good possibility that your specific skill set is in high demand with a company that you would’ve never thought could benefit from your professional expertise. Craft your resume (even if it’s making an entirely separate one) around how you’ve professionally been thriving and efficiently working in your current situation. And if you have the spare time, try and learn a few more skills that you know will be in high demand once things get somewhat back to normal, like coding or social media navigation. If there’s one thing employers want to be sure of moving forward is that they’re not blindsided by another worldwide event that will put them at a disadvantage in their respective industry.
If you’re in Human Resources, get an HR certification. If you’re in Accounting, start studying for your CPA. The list goes on. The assumption to be made is that if you’re already in one of these fields, you’ve either contemplated, are working to, or have obtained one of those field-specific credentials. However, it’s the certifications that transcend industries that you should be looking at acquiring. Why not try your hand at getting Microsoft Office certified? A definite resume booster, being an expert in a universally used program like Microsoft Office will only help your resume stand out against the rest, especially if your team has a weak spot when it comes to Excel. Whichever way you decide to go, make sure that your new certification/credentials solidify your current skill set or broaden it.
Learning a new language
Easier said than done, right? Being bilingual went from being an add-on talent to your resume to being a game-changer for any professional in the job searching process. To be able to read and/or speak a different language gives you an edge against a person you’re competing for a job with, even if your resumes look almost exactly identical. During this time when we’re all sheltering in place, brushing up on a language that you once studied growing up in school or remembering you have forgotten over time since childhood is not only a great way to spend your time, but also stimulate your mind and keep it fresh. The goal isn’t to be fluent by the time this all passes (although if you can pull that off, all the power to you); but if you can manage to read your language of choice, you’re that much better off. They do say English is the most difficult language to learn in the world, so take solace in knowing you’ve already mastered that mountain.