Working from Home During COVID-19? 5 Ways to Advance Your Career Goals

by Sharon Elber

Advance Career from Home

Many people are now working from home thanks to the Coronavirus outbreak. This article explores 5 ways to use this time to not only stay focused and motivated with your work, but also to potentially increase your career prospects.

#1: Update Your Resume

When is the last time that you really sat down to update your resume? Now that you have a little bit more time on your hands, it’s a good opportunity to freshen up this important career document. Even if you are not planning to enter a job search any time soon, getting the details up to date on your resume will save you valuable time and stress later if an opportunity to advance shows up unexpectedly in the future.

Here are a few tips to consider when refreshing your resume while staying home during coronavirus:

Try Out Professionally Designed Modern Resume Templates

If it has been more than a few years since you last updated your resume, now is the time to check out some professionally designed resume templates that allow you to plug and play to create the kind of modern looking resume that is sure to get noticed.

Update the Details

Sitting down to update your resume may be tedious, but what better time to do it than now? While giving it the once over, be sure to freshen up these details:

  • Job titles
  • Work responsibilities
  • Education and certifications
  • Technical skills
  • Soft skills
  • Software, hardware, or tool proficiencies

Give Your Reference List a Once-Over

One of the important credentials to leverage when aiming for a promotion or a new job in your career are your professional references. If you have new references that can speak to your recent professional work ethic, skills, and productivity, then take the time now to update your reference list. For every person on your reference list, include the following details:

  • Full name
  • Job title
  • Relationship to you (supervisor, coworker, etc.)
  • Contact information, including phone and email

#2: Advance Your Skills

Taking advantage of your time at home to advance your skillset is another way to keep from going stir-crazy while also advancing your career. Luckily, the internet provides a host of ways to advance your knowledge base. Here are a few ideas to inspire you:

Online College Courses

Many colleges and universities now offer distance and online classes that can be completed entirely from home. Now may be the time to take an online class to update your skill with a specific technology or even sign up for a new degree program or certification.

  • Coursera – Offers free online classes from accredited universities. Some are classes you can complete in a single day!
  • Udemy – Offers a wide range of targeted skills-based courses specializing in business and information technology.
  • Online Degree Programs – If you are wanting to invest your time into a college degree, hundreds of accredited online colleges, and perhaps even your local community college, offer programs to suit every employment sector and career path.

Certification Programs

With the use of technology on the rise in most vocations, the importance of technology certification programs towards career advancement cannot be understated. Do some searching to find certification programs for technologies related to your career ambitions. In fact, if you find a program related to your current work, your employer may be willing to cover the cost of the program. Here are a few examples:

  • Microsoft Certification Programs – For people who work in administrative roles, web development, finance, data management and other software driven fields, Microsoft offers specialized programs that will make a nice addition to your resume.
  • Online Trade Certification Programs – If you happen to work in one of the trades, you may find online training programs that will allow you to advance your career by picking up new certifications while studying from home.

Teach Yourself

Although it does not come with a certificate or degree, sometimes self-directed learning is still a great way to pick up skills that can advance your career. These days, sites such as YouTube offer a wide range of tutorials and even classes that can help you learn a new program or improve your skillset with an application that you are already using at work.

#3: Take on Additional Responsibilities at Work

With people taking more down time due to illness, you may have an opportunity to take on new responsibilities at work. If you find that you have extra time to take on some more work from home during the coronavirus outbreak, then let your supervisor know that you are willing to take on some additional responsibilities.

Before you take on new roles, be sure that they fit your career advancement objectives, including:

  • job responsibilities that will add to your resume rather than duplicate work you are already doing or have done before;
  • roles that demonstrate higher levels of skill or leadership than your current work does; or
  • opportunities that give you a chance to engage in work that is more aligned with your career passions and/or talents.

#4: Boost Your Online Professional Networking Activity

Following advice from health officials to maintain social distancing and stay home can be an isolating experience. Many people are taking advantage of online opportunities to reconnect with professional colleagues on professional networking platforms such as LinkedIn.

Sure, as a career professional, networking should be part of your regular routine, but if you have been missing out on this vital aspect of growing your professional network, now is a great time to catch up on what is new in your field, meet other professionals in your sector, and connect with the movers and shakers in your profession.

#5: Add a Healthy Habit

Finally, although it may seem unrelated to your career, healthy habits can increase your productivity, improve your ability to function under pressure, and allow you to stay clear and focused. An additional benefit of building a healthy habit while staying home during the COVID-19 pandemic is that it may help you manage the stress of being confined and watching unsettling world events.

Here are a few ideas on healthy habits worth considering in these stressful times:

  • Mindfulness – Meditation, sensory grounding, yoga, and breathing exercises designed to bring the mind and body into the present have been shown to reduce stress and increase mental focus and sense of wellbeing. Many mobile apps are designed to help teach beginners ways to build mindfulness into everyday activities in under 5 minutes.
  • Exercise – You may not be able to maintain your normal exercise routine, especially if you are used to using public facilities such as gyms. However, it is important to find ways to keep up your daily movement to reduce stress hormones such as cortisol and increase feel-good hormones such as oxytocin. If you have been slacking in the movement department, adding a new exercise habit now may even boost your productivity once you are back to work.
  • Healthy Food Routines – If you have been getting in the habit of eating a lot of fast food, take-out, and junk food throughout your busy workday, then perhaps staying home during the coronavirus outbreak offers an opportunity to create some new healthy food habits. Look for ways to add healthy foods to your diet that may translate to better eating once things are back to normal.

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