Introduction: How COVID-19 Pandemic Impacted All Areas of Professional Growth
It is an undeniable fact that the pandemic had a systemic effect on all areas of professional growth and the job market. In some fields, the pandemic has created career opportunities for many people. The need for medical professionals, engineers, and other skilled workers skyrocketed during this time. It was not uncommon to see people who were unemployed or underemployed having their skills used in these fields.
However, due to the restrictions on social movement, many businesses were forced to close their doors. This resulted in job losses and the stalling of career growth on a massive scale. According to an OECD Policy Responses to COVID-19 study, the volume of job postings with the criteria of work from home arrangements increased by 100% in Canada and 64% in Australia. However, in the United States, job openings dropped by 70% in July 2020. The study also observed a weak recovery, concluding that many employers were postponing their hiring processes in such a volatile environment.
That being said, there’s a growing number of new opportunities. For those who are still looking for a job or want to change careers, now may be the perfect time to take a look at what's out there. There are many career opportunities for people to capitalize on their skillset
across industries. For instance, teachers who had to adapt to a new online mode of teaching are considering providing online coaching services. They are developing digital courses to leverage their newfound skills. This article will give you some tips on how to continue with your professional career development despite the pandemic’s impact.
Researching and Identifying New Career Opportunities
A study by the McKinsey Global Institute predicted that 14% of the global workforce, or over 375 million workers, will need to acquire new skills or change occupations by 2030, owing to automation and the development of artificial intelligence. The pandemic has only exacerbated this situation further. To understand how to overcome it, it is essential to take the most explicit disruption of work life into consideration, i.e., remote work.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic forced companies to adopt remote work, there are signs that this working set-up is here to stay. Many organizations are now building their hiring, employee, and HRM policies around it. Even before the crisis, several sectors witnessed a growing location-agnostic workforce. This required developing training and development programs to accommodate the challenges of working remotely.
These industries are now in the middle of transitioning to a permanent remote working arrangement.
Identifying new career growth opportunities means understanding what companies are really looking for. You must develop a career plan that showcases your adaptability and remote-ready attitude. As job responsibilities become varied, soft skills like communication, social adaptability, cognitive abilities, and the like will take precedence over skills that are trainable on the job.
Top Skills to Cultivate With Consistent Training and Development
Learning from home, like working from home, is another consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the many restrictions that were enforced to contain it. With e-learning platforms providing numerous opportunities, the increased focus on training and development is self-evident. Learning a new skill,
developing your current skillset, and acquiring some indispensable capabilities will help you stand out in the current job market. So, what skills should you start cultivating?
Communication skills are crucial in any job and will be even more so in the post-pandemic era where work is done remotely. Physical workplaces have always been a hotbed for some of the best collaboration and communication. Improving your communication skills will put you at the front and center of career opportunities. Actively reaching out to people and making it a habit to respond quickly are just some ways to make workplace communication effective.Learn how to enhance your people skills here.
Critical thinking skills
Quick and analytical thinking is essential for senior leaders. With the pandemic, organizations are increasingly looking for employees who can bring this skill to the table. With the business landscape changing rapidly, sometimes overnight, critical thinking will be in high demand. According to an Indeed career coach, you can improve critical thinking by working on six aspects: improving self-awareness, understanding your thinking process, learning to think long-term, listening more actively, asking lots of questions and evaluating evidence. The next time you are challenged at work, remember to adopt these aspects in your problem-solving process.
Leadership has no single definition. While some people believe that leadership is the act of influencing others into action, others may associate it with confidence, charisma, high levels of emotional intelligence, competence, and the ability to assess situations and make decisions quickly. Whatever your definition of leadership, it is a necessary component of a successful future. Whether you want to lead a team or manage a group during a project, these skills will come in handy.
“With organizations able to hire from pretty much anywhere in the world – if they want to – the talent pool for many small (and large) companies has opened up massively, which is great news, especially when you consider how desperate the industry is for more skilled tech professionals.”
- Nabila Salem, President of Revolent Group
In addition to these soft skills, leveraging your social network is going to be an essential factor in helping you boost your career growth.
The Importance of Your Network and LinkedIn
Networking is vital to career success. It is how we meet new people and learn about opportunities that are not accessible every day. It can be done both in person and online. A HubSpot study reveals that almost 85% of job postings are filled or applied for via networking and personal contacts.
One great thing about networking is that it can be done both in person and online.
“When we create a positive experience that fosters connection and builds trust, we increase the probability of a future business transaction.”
- Carrie Missele, Director at Inspirant Group
While some people prefer to network in person, you can now use social media or networking sites like LinkedIn to build your professional circle. Regardless of how you choose to network, it is important to maintain a positive attitude and a willingness to help and receive help from others.
LinkedIn is the world's largest professional network, with over 500 million members in over 200 countries and territories. With more than 20 billion connections, it's easy to see why it has become the go-to place for job seekers and employers alike. According to CNBC, almost 70% of jobs never get published, making it imperative to build personal connections to be able to access some of the best career opportunities in your field.
Conclusion: Getting Ready for Rapid Career Growth in 2022
It is never too soon or too late to think about your career and professional development. Whether you’re at the beginning of your career or a seasoned professional looking to switch, it's important to plan. With the COVID-19 pandemic throwing a mixed bag of challenges at professionals worldwide, your career growth will depend on how well you’re able to identify long-term opportunities that move in parallel with the changing dynamic of the business landscape.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I hire a career coach to train me?
You may want to consider hiring a coach if you have been working in your field for a few years and are not seeing any career and professional development.
What are some strategies for success in my career?
One of the most effective strategies to use is to find a mentor in your field of work. They will not only guide you but will also assist you in making connections and identifying opportunities that you would have missed otherwise.
How do I find a mentor?
A mentor can be found in many places, which can include your co-workers, managers within your industry or through coaching services. Mentoring relationships can be formal or informal, and it is often best to start with a person you know.