How to Develop a Post-Pandemic Career Strategy

In January this year I was speaking with a colleague in Singapore on how important it was for people to develop a career strategy because this was the decade when many jobs would either be outsourced or automated. Little did we realise that less than 6 months later we would be in the middle of a coronavirus pandemic that has caused 1 million people to lose their jobs in Australia and many more working part-time or employed through a government subsidy.

By Geoff Whytcross, Career Coach

As Australia comes out of this pandemic, many jobs will disappear for good and there are predictions of an unemployment rate of up to 15%. What are the industries that are going to thrive, what are the industries that will shrink and what are the industries that will disappear forever?

How can you make sure that you will be at the front of the job queue if your current role is made redundant? What are the steps that you can take to ensure that you have “career agility” and a strategy for your career?

Are you using yesterday’s job search methodology to find today’s new role? Will your new career be a full-time role, a part-time role or a portfolio career?

It is important to remember that your career is your most valuable asset, it will pay you a monthly dividend throughout your entire career. The more successful your career, the bigger the monthly dividend. Up until this pandemic, most people put more effort into planning their next holiday than they did into planning their career.

Now is the time to plan. Here are a few steps I recommend clients take when doing so:

Goals + Skills Assessment

When you sit down to develop a career strategy you might like to ask yourself a few questions:

  • What would I like to be doing in 5-8 years’ time?
  • What are the steps that I need to take to achieve this goal?
  • Will it require you to do 1-2 roles before you can achieve your career goal?
  • Do you need to complete some additional study?

It is then important to evaluate your functional skills and domain knowledge. Functional skills are the skills specific to your current and previous jobs, and domain knowledge is the knowledge that is unique to the industry or industries that you have worked in.

Your next task is to understand how you can use your functional skills and domain knowledge to move towards your career goal.

If you are wanting to move to a new role in a similar industry with a competitor company, you need to develop a CV that highlights your experience, industry knowledge and achievements before setting off on your journey.

If you are looking to pivot your career into a different industry, you will need to summarise your functional skills and domain knowledge and explain how you can use these skills and domain knowledge in the industry that you are targeting.

There are many industries that will shrink or may disappear post the pandemic such as airlines, department stores and the hospitality industry. If you are a Senior Flight Attendant, a buyer in a department store or a Resort Manager, you will need to list your functional skills and domain knowledge and understand how you can use these assets to pivot into a growth industry.

Networking Beyond LinkedIn

Your next task is to understand what are going to be the growth industries and how do you network yourself to be in front of the Hiring Managers. 70% of all job are gained through networking or “word of mouth”, so how can you use your network to assist you to find that new job. It is important to update your LinkedIn profile, add as many contacts as possible, reach out, don’t be afraid to ask your contacts about job opportunities and network, network and network.

If you just rely on job advertisements on Seek.com, LinkedIn or other job websites or even a company’s website, you will be involved in “seagull” job searching. Every time a job is advertised there will be a minimum of 50 applicants, in a recession there will be many more, and it is like a flock of seagulls fighting over a chip at Bondi Beach. Only one applicant will be happy, that is the successful applicant, the balance of the applicants will be disappointed just like the seagulls who missed out on the chip.

Relying on job advertisements for your next role is a reactive way at managing your career. It is very “last century”, you need to take a proactive approach to your career.

Prepare For The Interview

Make sure you know the name or names of the people who you will be meeting, review their profiles on LinkedIn, review the company’s website, have a look at Glassdoor to see what current and former employees say about the company.

Prepare for the questions that you think that you might be asked, there is really only approximately 20 questions or variations of these questions that you will be asked in an initial interview, so prepare your answers. Also prepare a list of questions that you would like to ask; some will be generic questions, some questions will be specific to the company or the role that you are being interviewed for and some questions will be directed to the people who are interviewing you. If you don’t have a list of questions to ask, you will not look as though you have prepared for the interview.

An important part of interviewing for a new role is to decide whether the company’s culture is the right cultural “fit” for you. Companies hire on skills and experience; employees leave because of company culture.

Remember the best candidate doesn’t always get the job, it is often the best-prepared candidate who is successful.

Good luck with your job search, it is going to be a tough job market for the next 2-3 years so make sure that you plan your career strategy to put you at the front of the job queue!

Geoff Whytcross has had 35 years’ experience in the human resources field that has focused on Executive Recruitment and Executive Search in the retail and consumer facing industries. With a Masters in Science majoring in Coaching Psychology from the University of Sydney, he now focuses Career Coaching. Visit www.geoffwhytcrossconsulting.com.au

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