The pandemic has impacted so many facets of people’s lives, including their careers. From the workplace shutdowns to the challenge of working from home to the inevitable burnout, it’s been a wild and crazy ride.
But now, even with coronavirus variants in play, the economy is shifting toward recovery. Employees are being called back to the workplace, while others have found their new normal working from home. The catch? Even though it may seem like things are slowly returning to some sense of normalcy, it’s likely your career wants, needs and desires have changed since the pandemic began. The good news: It’s time to make your move.
“This is an incredibly employee-friendly job market — meaning the power balance has swung from the employer to the worker,” said Alexander Lowry, executive director of Gordon College’s Career and Connection Institute. “So it’s a great time for top performers to make their case for why they need whatever it might be, such as the ability to work remotely, a raise, a promotion, etc. Businesses cannot afford to lose their top talent in this environment.”
Don’t stay stuck. Here are 10 career moves to make right now.
Make a Career Switch
Vicki Salemi, Monster career expert, advises that if you’re seeking to make a career change in a shifting economy, you should begin with the end in mind.
“Start looking at job descriptions in different roles to advance your career,” she said. “Identify what you’re currently missing and upskill yourself to fill those gaps by taking a class, pursuing a certification, etc. Definitely look at competitors’ job postings and start applying to jobs. When I worked in recruiting, some of the most valuable candidates worked for competitors. They were valuable because they not only brought tremendous insight, they also had very little ramp-up time. The cultures were so similar and the skill sets were usually spot on so it’s one of the best ways to advance your career as well as boost your pay! In addition, they often brought their colleagues with them. Once their foot got in the door with us and they enjoyed working for their new employer, they were able to bring over former colleagues who were also the right fit.”
Define What Success Means To You
Before you make a career switch, however, you may want to do some soul-searching. “Too often, I’ve seen professionals chase opportunities that seem good on paper — more money, more status, etc. — without asking themselves whether what the new opportunity offers is something they really want,” said Darcy Eikenberg, a leadership and career coach, speaker and author who owns Red Cape Revolution. “For example, I worked with an SVP of marketing who was offered the Chief Marketing Officer job at a competitor. Everyone in her personal network told her it was a dream job, but something kept stopping her. Through our coaching conversations, she realized it was a dream job –but just not her dream. She got clear on what she really wanted from her career, and made small but significant shifts right where she was to get more of what was important to her. It’s easy to succumb to the noise about what a successful career should be, but the only measure that counts is yours.”
Ask For a Raise
“If you’re asking for a raise, first get really clear on what you’re bringing to the table,” said Sofi career expert Ashley Stahl. “A manager will want to see the ROI of promoting you or giving you a raise, so be prepared to share it. Next, set up a meeting to discuss this specific topic. One of the biggest mistakes people make when asking for a raise or a promotion is to treat the meeting casually, like dropping the request at the end of a video call or stopping by someone’s desk. Instead, if you treat your career seriously, your manager will do the same. Consider approaching it as a growth conversation, and request an official meeting to talk about the progress you’ve made and the goals you’ve reached so far. You could also position this as a meeting to discuss what’s possible for the year ahead. Twenty-four hours prior to the meeting, send your manager an outline including the achievements you’ve made so far (i.e. new initiatives that have been helpful, 90% client retention rate, etc.), and the projects you’d like to discuss for the year ahead.”
Take Learning Into Your Own Hands
“While your career trajectory plans may be on pause for the moment, take this downtime to invest into yourself,” Stahl said. “Education is changing, and e-courses are a fast-growing industry. This is no surprise considering the cost of attending college is on average $35,000 per year and you can now take classes taught by industry leaders on websites like MasterClass for a fraction of the price.”
Check Out: The Top Company Hiring Now in Each State
Diversify Your Skills
“The past few years have reported the most significant employee turnover in decades, and in times of uncertainty, it’s best to be proactive,” said Noelle Martin, career expert for Boureston Media. “Ask yourself: What are the things I’m good at? What other opportunities are available for me? What problems can I solve using my skills?
“Companies worldwide have shifted their operational efforts to digital, which opened up job positions that need digital skills. In this modern world, it pays to be tech-savvy. Learn new skills like copywriting or social media management that are in demand in today’s workforce. There are even free courses available online.”
Pursue a Side Hustle
Dana Case, director of operations at MyCorporation, believes pursuing a side hustle is a great move to make in a shifting economy.
“Legitimate side hustles can help you create an extra revenue stream,” she said. “They also allow you to pursue passions you wish to explore and provide growth opportunities. A solid side hustle can even potentially take you to the next level by starting a business doing what you naturally love and enjoy.”
But not just any side hustle will do, Case advised.
“In a shifting economy, it’s important to find a side hustle that is the right fit for you,” she said. “Look at your goals and objectives. Research other successful people with similar hustles. Reach out to talk to them about their experience and learn how they do what they do. It’s also important to determine your time commitment and potential revenue from the hustle. Do your research, ask questions, analyze the opportunities, and then decide if this is the right opportunity for you.”
Angle for a Promotion
Ravi Parikh, CEO of RoverPass, said that now is time for employees to work on growing their roles within the companies they currently work for.
“Right now, many companies are in competition to maintain the employees they have now and hire new people,” he said. “This creates the perfect atmosphere for employees to take advantage of or request cross-training opportunities and start angling for promotions. With the high level of uncertainty in recruiting new people, I predict more and more companies are going to turn to internal hiring and promotions. If you’ve been considering changing careers, it may be worth considering
whether you can do that within your current company. Your business may work with you to help you cover the education and training costs if you’re interested in a role they are trying to fill.”
Update and Build Your Online Branding
“You might think a professional brand is only for entrepreneurs, but the reality is, if you want to be a front-runner in your industry, you need to build your brand,” Stahl said. “This starts with updating and adding to your media profiles. Whether you’re currently on the job hunt due to a layoff or looking to make a career change later, you can use this time to keep your credentials up-to-date to stay relevant.”
Ask For Your Ideal Working Situation
“Ask to work from home, a flexible schedule, or both,” said Chris Muktar, founder of WikiJob. “With the threat of the new Covid19 variants, many companies are still operating remotely or in hybrid environments despite the increasing number of vaccinated people. It’s most likely that your company will allow it and make adjustments rather than the cost of having to hire, train, and incubate someone to take your place.”
Job Options: 30 Odd Jobs That Pay Insanely Well
Ask For Additional (or Alternative) Benefits and Perks
As a result of the pandemic, your expectations may have changed — especially when it comes to the perks you want and the benefits you need from your employer. If you find that the perks or benefits your employer has in place just don’t fit your current wants and needs, consider asking for additional or alternative ones.
For example, expanded paid sick leave could allow you to stay at home on those days that you’re not feverish but just not feeling well. Extra paid time off could also come in handy. Or if you have to return to the office (and a less casual wardrobe), a one-time clothing stipend could be a great perk. A benefit could be some sort of mental health assistance, such as a direct fund that employees could pull from or free telehealth therapy sessions once a week.
Whatever it is that you want or need, set up a meeting with your manager to discuss it. Your employer will likely try to accommodate your requests rather than make you unhappy and possibly lose you as an employee.
More From GOBankingRates
- What Money Topics Do You Want Covered: Ask the Financially Savvy Female
- 15 Smart Savings Tips You Can Start Today
- Nominate Your Favorite Small Business To Be Featured on GOBankingRates
- Monifi Review: Jumpstart Your Financial Progress With This Goal-Based Banking App’s $250 Bonus