As a consequence of coronavirus, millions of workers across the UK have been temporarily furloughed until June – at the earliest. If you’re one, you’ve probably got a lot of spare time on your hands. In fact, this could be one of the few opportunities in your lifetime when you’ll have so much time to invest in your career development without having to work a full time job. Here are a few pointers on what you can do to make the most of this time…
Create a personal development plan
Start by stepping back and taking an objective look at where you are in your career and think about where you’d like to go next. There are three steps to this:
- Re-evaluate your goals and how they relate to where you are now
- Examine the actions you can take to get closer to those goals. Create short, medium and long term objectives with definable targets.
- Look at the obstacles that are stopping you from achieving your goals and what you can do to overcome them.
Right now, most people will be focussed on short term goals such as ensuring that they stay in work in uncertain times, but as part of this you should also look at what you can do in terms of upskilling to improve your employability. For instance, are there any short online courses you could while furloughed that could add a new skills to your CV? This is known as a skills gap analysis. If you’ve been in the same job for a while, look at your existing CV and how your skills have moved on in that time – even if you expect to go back to the same role.
Is it time for a career change?
Whilst being furloughed, others may decide to actively look for a new job, or shift career. Although this mightn’t be the best time to do so in some industries, you’ll still find plenty of opportunities coming online using the Zoek job search app. Here again, research what skills are trending, especially new ones employers might be looking for in your niche. For instance, if you have been in the same job for some time, the technology may have moved on. Examine what actions you can take to add these to your existing skill set.
If you’d like to stay at your current company whilst furloughed, it might be worth getting in touch with your manager to see if they can advise on what you could be doing during this time to improve your prospects at the firm. Look at the resources you’ll need to achieve your goals. If possible, write it all down with timescales, so you can go back and check your progress against the milestones. And remember, even if your skills are up-to-date, there are still things you can do in terms of your personal development, such as looking at strengthening your soft skills.
Make the best use of this time
Being furloughed may be daunting, but just reviewing where you are in your career and planning for the future can give you a sense of purpose and structure that can be help you view the current situation more positively. This could be an unprecedented opportunity to work on a career development plan, expand your horizons and gain new skills, so you can look forward to a brighter future when this is all over.
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