How to progress your career during COVID-19

Whether you’re starting out in your career, climbing the ladder or even at a senior level, the Coronavirus pandemic has affected all of our careers in one way or another. Perhaps you’ve been furloughed, or maybe you work in an area of high demand and spend your days doing back to back Zoom calls at home. All of us will have experienced changes to how we work and if your hopes and fears for your career looks very different than they did a few months ago you are not alone.

Things are bleak out there. Yet there are still opportunities. For example, in the events industry many face to face events have been cancelled, but learners in event management are learning new digital skills as their industry adapts. There is a lot of truth in the saying ‘upskill in a downturn.’ A crisis can force us all to really think about which skills and knowledge we need to make sure we come out stronger the other side.

To help our learners and others in the JGA community we thought it would be helpful to explore career progression in the final Lunch and Learn webinar in our series on ‘How COVID-19 is disrupting marketing and sales.’ In this session, we wanted to explore how we can move our careers forward during Coronavirus.

We were fortunate to have 3 expert speakers at this event: Louise Rogers, business coach and PR expert, Richard Goodwin MD of JGA Group, and Anne Tanner, career advisor at JGA Group.

The panel shared some excellent tips for us all, including:

  • When things have changed, this can level the playing field between people who are more experienced and those who are more junior, as Richard pointed out. He told us that anyone who is adaptable to change and who can provide solutions and fresh thinking can get noticed right now.
  • Investing in your personal brand is a smart move. Louise suggested that putting your hand up to take on additional responsibilities at work and solve problems (e.g. running a wellbeing channel on your company intranet) can help people appreciate your personal qualities and see you as a leader of tomorrow. The people who remain positive and are proactive at looking to improve what their organisation does, whilst also accumulating further strings to their bows e.g. through developing skills will move forward in a competitive environment
  • Take the opportunity to try things outside of your comfort zone. This was the key theme in Anne’s advice and, as she told delegates, she had never spoken at a webinar before but was keen to give it a go. Trying out new courses, reading articles in your areas of interest and even asking for advice from people whose careers you admire can help give you plenty of ideas about what you need to do next. She also suggested looking at careers in areas of growth eg cybersecurity. Being open minded and looking at new opportunities could reveal new and unexpected career paths.
  • LinkedIn can help you. Whether it’s announcing that you’ve been made redundant, or reconnecting with your network or sharing useful content, Richard advised us that LinkedIn can help you get in front of the right people and find new opportunities. His top tip was not to be afraid to ask for help

There is so much change and uncertainty at the moment, but there is still plenty we can all do to put ourselves in the best position for career progression. Whether it’s learning new skills or building a good online profile that gets you noticed, I left this webinar feeling optimistic that there are still things we can all do that are within our control.