5 ways to further your career during furlough
So, first of all you felt like one of the lucky ones. The coronavirus pandemic hit and your job was furloughed. You realised you could stay home and get paid 80% of your normal salary for doing absolutely no work! For maybe 12 weeks or more!
Then reality hit. Maybe you started to feel guilty because all those key workers are out there doing essential work in dangerous circumstances, often for less money than you’re on for sitting at home.
Maybe someone you knew fell ill or died from Covid-19.
Maybe all your family live miles away and you feel helpless. Or maybe they’re suddenly all living in your house, all the time and they’re not allowed to leave!
The reality is there are 8 million people whose jobs have been furloughed and everyone has a different experience. The horrors of home-schooling for some and then the loneliness of isolation for others. The challenge of every day activities like buying groceries or securing an online delivery slot. And when will we ever get to the hairdresser again?
Now, of course, you may also be worrying about whether your company will survive and whether you will even have a job to return to when this is all over. Too many household names have already hit the wall or started to make staff redundant. Perhaps you’ve used this time to take stock and you’re wondering whether you even want to keep doing that job if it does survive.
5 Ways To Further Your Career During Furlough
Whatever you’re feeling about your career right now, this time on furlough is the perfect opportunity to think to the future and prepare yourself for what may happen. I’d like to share 5 ways you can actually further your career while you’re on furlough leave.
1. Rest & Reflect
It’s OK to take some time out during furlough. You may have been working your socks off in the lead up to the pandemic and may take a while to readjust to this new pace of life. You might feel like you need to be filling your days with useful tasks and that if you don’t stay busy you’ll get bored or go crazy.
Can I suggest that actually, it’s OK to allow yourself to be bored? Press ‘pause’ and listen to what’s happening around you. Start to see what’s on your doorstep or in your garden. Look up at the sky instead of down at that screen. Gradually, you’ll start to hear a different voice. One that’s inside your own head but that seems to be coming from somewhere else, like your heart.
Reflect on the past few months or years and ask yourself whether you want to go back to that kind of life.
Write down how you feel or express your feelings another way. There’s an annual review in my ebook that can help with this.
2. Identify Your Dream Job
If the answer to the question above is that you’d prefer to do something else in the future rather than going back to your old job, then the next question is “What DO you want to do?” But that question can be notoriously hard to answer. If you don’t know, please don’t lose heart. The other exercises in my ebook can help and of course, you can apply for a free Career Clarity Session too. It’s important to start with how you want to feel in the future rather than what you want to achieve or what you think you should do.
3. Update LinkedIn and your other online profiles
When you’ve identified what your dream job is, it’s time to take the advice of one of my previous managers, Dave. Dave says, “If you walk like a General, talk like a General and look like a General, chances are… you’re a General.”
Put another way: “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”
And this advice is about more than just your clothes. Take a look at your online profiles through the eyes of your dream employer and make sure that you look like their dream employee.
4. Research Your Dream Companies
While we’re on the subject of your dream employer… make a list! How many companies are there in the area that you’d like to work? Write down their names and start to find out a bit more about them. This is the strategic bit!
Don’t just look at their websites or whether they’re hiring right now. Check out their social media profiles. See what their customers are saying about them online and check their employees’ reviews on Glassdoor.
If they pass your initial screening and look like they might qualify as a future dream employer, keep them on the list. Now start to follow them on social media and keep up with their news.
5. Start Networking
Even if you’re not a natural ‘networker’ you might find that during furlough it’s easier than ever to meet people who can help you further your career. Online networking events are often more structured and facilitated than their offline equivalents. Remember, all you’re trying to do is get to know someone and to find out a little bit about them and their industry or company.
Reaching out and asking to connect with people in the industry you would like to get in to is a great way to start building professional relationships for the future.
When I’m asked what I regret about leaving my safe, well paid job back in 2013, there’s only one thing that ever springs to mind. I wish I had started networking with people outside of my company sooner. LinkedIn is the perfect place to meet the people who will be able to help you make your career change when the time is right. If you’re not savvy on LinkedIn and you’d like some 1:1 help you can book a tutorial here.
I’d love to know how you get on while you’re following these 5 tips to further your career during furlough. Please feel free to connect with me on social media or to email me with your questions.
Who knows, this period of time could be transformational for your career and your future!
Here’s a link, especially for you, to book an hour and a half, completely free, with me. It’s what I call your Career Clarity Session.
It’s an opportunity to press “Pause” and really focus on the way ahead. It could be the most important 90 minutes you’ve ever invested in yourself!
Book your FREE Career Clarity Session with Louise by clicking the button below.
Copyright: Louise Jenner, 2020.
Written from my home office in Devon.