With the current economic climate and many employees working remotely, it can be easy to lose focus on your career planning – but this can be the perfect time to think about personal development and career aspirations. Whilst it is challenging to feel in control when so much seems out of control, you now have the chance to give yourself some space to sit back, reflect and decide if you are actually working in the job that you want. When business  resumes, it is likely we will experience a rush for financial talent, so it is important to set yourself apart from the competition.

To help use this time wisely and demonstrate your proactivity and flexibility to future employers, we have put together some advice for career planning during your work from home period.

Update your CV

Positions fill quickly – so always keep your CV up to date. Having to hurry revisions will almost certainly mean key experience is missed, and you risk not representing the full breadth of your skill set. Use this time to review everything, ensure the information is current; contact details, qualifications, skills, achievements, assignments, memberships of professional bodies, interests and references. Don’t just assume a hiring manager will know you have certain accreditations due to your title.

(Take a look at our guide on ‘Tailoring your Application to the Advertisement’ for helpful tips on editing and what to include.)

In addition, it is important you add details regarding how you are using this current time to support your organisation. If you have lost your current position or your hours have been significantly reduced, show how you have been proactive in self-development through upskilling and research for example. Perhaps you have a long-forgotten project that you might be able to finally progress?

Update your LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn provides an opportunity to showcase your personal brand, and it is a great way to professionally showcase your experience. With over 575 million professionals, it is also a great place to participate in group discussions regarding your specific industry. Following financial institutes will provide you with a great deal of information on current industry trends and news.

Always remember that LinkedIn updates will be shown to your network, which could give the impression you are actively looking for a new position – not a good idea if your line manager is one of your connections! To avoid this, you can make changes in the Settings & Privacy Menu on your LinkedIn profile before adding any updates. This means your network can still see your profile, but it won’t alert them every time you make a change.

Talk to you Recruitment Specialist

Your financial recruitment specialist can offer information on the current market situation, including which skills are in demand, market rates, qualifications and specific roles that are presently appealing to employers.

They can also advise on interview and onboarding processes during lockdown. Remote interviews are still going ahead, and while they are essentially the same as a face-to-face scenario, there are some distinctions that your recruitment specialist can help you with to ensure you give yourself the best chance of landing the job.

Assess your skills gap

Now is a great time to think about upskilling and gaining some additional certification and qualifications. Really think about your current experience and where you see your career progression over the next few years. Assess any existing skill gaps and capabilities, then make a plan!

This doesn’t have to be an expensive process. Many professional association websites are offering low-cost and sometimes free certification during the coronavirus pandemic. OpenLearn (Open University), is a good place to start.

If it’s not possible to gain qualifications during the current period, you can still complete research on your desired qualifications.

“Time spent improving your professional development is never time wasted. You are responsible for your own development, and that shouldn’t be limited to organisational training. Taking the initiative to seek independent learning opportunities will go a long way in impressing future employers”, added John Marx, Co-Founder Halliday Marx.

This is also the perfect opportunity to get up to date on your industry. Research your business by reading articles and journals. For insights regarding the finance and accounting space, take a look at accountancyage.com.

Finally, upskilling should not be limited to industry specific areas. How are your presentation skills? Would it help you to learn how to use a project planning tool? How might you develop your leadership presence? A wealth of inexpensive support and information is available on the internet.

Summary

Many of us will continue to work from home during the pandemic, often with additional responsibilities such as childcare or maybe caring for someone vulnerable. However, with most of us having our social calendar put on hold, and without a commute, there is an opportunity to improve personal development and career prospects. Research your industry, brush up on your skills, take qualifications, give your CV a make-over and use the wealth of information available on LinkedIn.

Using this time of instability as a time for opportunity will allow you to think about what you really want from your professional life. Set yourself apart from the competition and talk to us at Halliday Marx.

Call our specialist consultants us on 020 7096 8200 or email us at  info@hallidaymarx.com

For the latest financial opportunities, company updates, recruitment information and career advice, follow us on LinkedIn and twitter @HallidayMarx

Our philosophy is simple; do things simply, do them well.