Considering your next career move in the shadow of Covid-19

08 Sep 2020

Considering your next career move in the shadow of Covid-19

Job moves are part of advancing your career, but has COVID changed the rules about how to go about it?

Is this a good time to advance your career? We know that the huge economic and social crisis we are going through will change so many things in deep and enduring ways. So, surely it’s time to keep your head down, and wait for better days, and put your career aspirations on hold till things are better?

Or, is it actually a good time to consider your options? And, if so, what should your strategy be?

“Times of great disruption, when everything seems to be turned on its head, are great opportunities to ask some hard questions about your own position,” explains Christine Kuhl, Partner at Odgers Berndtson Germany.

We all have more time to examine whether we are doing what we really want to do.

Is your current position fulfilling and purposeful? Perhaps what the position promised on day one hasn’t been delivered.

You were hired because of your particular skills, experience and attitude, so if you haven’t been able to put those into practice and produce CV-worthy results, it’s time for a rethink.

The pandemic has also revealed a great deal about organisations and their leadership. Some have risen to the challenge, others less so.

Has the pandemic revealed the best (or the worst) of your employer? Is this likely to change? For example, digitalisation and the uptake of advanced technologies has been accelerated by the arrival of the new socially-distanced world. But if your organisation is lagging behind on this, that will ultimately impact your career.

Follow the sectoral opportunities, and the global ones

Of course, different sectors have been impacted in different ways by the pandemic and its economic impact. Jobs have been lost in some areas, but opportunities are rising in technology, digital entertainment, online learning, essential services, and healthcare, for example. Many of these industries are hiring and actively seeking candidates.

Clearly, this should be part of your thinking too. A move into a more promising sector which has a brighter long-term future might be something to consider. This will entail a proper audit of your capabilities and potential to see if such a move might work. If there are gaps in your skills or professional portfolio to fill, now might be the time to work on the appropriate training and accreditation.

As an executive search company that works across multiple sectors, we can advise on the viability of your move into a different sector. Also, as a firm with a network of 61 offices across 29 countries, opportunities beyond any local ones can be a possibility too.

Confident leaders are in demand for disrupted times

COVID aside, the world is changing so fast that it pays to be agile and adaptable in your attitude and approach. For example, look for projects where you can up your skills, and strive to do things outside of your comfort zone.

Our recent research into what makes a confident leader in the face of disruption emphasised that today’s leaders score highly for their curiosity, courage and emotional intelligence.

Ralph Göller, Partner at Odgers Berndtson Germany, adds: “As disruption continues to be the defining force of our future, companies will be looking for candidates who run towards disruption not away from it, people who think differently and are capable of innovating differently.”

How do you fit in today’s climate?

If you are a job seeker today, think about your unique capabilities and decide which experiences and skills are the most valuable for today’s climate.

You should start by looking back through your career. Which roles did you make the most impact in? How do you cope under pressure? Where do you add the most value to teams and organisations? And which types of roles will you thrive in today?

You’re not just filing a job anymore. You’re working out how to help an organisation solve its problems. That may mean that you need to reposition yourself and your past experience.

Creating the right pitch to sell yourself

Many organisations are using this moment to take time to identify the skills and capabilities that they need most right now. This gives you time to focus on ensuring that your key messages and pitch aligns with what the organisation is looking for.

If you’re applying to multiple roles, tailor your CV for each role and organisation. Include a cover letter that’s equally clear and focused. Always explain why your experience is relevant for the particular role.

Tell the story about why you’ve supported transformations or led through less than perfect circumstances. Suddenly, you are much more relevant to these disrupted times.

Since so many interviews are being conducted via Zoom and other similar platforms, you’ll need to take the time to practice and prepare. The added pressure of a virtual process means that this preparation is more important than ever. For example, practice an upcoming virtual interview with a few different people, especially those that will offer honest and constructive feedback.

Virtual team management and remote leadership is now commonplace, and is likely to stay that way. So, taking the time to get comfortable in front of a camera and improving your communication skills will pay off in the long run. Check out our ‘Guide to Virtual Interviews’ here.

The lockdowns are an exceptional chance to reflect and reassess what really matters most in life. And what makes us happier and more fulfilled. Perhaps this is your opportunity to find that job that will be a better fit with your talents, purpose, and ambitions.

Our consultants are always ready to help senior leaders do just that, so please get in touch.