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Career Derailed by Coronavirus? How to Get Back on Track

coronavirus job loss

For most of your professional life, setting attainable goals and working hard have paid off. It probably came as a shock when the coronavirus pandemic caused your career trajectory to run off course. Even as unemployment numbers improve, Coronavirus job losses continue, if you find yourself suddenly off track you’re not alone.  But the current environment won’t last forever, and you can take steps now to get things back on track.

Take Your Time

It may feel like there’s a sense of urgency to get things going again. But after a career disruption, it often helps to reasonably assess the situation. The truth is that your best-laid plans from before COVID-19 probably won’t pan out in the next little while, but that doesn’t mean you have to just wait it out entirely.

Review the state of your industry. Research what’s happening in your profession. In your information and data-gathering, you can get a realistic view of how things are right now, and how they might progress. Then, you can update your plan of action.

Embrace the Transition

For many people, the pandemic represents downtime. This has a number of pros and cons. The cons may include uncertainty, financial pressures, and careers coming to a halt. The pros may include more time to rest and recharge. These aspects are something to enjoy. They are crucial for a period of reflection on both your personal and professional goals.

If you felt like you were too busy before — but loved it — see what you can love about having a bit more time to breathe. From a career perspective, this can give you the chance to replenish your stores of energy and think more creatively about the work you do — and how you can do it better.

Work on Possibilities

Your goal may be to get back on track with your career. This is a great time to redefine the possibilities of that career. Imagine if your career looked a bit different than what you had before. Perhaps you can see yourself in a slightly different role in your industry, or want to stay in the same role but in another sector.

Instead of focusing on what you have lost, look for what’s still out there and how you can use your existing skills to get in on the action. Do this by reading industry publications, talking to colleagues, and reading postings for career opportunities, even if you don’t plan to apply. With so many people out of work due to Coronavirus job losses, now is the time to think outside the box.


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Get in Step With New Technology

One thing that may outlast the COVID-19 pandemic is new ways of doing work. Throughout 2020, professionals have already experienced a number of transitions. In the Spring, many things came to a halt and working life was limited or curtailed. Over time, industries began to move again, but in modified forms.

Working from home using online technology is one example of this. To get your career going again, learn all you can about these new ways of doing work. Practice interviewing and holding meetings over videoconference or Zoom. Research how industries are adapting to the new environment, so you are prepared.

Rely on People

Career success often relies on interactions with others. This hasn’t gone away during the pandemic, although the nature of how we interact has changed. This is a good time to go out of your way to connect with people. These could be present and former co-looking for a new jobworkers or associates from old workplaces. Reach out over email to ask how things are going. The old adage is that the hidden job market is the largest, and that still holds up even today.

In this time of uncertainty, it never hurts to tell people you are still focused on your career trajectory. After all, there’s no reason to assume you would be. Some people simply drop out of the market after experiencing a great change. Simply giving others a heads up that you are looking to transition in your career can open up new possibilities or leads about ways to get back in the game.

Take a Chance

In the current environment, you are forced to take career risks. This is something to embrace. If you try out a new role in a new industry and it doesn’t work out, no one will blame you for giving it a shot. Moreover, in this era innovation is the name of the game. Your willingness to do something new can demonstrate flexibility and growth no matter where your career path leads you.

If you are still with your organization, inquire about new projects you can take on that are a little out of your comfort zone. If you are looking for a new role in a new organization, don’t count out positions that are a departure from your past experience. If someone is willing to take a chance on you, it is possible you can find a new route to success you didn’t know existed.

Think Long Term

In these times of uncertainty, it is easy to get caught up in the moment. This is often a benefit, but remember not to get too complacent or too anxious. What is happening now is just that — the current economic environment. In your times of reflection, remember to look ahead and plan for success. Even if it’s a bit different than what you originally had in mind, it can lead to something amazing.


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About the Author

Catherine Lovering has written on personal finance and careers for the past 10 years. She has been published on Interest.com, Healthline, and Paste.