Now is the time to develop your personal brand
An unfortunate consequence of the ongoing global pandemic is the likelihood that you may lose your job. Unemployment has risen by nearly 40 million in the US and whilst Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Oceania are yet to see spikes of this magnitude, it does seem to be a question of when, rather than if some of us may lose our jobs.
This is further coupled with shifts in the labour market. Traditional manufacturing, mining, agriculture, and even certain educational, medical, research, or legal jobs are being automated, to a large extent replacing the need for humans altogether. Other industries such as oil or coal are being phased out in favour of a global shift towards renewable energies.
How can we prepare for a world where everything is in flux and change is the only constant? The first step, I believe, is to realise that we are not our jobs. Losing our job or our income is devastating - but it should not define us. In order to prepare and move forward, there are several things we can do:
Update your C.V. During the time you were employed, you gained new knowledge, skills, and connections. You achieved something at your work - recognise this by adding the relevant information to your C.V. While you are updating your C.V. you will take stock of your qualifications, interests, and skills. As your understanding of the labour market evolves, you will then be able to map your skills and knowledge to match the requirements of potential employers. This will enable you to identify possible areas for your own development and improvement.
Ask yourself "what/where do I want to be?" Knowing your strengths, weaknesses, interests, and passions is the crucial next step to finding employment that is mutually beneficial. Scan the labour market for opportunities. Who is hiring? Which jobs are in demand? Which skills are in demand? How do you complement the need for skills or expertise? How do these companies treat their employees? If businesses need to be aware of changes in the market in order to adapt and remain profitable, so too must job-seekers remain abreast of shifts in the labour market. Feel confident to leverage any contacts or connections you have made over the years - if not to find a job, then at the very least to inform yourself further on the labour market. Identify key people in the industry you wish to work in and speak with them. They will know where the field is heading and which skills are in demand. Create a list of target organisations you want to work for and identify how your skills will meet their demands.
Spend time reskilling or upskilling yourself. Most countries have a myriad of training institutes that teach skills from first aid to programming. Of course, you don't need to restrict yourself to these. The pandemic has taught us that "work and study from home" are absolutely possible.
Now is the time to develop your personal brand. If we view the labour market as a true 'market', then much like companies, you need to have a brand, and you need to develop and market it. Develop your ideas and your identity as an employee. Do not be afraid of contacting recruiters directly to ask them if they have work.
These are just some of the tools you can use to increase your chances at employment. There are plenty of resources on the internet that easily supplement what I have written here and working with an experienced career coach can accelerate your career search strategy.
- The author is a consultant psychologist who is co-founder of Kompass Consultancy