How to prepare for your future while at home
Being at home offers you an opportunity to deep-dive into your career wishes and consider the next steps in your professional life. Whether you’re about to start your first job or are looking for a change after several years in the same position, now is the perfect time to prepare for your future. Here are some helpful things you can do to kick-start your career from home!
Find out what you want to do
The very first step before even applying for a job is to find out what kind of work makes you happy. Your time at home offers you the unique opportunity to sit down and think about what type of role you see yourself in 5, 10 or 20 years down the line. Not only should you pick a field to work in, but you should also think about what you want your daily job life to look like.
Do you want to be out and about at all times, do you prefer an office job, or do you want to interact with people from all over the world? Every field offers a variety of different positions to meet your dream job requirements. To ensure that you find something you truly enjoy, you have to take stock of yourself and figure out what you really enjoy.
A lot of people are worried about not having a passion yet but let me tell you: you don’t need to start out with a passion. It can be developed; you just need to know what you enjoy enough to plunge into the learning process.
Build an online presence
The days when someone only looked at the physical CV an applicant sent in are long gone. Nowadays one of the key factors of introducing yourself to a potential employer is to have an online presence. There are plenty of different options to present your qualities and who you are as a person.
Depending on your chosen field, you could demonstrate your transferable skills like creative writing by running a blog or use your social media accounts to authentically portray your interests and personality. The latter is also a fantastic tool to discover job listings.
A platform giving recruiters a brilliant overview of you as a candidate is LinkedIn. Although there are premium options, it’s very easy to create a comprehensive profile including skills, your work and education history for free. You’re even able to write a summary of your experience to act as a sort of cover letter. You can use an optimized LinkedIn profile to apply or just get an impression of the existing opportunities as a first step.
Another great way to introduce yourself to a company is by having a website. Not only does that prove your tech affinity but also your ability to display your information in creative ways. Employers are much more likely to remember you if they were able to interact with your application than if they just skimmed one of many PDF documents.
“I’m not familiar with coding, though” I hear you say. Well, you don’t necessarily have to be the most tech-savvy to create one! Building a website doesn’t have to be difficult – tools like WordPress or Squarespace offer you templates and plenty of pre-built elements, making it easy to get your unique selling points across in imaginative ways.
Oh, and make sure that your presence on the internet is professional. This doesn’t mean you can’t post about a fun night out with your friends but do keep in mind that one day an HR person might judge your employability based on your Instagram or Twitter profile. Always think twice instead of just mindlessly posting pictures or comments!
If you’re currently at home, it gives you more time to gain useful knowledge online. No longer being stuck in traffic or waiting for delayed trains comes in handy when you want to expand the skills section on your CV.
Browse job advertisements that genuinely interest you and see whether you notice certain requirements being brought up again and again. Maybe you can improve your data analytics competence or finally expand your business knowledge with interesting ebooks, presentations or even online courses for a higher chance of securing that job interview?
An absolute must-have on every CV are language skills. Speaking a foreign language will give you an advantage in fields from marketing to engineering to law. The most in-demand languages are English, Spanish and French. A beginner course will teach you the basics that you can eventually put to the test by going abroad.
A strong foundation will make learning abroad much easier as you adapt to your new surroundings faster, so make sure you get plenty of practice in during your time at home. Be it in an online course or on an app, you can learn vocabulary and grammar rules so that by the time you start to practice speaking the language properly, you already know its rules by heart.
Perfect the pillars of every application
It doesn’t matter if you already have a CV and cover letter or if you want to create them from scratch: chances are that there is something you forgot to include, could structure better or tweak further.
One of the most common misconceptions is that you need to squeeze every tiny achievement on two pages instead of elaborating on selected crucial skills. When writing a CV examples are key. Analyse your CV to spot gaps where you could illustrate how you developed a certain quality and how you used it in the past.
When writing or reviewing your CV also make sure to adapt it for different jobs before applying. Professional recruiters can immediately tell if you mass mailed your CV to 100 companies instead of taking the time to research their mission. It’s always better to send individualised CVs to fewer companies than to message dozens of HR people with the same standard application. Submit samples of your work where possible to give them an overview of what you can do.
Subtly including the skills the job ad actually asks for in the role description shows an interest in detail and makes the employers task much easier. Recruiters sometimes receive hundreds of applications – therefore they often look for a maximum keyword match.
Last but not least, remember that jobs abroad might require a different application structure. Which details are usually provided in a CV in this specific country? Do you need a professional photo? Do you have to write a short statement? Do you put experience in chronological order? It always pays off to look these things up beforehand.
Once you’ve gone through all of these steps and secured an interview for your dream job, you should also spend a significant amount of time preparing your answers and setting up the technology for a video interview at home.