How to Keep Yourself Relevant
Instead of COVID-19 stalling your career or your professional plans, now is the time to be checking off skills development opportunities, including online courses and certifications, and taking advantage of the extra time you likely have on your hands by networking and reading.
To make the most of your time at home while boosting your skills (or learning something new altogether) and staying relevant, try focusing on these seven areas of opportunity.
Take a course.
Websites like Lynda.com (www.lynda.com), now part of LinkedIn Learning, HubSpot Academy (https://academy.hubspot.com), Udemy (www.udemy.com), edX (https://www.edx.org) and Skillshare (www.skillshare.com) are a handful of great sites to check out. Consider taking a course that offers something ‘skill adjacent’ to your core skill set. This will expand your capabilities as a professional while adding an additional, relevant skill to your repertoire.
Similarly, there are a variety of virtual certifications you can pursue during this time – some of which are even free.
- For technology professionals: There are a variety of certifications – from project management and risk, to routing and design. The PMP® (www.pmi.org/certifications/types/project-management-pmp) certification from the Project Management Institute is just one example, and they also offer certifications in program management, portfolio management and business analysis, to name a few.
- For finance and accounting professionals: The Corporate Finance Institute (CFI) offers a bundle of finance and accounting courses for free, https://courses.corporatefinanceinstitute.com/bundles/free-finance-accounting-courses. You could also begin pursuing something longer term like the CFA® (www.cfainstitute.org/programs/cfa) or CFP® (www.cfp.net/get-certified/certification-process).
Listen to a webinar or a podcast.
There are a lot of webinars and podcasts being hosted and offered (most for free) right now. Not only are webinars and webcasts a great opportunity to connect with other professionals but there is often a level of interactivity (or, at the very least a Q&A session at the end) that can be a nice break up in the monotony and loneliness that can result from working from home, especially if you are not used to this type of work arrangement. Here is a quick round-up of some general options to check out:
- TEDx (www.ted.com/watch/tedx-talks)
- NPR (www.npr.org/podcasts)
- Career Contessa (www.careercontessa.com/webinars)
- eLearning Industry (https://elearningindustry.com/webinars)
- Score.org (www.score.org/recorded-webinars)
- Career Confidential (https://careerconfidential.com/training-webinars)
Read a book.
You likely have a book (or two) on your shelf already that you have been meaning to get to but just haven’t had the time to sit down and read just yet. Start there. Or, if you need recommendations, here are some options:
- For IT pros: Capella University recommends the 5 Books Every IT Professional Should Read or you can check out what Amazon recommends.
- For finance and accounting pros: Have a look at the accounting best sellers and finance best sellers, per Amazon.
Attend a conference – online.
Like most things, many conferences this year have gone virtual. And this is actually opening up the opportunity for a lot of people to attend conferences they previously would not have gone to due to location restrictions. Some are free and some still have a cost to attend. If there is a conference you have previously flagged as something you would like to attend, it might be worth it to see what the virtual options are this year.
Connect with your network.
See what’s going on with your school’s alumni network (most have active LinkedIn pages to connect alums), read the thought leadership content your connections are producing during this time – comment, interact with it and share it – and continue expanding your professional network. Now is a great time to be connecting with people who may otherwise not have the time or be limited by the networking they do when they are in the office. (If your profile could use a facelift, check out this article by The Intersect Group’s Taylor Shirk, “How to Freshen Up Your LinkedIn Profile.”)
Stay up to date with industry news.
Organizations and individuals are producing a lot of content right now. To stay informed, it’s a good idea to subscribe to newsletters and blogs. Consider subscribing to general content platforms, like Medium (https://medium.com), Harvard Business Review (https://hbr.org) and/or the Morning Brew (www.morningbrew.com), or something industry-specific, like CIO.com (www.cio.com) and InformationWeek (www.informationweek.com) for technology professionals or the American Institute of CPAs (www.aicpa.org/publications/newsletters.html) and Accounting Today (www.accountingtoday.com) for finance and accounting professionals. This will also help you to feel more plugged in, despite working from home.
Don’t Go It Alone.
Now is a great time to be achieving, doing and reading what YOU want to. And there might even be some assistance available, depending on the partnerships you have established. For consultants partnered with The Intersect Group, for instance, tuition reimbursement is available. Below are the details of our program:
- All hourly W2 consultants of The Intersect Group are eligible for tuition reimbursement.
- Requirements: A consultant has to be working at least 6 months on a full-time basis (averaging a minimum of 35 hours per week) with no gaps in employment greater than 45 days.
- The Intersect Group will reimburse up to $150 towards a course.
- Requirements: The course has to be related to the consultant’s assignment and proof of a passing grade (a passing grade is considered a B or higher) must be provided to the consultant’s recruiter in order to get reimbursed.
The Intersect Group has also paid for training seminars. This is reviewed and approved on a case-by-case basis by market leaders. Get in touch with your recruiter to learn more.
Be well, and start checking off professional development on your to-do list!