The restrictions are starting to loosen up, and we’re all hoping to get back to normal life soon. Unfortunately, the experts say that “normal” doesn’t exist anymore, and its predicted that the recession will bring even more challenges. The best way to prepare for the unknown is to focus on your career development more than ever. Here are 5 tips on how to stay on top of your career even in these uncertain times.
Work on your professional network
As I shared in my article on LinkedIn, having strong, genuine connections and a large network are really the new currency. Having more people in your professional network will open the door for you to more opportunities, knowledge, and friendships. Maybe right now you’re comfortable in your job, but you never know when you’ll want a change. To be clear, I’m not saying you should be solely focused on how these people can help you one day. Rather, the connection should be genuine because you like what that person is doing and you admire them. If you think about building your network in this genuine way, you’ll create much stronger connections with people, and one day when you need something from them, they will be more likely to help you.
TIP: These are just some Prague-based groups that offer networking opportunities:
- Women Freelancers and Entrepreneurs in Prague
- Startup Grind Prague has some events in English
- Czech Startup Community
- Femme Palette
Get a mentor
Having a mentor can help you fast track your career. Mentorship is about getting guidance from someone more experienced, who was once in your situation, to help you deal with specific career challenges. These challenges can vary from breaking into a new field, improving your hard and soft skills, learning how to be a better manager, asking for a promotion, or helping with a job strategy. With the recession approaching, you want to be indispensable for your employer. That’s why you have to be on top of industry trends, and keep bringing value to your company.
There are a few different ways to find a mentor. If you have someone in your mind who you admire and want to learn from, you can invite them for a coffee and talk about your career challenges. You may not want to ask someone right upfront to be your mentor, but instead, allow the relationship to develop over time. However, if you don’t want to wait and prefer a more structured and official mentor-mentee relationship, you can look for mentoring programs.
TIP: Try the Femme Palette Mentoring Program for women, which has already connected over 150 women with their mentors to help them grow in their careers.
Start a side-hustle and build your personal brand
In this time, you should not rely financially only on your employer. If the crisis hits, and you are let go, you don’t want to be without any income. Consider starting a side-hustle through your hobbies or your strengths. If you are a marketing professional, try to find a client for marketing freelance work. If you are passionate about finance, start a blog, and organize a webinar to teach people about how to track their finances. If nothing comes to your mind that you could generate additional income from, use your time to build your personal brand.
Try to find something you are really passionate about and start doing it. If you happen to be looking for a job again, you want to be unique. Employers want to hear your story and want to see your passion for something. If you want to find a job in a certain industry, consider starting a side-hustle that is tied to it, so that the employers can see your determination.
TIP: Check out our job listings for current opportunities for part-time work and English-language jobs.
Are you used to flying under the radar at work? Are you one of the people who doesn’t brag about your achievements, and hopes that your hard work will be noticed? Now is the right time to change that and make yourself and your work visible. Have you made measurable improvements for the company? Make sure the right people know — your manager and anyone else too.
Volunteer to help with projects that are not connected to your day-to-day job. Does your company run a book club or a happy hour? Help with the organization of these events and build visibility outside of your role. Make sure to build a good relationship with your manager. Try to connect with him or her on a personal level. Managers are people too, and showing interest in their life can improve your chances for them to be your advocates behind closed doors.
Tip: See some additional tips for navigating the international office environment in our article here.
Keep your skills sharp
Now it’s time to make yourself a valuable employee. How do you do that? Stay on top of industry trends, learn new skills, and get better at what you do. It’s always better to have someone to guide you, such as a mentor, but there are things you can do on your own. Read as much possible, listen to podcasts, watch webinars (many of them are for free now), or take online courses. Is there a skill such as data analytics for example, that is not currently a strength of yours but could help you become more valuable in your workplace? Then you should consider taking an online course.
The world is changing now: people are changing their behaviors, becoming more tech-savvy and many companies will have to react to that. Be the one who brings know-how and helps with digitization of the company.
TIP: These are some of the skills that will be critical to the Czech job market in the future.
The bottom line
During a recession, things are often out of our control. No matter what happens with your job and career, don’t beat yourself up — instead, take things that come your way as a fresh start. Surround yourself with the right people, who will support you and motivate you to find new opportunities. Sometimes, out of comfort, we don’t take risks and don’t follow our dreams until we’re forced by external factors. No matter what happens, try to look at things from the bright side. You’ll get out of this stronger than ever.
Lucie Neumanova is the co-founder and CEO of Femme Palette, a platform for the career development of women which provides networking opportunities and mentoring programs for female professionals and entrepreneurs. She has been living in Silicon Valley for 6 years and has worked for numerous mission-driven start-ups as a UI/UX Designer. www.femmepalette.com