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Professional development: 5 tips to help your career

career opportunities

Large parts of the world have come to a halt since the pandemic. As a result, many students and graduates are unsure what their next step may be as they’ve had summer plans or internships cancelled. Consequently, it has raised the question of how you should use their time during the quarantine period to help their professional development? There are several things you can do to help you grow professionally, and we have picked out our top five things we think you can do to help you advance your career during and after the quarantine period.

Take Online Courses

With the growing use of technology and the internet, taking online courses has become pretty standard. More so, many companies now encourage employees to use these as training tools. There are many different places where you can sign up for free classes, some of the most common include Coursera or Skillshare. These sites offer courses on anything from interior design to the fundamentals of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

Taking in an online course can help you expand your knowledge in the industry you are interested in which will be beneficial for future interviews, projects, and career opportunities. More so, you may discover courses in a different industry that interest you and may change your career path. Now is the time to explore new things you may not have had the time to do previously. In addition to that, you can add those newly acquired skills and interests to your CV!

Participate in a Remote Internship

If you want to gain some experience and grow your professional development while in the comfort of your home, consider a remote internship. Otherwise known as virtual or online internships, remote internships allow you to intern with global companies around the world while hanging out at home. With remote internships, you have the flexibility to choose your schedule, work anywhere you’d like, and even have the possibility to make some money out of it too. A remote internship will help you grow professionally and enable you to improve some highly desirable professional skills, including communication, time management, independence, and productivity.

Optimise your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is, without a doubt, one of the most powerful career networking sites. You can build your network, research companies and access job opportunities across the globe. Now is a great time to optimise your profile. Especially as employers now look at candidates’ LinkedIn profile along with or even instead of their CV. Therefore, by maximising your LinkedIn profile, you are giving yourself the best opportunity to be noticed by potential employers. You will be able to showcase your education and work experience, along with letting prospective employers know more about you as a person. Additionally, if you’re actively looking for a job and are open to connecting with recruiters, you can state this on your profile, therefore, increasing your chances of receiving job or internship offers.

While you’re optimising your LinkedIn profile, you can begin networking with those in your desired industry. Networking can help you make connections that can lead to potential internship and job opportunities. As mentioned before, LinkedIn is one of the biggest networking sites so use this to reach out to companies, potential employers, and mentors if you’re seeking advice and guidance.

Build Your Portfolio

Sure, you can tell employers how amazing you are in your particular industry, but more often than not, they’ll want to see evidence of it. Now that you’re at home, you can spend some more time developing your portfolio.

A work portfolio is a collection of work samples you can give to future employers. Think of it as being proof in the pudding or tangible evidence of your work and what they can expect from you should they decide to hire you. A portfolio is typically required in creative industries like writing, advertising, web development, graphic design, fashion, and architecture.

Spend some time developing your work samples so that when you can interview, you can now showcase more of your work. Hoping to get into the fashion industry? Work on some of your designs. Is writing your thing? Create a website dedicated to blogging so that you can share these posts later in the future.

For non-creative industries like engineering and business development, instead of a portfolio you can create a case study on a particular company or design, or further develop existing projects you may have done while at University. These will help showcase work you have done in your chosen field.

Though building your portfolio may not seem like you are learning anything or enhancing your professional development, it will help set you up for future success. Regardless of your industry, your work portfolio can showcase your achievements, skills, experience and much more. It can help you leave a strong impression on your employer and therefore, help you obtain a better internship or job position.

Learn another Language

In today’s growing global market, speaking another language can be incredibly beneficial to your career. Many global corporations look to hire people who can speak multiple languages or at least have a basic understanding of more than one language. Furthermore, being bilingual can give you a competitive edge over your peers, and research has shown that speaking another language can result in a 10-15% increase in your potential salary.

Additionally, if you are looking to work or intern abroad, speaking another language will be incredibly useful and help you adapt to the cultural differences. However, even if you don’t want to work overseas, then learning a language will help you improve your communication skills. It will also give you a better sense of appreciation for other languages and cultures as well as people who are trying to learn your native language.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, your health and mental wellbeing are the most important things at this time. However, taking the initiative and learning something new can only help your professional development for the future. Now is a great time to dedicate yourself to your craft and develop your knowledge of your desired industry. Employers are always looking for candidates that are able to cope with adversity and work independently, and showing that during this time, you have been motivated to develop yourself professionally will help you stand out from the crowd.

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Julia Hurtado

Julia Hurtado

Having spent an entire summer dedicated to travelling abroad, Julia now focuses on helping other students experience life outside their home country. As an American now working in London, Julia enjoys sharing advice on interning abroad, sipping tea (with 2 sugars, 1 milk please) and reading in her spare time.

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