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No Time is Downtime: Leverage this Moment to (re)Strategize your Career

Rachel Serwetz
Rachel Serwetz
March 17, 2020
No Time is Downtime: Leverage this Moment to (re)Strategize your Career

Your career strategy should be set like any other strategy — think about what you can afford to do in the near term and consider what’s in your best short term and long term interest, even if that means it’s an upfront investment of time (something many of us can take advantage of right now).

So what can you afford right now? What do you NEED right now? Are you in immediate need of being hired or do you want to leverage this time to do some career exploration that might’ve been on the back burner? In fact, you can choose to do both — it all depends on what you need and what will be best for you (again in the short term AND long term). Alternatively, if you’re happy on your current path, you may simply want to just level up your skills which is a great way to spend this time, too.

Whatever it is you need right now, I’m going to offer you some suggestions. But before you jump into execution mode (many of us are starting online courses), let me help you to first thoughtfully restrategize.

For those who are in need of leveraging their current skills and getting hired:

  • Leverage freelance websites such as Fiverr and Upwork
  • Think about what skills you may hone as a hobby and how they can be leveraged as skills-for-hire (A dear friend who’s a wonderful artist is creating a coloring book! Another friend who’s a DJ is going Live on social media to offer dance and sports lessons to kids.) Think about what people may want/need right now (how our needs are changing) and what you can build/create or offer people as a service.
  • Leverage social media — Facebook groups are a great way to connect with like-minded peers or folks who may be in need of freelance support (“Freelancing Females” is a great example).
  • Keep your LinkedIn up to date — remember that as business needs are changing this doesn’t necessarily mean ALL hiring needs will freeze. Many companies may need new part-time, remote help in several areas as their priorities change. Ensure your profile is comprehensive, robust, specific, and your settings are turned on so people can still find you.
  • Like any other job search, networking is the best way to spend your time. Especially now, this will help you learn about what’s going on regarding hiring for your target roles and specifically at your target companies.
  • The bottom line: think creatively about your skills as a way to be resilient during this volatile time.

Now, if the above got you thinking about that children’s book you’ve been meaning to write….

Let’s talk about what you can do if you want to leverage this opportune time for some long-overdue career exploration:

  • If you’ve been on a career path that you know is not right for you, this is an incredible time (a sign sent from the universe?) to pause. To re-set. To breathe. To tap into how things have been going. To re-think. To adapt. To learn. To re-strategize.
  • Remember that this time will pass and that successful career exploration entails a process of learning about your potential options. By patiently and diligently going through steps of learning and reflection in a fluid manner, you can reach an outcome where you feel genuinely confident and clear about which career path will actually be exciting for you.
  • If you’re not sure which career paths are even potential options for you, reflect on your interests as it relates to things you love doing and content/topic areas you love. Translate these interests into potential roles and industries.
  • Once you have options for potential career paths, dabble in online research — what do these roles and industries entail?
  • Once you have some basic research done, embrace networking as a way to learn. This is a great time where people can easily connect with you virtually to lend some mentorship and words of advice. The goal of this type of networking is to learn about your options.
  • You may learn about things you like and things you don’t like — lean in closer to the areas that sound intriguing. Keep learning until you’re only strongly considering ONE option. If you’re still comparing options, you haven’t learned enough.
  • From there, you may be seriously considering a career path. THIS is the perfect time to try an online course, to gain skills and level up, and also to continue to learn what that job would actually entail and test whether you’d actually like doing it!

Career exploration takes time but it’s the best investment in your long term happiness.

No Time is Downtime: Leverage this Moment to (re)Strategize your Career

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Rachel Serwetz’ early professional experience was at Goldman Sachs in Operations and at Bridgewater Associates in HR. From there, she was trained as a coach at NYU and became a certified coach through the International Coach Federation. After this, she worked in HR Research at Aon Hewitt and attained her Technology MBA at NYU Stern. Throughout her career, she has helped hundreds of professionals with career exploration and for the past 4.5+ years she has been building her company, WOKEN, which is an online career exploration platform to coach professionals through the process of clarifying their ideal job and career path. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at Binghamton University and has served as a Career Coach through the Flatiron School, Columbia University, WeWork, and Project Activate.

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