In the matter of just a few months, life has changed dramatically. As states shut down and people engage in social distancing, technology has become an invaluable tool in our ability to connect with others, but also to conduct our lives and move forward. COVID-19 has forced people around the country, and around the world, to live and work in radically different ways. While these rapid changes can spark feelings of anxiety for many survivors who have been or are now looking for work, it is important to stay positive and remember that not everything has to feel stagnant, there is still the opportunity to take advantage of this time.
Many companies have had to quickly adjust and allow employees to work from home, investing in technology systems and support to facilitate remote work. For those looking for work, this may mean that the hiring process will be slowed or on hold for some time, however you can still proceed forward with other aspects of the job search. This can be a time for professional improvement and development, to make you a more appealing candidate when companies are ready to begin hiring again. To help you start thinking about how to improve your skills while under stay-at-home directives, consider the following:
Basic tech skills –Productivity software, such as Microsoft Office and Google Suite, are often considered basic skills and something many, if not most, employers look for in prospective employees. If you are not familiar with these programs or not confident in your current skill level, now is the time to brush up on some skills that you feel could use improvement.
Job specific software knowledge – Some jobs may require the use of very specific programs. If there’s a job you have your eye on, understand what types of software or programs they want you to have a familiarity with. This information can be gathered by going through a job description line-by-line for a more concrete understanding of the hard skills they're looking for.
Knowledge of the market – Knowledge is power! Look into industry blogs or articles to find out what would make you most competitive in the market (social media marketing tools, graphic design programs, coding, etc.). Get in the habit of following companies and industries so you have a better sense of trends, updates, and any other pertinent information that would allow you keen insight into what they're looking for and the directions they may be heading.
With the above in mind, if you are considering refreshing your skills or gaining the skills you need for your potential new job, you may find the following free online options for trainings and education during COVID-19 online course providers helpful:
- The Microsoft Office 365 Training Center offers training and tutorials for Office 365.
- Edx is a massive open online course (MOOC) provider with over 2,500 online courses.
- Coursera, another online course provider, is currently offering free online learning and community resources.
For more options, check out the Muse’s article on the 14 Best Sites for Taking Online Classes That'll Boost Your Skills and Get You Ahead.
Cancer and Careers also provides many job search and career resources to help you through this process. Be sure to check out our free Resume Review Service, Job Search Toolkit publication, articles available in the Looking for Work section of our website, and our Ask a Career Coach online forum.
Additionally, useful insight can be gained from our patient-focused webinars through our Balancing Work & Cancer Webinar Series. Register for our upcoming live webinars scheduled throughout the year., you can view the recordings of past sessions such as our webinar on the job search and career change in our Video Archive.