Are you looking for projects to keep your productivity levels high and that will help you use your spare time wisely? Nows the perfect time to focus on your professional development, setting yourself up for opportunities that may arise once the world gets back to its normal routine. Taking small steps towards your career development can make all the difference for when the time comes to return to work or look for a new position.
We explore a few activities you can do in your spare time that will count towards your professional development and make your days at home all the more worthwhile.
Complete a course
Highlighting the completion of a course on your CV and LinkedIn has many more benefits than you think. This achievement not only shows potential employers and recruitment consultants that you are proactive and motivated to learn, but also that you are determined to progress in your profession, master new skills and boost your knowledge.
The great thing about taking on a course is flexibility, as most online courses are now self-paced and can be submitted at any time, fitting around any lifestyle. Especially with many of us spending even more time at home, courses are extremely convenient and allow you to contribute to your qualification whenever suits you. Courses are also relatively well priced, depending on the level of certification and the subject, with some not costing anything at all!
Courses are a fantastic achievement to add to your CV and LinkedIn profile and could make you stand out more against your competition. Which leads us into the next activity to conquer whilst at home...
Update your CV and LinkedIn
A simple yet effective way to enhance your professional development is to update your current CV and LinkedIn page. You may want to add in achievements you've gained over the years, adjust your current ambitions and aspirations or renew your references to include your most recent employers. All of these quick fixes and updates can boost your chances of being noticed by employers and recruitment specialists. Remember to also upload your new and updated CV to job boards you may have signed up to, such as CV-Library and Indeed, to let recruiters know you are on the lookout for fresh opportunities and keen to be contacted regarding any upcoming roles.
Especially throughout times like these, it's easy for our motivation and confidence levels to drop - remind yourself of all your accomplishments and document a recent project you've worked on that showcased your expertise and skill. You should make a habit of updating your CV and LinkedIn every few months, to ensure you don't forget about the projects you've undertaken and how far you've grown over time.
Build your network
As you may have read in our 'Optimising your LinkedIn Profile' article, you will know that LinkedIn is an extremely powerful source for networking, connecting and discovering opportunities. And when you need to up your professional development, networking on LinkedIn is a quick and simple way to get your name out there! Start by following pages you are interested in, connect with industry leaders and engage with your favourite brands online. You can also join specific groups and start to engage and interact with others that share the same interests. This will make your feed more tailored to the industries you like and the companies within these industries.
To honour your previous or current colleagues, LinkedIn allows you to 'endorse' certain skills and knowledge. This is a great way to boost others confidence and show appreciation to your fellow peers, and you can even request they return the favour, to promote your expertise on your own page.
Learn a new skill
Have you ever wanted to learn a new skill, but struggled to find the time to do it? Now could be the perfect time to start! Building your professional development doesn't need to be limited to career-driven projects, you could use your time to learn a new language to boost your chances of an international move, or learn how to photoshop to make your marketing material stand out more.
Maybe you've always wanted to improve your writing skills? Why not start a blog and practise before applying your efforts when you return to work? There are plenty of options for new skills to conquer throughout this time, and no matter how big or small, you'll be improving your personal and professional development along the way.
We understand that amid the current circumstances, volunteering will not be for everyone whether that's to protect the safety of your family at home, looking after your children or even having to deal with financial issues. However, if you are looking for that next project to keep yourself productive whilst providing invaluable assistance to the many key workers in your local area, then volunteering could be for you.
Get in contact with your local shops, charities or health centres to explore the opportunities out there. Even if it's just for a couple of days a week, you'll be doing your bit to support your community and the most vulnerable in time of need.
This is also a great achievement to add to your CV and LinkedIn - even though you'll miss out on some extra pennies, you'll gain it back in gratitude, recognition and dedication.