How has the pandemic impacted career opportunities? What skills can help you succeed in a post-Covid world? How can you advance in the world of work? – These were some of the key topics of discussion in the Let’s Talk Careers in a Post-Covid World event hosted by The Inclusion Initiative at LSE.
With an all-star panel of practitioners and academics, it was an interesting discussion ranging from the importance of curiosity, how to deal with imposter syndrome, to some grounding advice on not trying to do to much and over-committing to timelines unnecessarily.
Here’s a round-up of the highlights from each speaker:
- Entrepreneurship is not about taking a risk. In the current climate, developing additional revenue streams creates safety – if something fails than you have other things holding you up.
- An entrepreneur side venture does not require a lot of money, or investors, or risks – it requires finding the smallest possible way to test and validate your idea.
- When changing careers, it is on you to shape the narrative and pro-actively help people understand how your experience can benefit and bring a perspective to the new industry. If you can help them see it, they will accept it, but they won’t get there on their own.
- For older people, there might be a perception that you might not be keeping up with technology, so it’s important to over-index and demonstrate your abilities to re-set cognitive expectations and disrupt the stereotypes which might be being applied to you.
- If you are starting your career during COVID-19 ask yourself how you can mitigate risk for your employer. Enable them to test-drive the experience of working with you by sharing your ideas on social media and building your personal brand. Increase the sense of safety for the future by showing them who you are and how you can help.
- When we talk about career management, it is important to consider how it applies to the average British person and the challenges they face: financial, physical health and mental health.
- Framing is key, and gatekeepers need to change their framing. Consider broader examples of leadership, problem-solving and resilience skills beyond the elite folk.
- Career management is going to be challenging for a lot of under-estimated people in society. To move forward we have a responsibility to hear them, and act upon their lived experience by recognise their challenges and framing them into skills that fit into the workplace.
- In a post-covid world, gatekeepers need to reflect on their privileges and allow those you are under-estimated to have access to opportunity, putting the spotlight on the roadblocks in their way.
- When thinking about your personal brand, figure out what is your promise and what have you delivered. Frame your previous experience, being work experience, lived experience and resilience through your struggles to make it count.
- Just because you are not in a position of power it doesn’t mean you won’t be heard or have power.
- I would urge people to think about the voice in their head, which has grown louder during lockdown. What is it saying and how can you use a trigger to change it to something positive?
- If you have a presentation coming up and the voice in your head is undermining you, think of a positive feeling like “I have to give people this information” to focus on as opposed to the fear and nervousness.
- Deal with imposter syndrome by thinking about how you are bringing a fresh perspective to the table or speaking up for an under-represented group.
- Ego and status might hold you back if you are changing to an industry where other people are younger but might have a more experience. Be patient, the first few years are hard, but at some point, your previous experience really counts, and you will become a better professional.
- The easiest way to un-learn is by having a network that is very diverse and has different perspectives to you. This can help you figure out what you might have to work on.
- The relative comparisons we do with other people are not just bad for our progress but also our mental health and wellbeing. If you are always trying to “keep up with the Joneses”, once you have out-run them, you will always find someone ahead of you to compare yourself with.
- Soft skills are not about what work we do, but how we work. The three important P’s are pitch, people and pivotability.
- You might have the greatest ideas, but they become meaningless without the ability to communicate and inspire others.
- Design an environment around you that makes it impossible for you not to succeed. If you are somewhere where you think you’ve already learned everything, there is only so much you can grow.
- Your environment encompasses what you read, your online community, the podcast you listen to, etc. – surround yourself physically or virtually with thinkers you admire.
- When approaching people you want to connect with, tailor your approach by figuring out what is important to them and how you might be able to contribute to that.
- Work today is uncertain, unpredictable, and not everyone wants to develop in the same way. Taking advantage of this can help people make a career as individual as they are: accepting the uncertainty and shifting your energy to what is in your control.
- Become a continual learner by having a learn, unlearn and re-learn list: What am I learning, what do I need to unlearn, and what assumptions by be holding be back and I might need to re-learn.
- Build your network not based on who you know but how you help: Think of what problems other people have that your strengths can help solve to build relationships.
- Focus on how you stand out: Your strengths stick with you as you transition between careers, they have the power to create opportunities.
- Don’t treat lists of transferable skills as a tick-list: Start with the aspects you are curious about exploring in your career and use those as a lens to look through in developing those skills making them more useful to you.
- Unlearn getting everything done, it is impossible. Have a to-do list and a to-done list. Be as proud of what you have done as much as you focus on the things that you have not.
- Unhook yourself from career comparison and don’t compete with people who you can collaborate it.
My key takeaway from all the speakers was that at time of uncertainty, it is not impossible to regain some control over our careers: Focusing on resilience, being open and curious to learn new skills and ventures and re-framing experiences and emotions so they help achieve personal goals are all things we can start doing now. The full event is available here.
About the author
Teresa Almeida is a Research Officer in Behavioural Science at The Inclusion Initiative (TII). She holds an MSc in Behavioural Science from the London School of Economics where she conducted research into decision-making and trust in automation. Her research is focused on inclusion, with particular interest in understanding how individual differences and contextual factors impact labour market outcomes. Teresa is also interested in the intersection between behavioural science and the adoption and use of technology.
Her background is in management and behavioural science, and she focuses on using secondary data and experimental approaches from both economics and psychology to more effectively understand, measure and design behavioural change.