What can I do now to prepare for my future?

This article was last updated on 30 June 2020.

It’s easy to feel a bit lost at the moment. Whether you were planning to work, study, or do something totally different, there's a good chance the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted your plans.

With lots of things on hold, you've probably found yourself wanting to take steps towards your future but not being sure where to start. Just processing all the recent change is a lot to take in, but, if you've got a bit of headspace, why not try some of the tips below to get things moving for the future?

Skill up online

Finding yourself on your fifth social media scrolling session of the day? We’ve all been there. Whilst you’re online, why not mix up your screen time and check out some free, virtual courses?

With a 2019 study finding that 82% of job vacancies require digital skills and roles requiring such skills pay 29% more than those that don’t, genning up in this area could really help you get ahead. There are lots of different courses available, covering a wide array of subjects and skills. For example, The Skills Toolkit, launched by the government during lockdown, includes a range of digital courses, from introductory to advanced levels, in everything from digital marketing to coding.

Don't worry if you feel like you haven't got much time. Whether you've got a few minutes or a few days, there are options out there that you can fit around the rest of your life.

Volunteer

Voluntary work can be a great way to give something back whilst also building up experience and figuring out what sort of roles you might enjoy doing in the future.

Lots of people have been finding creative ways to adapt their previous voluntary work during the pandemic or have been inspired to set up new projects to help their communities.

Need some inspiration? Hear from #iwill ambassadors about their experiences of volunteering during COVID-19.

Consider your priorities

If you’re thinking ahead to job opportunities, identifying your key priorities first could help you shape your search.

You could start by making two lists – things that matter to you in a job and things that matter to you in your wider life. For example, your work list could include 'working flexible hours' or 'having a short commute', whilst your lifestyle list could include 'having time for friends and family', 'living close to home' or 'having chance to travel'.

Once you've written your lists, rank each item from 1-5 to reflect how important they feel to you (with 5 being the most important) and order them according to which scored the highest. Using this system could help you pinpoint your top criteria for job searches and get you one step closer to finding the right role for you.

Up your CV game

Whether you’re just getting started writing a CV or you have an old one in need of a revamp, it’s always worth spending a bit of time making sure it represents you in the best way possible. If you’re looking to polish your CV or online job profiles, check out our CV tips and advice from careers experts to get started.

Not feeling confident about your skills? You probably have far more than you realise! Employers are keen to see your ‘transferable skills’ – skills you’ve developed throughout your life that can be used in many different roles or situations. For some inspiration about skills you didn’t know you had check out our article from Nick Newman, founder and CEO of National Careers Week.

Remember to give evidence of every skill you mention on your CV. For example, you might demonstrate that you’re reliable and trustworthy by referencing work you’ve done babysitting, being responsible for younger children. It may be useful to ask your friends and family what skills they’ve seen you show too to give you more ideas and a confidence boost!

Practise virtual interviews

Even the most seasoned interviewers haven’t necessarily done a virtual interview before. Much as it spares you the awkward, sweaty handshake (phew!), getting to grips with online interviews comes with its own set of challenges. Getting ahead of the game by doing a practice run could help you feel much calmer for any future virtual interviews.

Not sure how to get started? Check out our article on top tips for acing an online interview.

Think outside the box

Adaptability is the name of the game right now. Being able to rethink some of your existing activities and skills might provide the answer you’re looking for. Would it be possible to change some of your existing projects to make them social distancing-friendly? Or do you have any hobbies you could make some money from? For example, if you’re great at playing an instrument, you could teach others online. Or if you’ve already completed your exams, you could help tutor younger students who are worried about falling behind.

For some inspiration, check out how these young people have adapted their jobs during lockdown.

Remember your value

Difficult circumstances don’t mean you don’t have anything to offer. An unusual time for recruitment could be just the moment to make your mark. Keep faith in your own abilities and skills so you can confidently let potential colleges, universities or employers know what you can do.

Catch up with The Mind Set for tips on self-care and self-confidence during stressful times.

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