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Should You Hit The ‘Refresh Button’ Professionally In 2021?

2020 was a difficult year for so many people, some in the worst ways imaginable.

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With the dawning of a new year, there is an opportunity for the old “New Year, New Me” resolution, that’s all about reinventing yourself for a new normal in 2021. The world as you knew it is gone. It has been replaced by a different, better world. 

Perhaps you lost your job in 2020 and have been hesitant to start looking for new work again. Good news — it’s 2021 and now is the time to start preparing yourself for the brave, new world! And with any luck, in the latter part of this year, as the world becomes vaccinated against the Coronavirus, life may even begin to return to “normal”. If you want to be prepared, here are some ways that you can get yourself back in the saddle. 

Carefully consider that next move 

If you’re starting off this year with a clean slate, that’s fantastic! It’s really important that you carefully consider what your next move will be. Let’s say you took the pandemic as an excuse to hit the reset button in some ways in your life. Perhaps you moved and are looking to start afresh in a new place for 2021. 

This is something you can certainly do, but you must be honest and upfront with yourself about how to go about it. Considering your next move means weighing up your job opportunities. You must consider the new reality of work in a world still reeling from the effects of COVID-19.  Do you have the skills to go online-only? Do you have the tools to reinvent the wheel for yourself? Can you re-educate yourself in a particular topic, if it helps you secure the job? All of these questions are ones you should answer as you evaluate this life-changing year.

Get familiar with tech 

If you’re not already, you should seek to familiarize yourself with the way things will be done going into 2021. That means video conferencing, online banking, online payment of wages, working-from-home. 

It means you’ll need to get comfortable with using Zoom, or Skype, or other video conferencing software. Zoom’s average daily virtual video interaction increased from 10 million in 2019, to 300 million in 2020! It is clear, therefore that one should be with the software(s) that one will be working with. It is a challenge, no doubt, but one that will only serve you well in the future. Adapt, overcome, survive. 

Dress to impress 

Just because you can wear your pajamas to work, because you’re working from home, doesn’t mean that you should. Or, just because you’ve spent a lot of time not working this year, doesn’t mean that you should get complacent. 

An online job interview is as serious as an in-person one. You have to make up for the fact that you’re not presenting yourself physically by presenting yourself extra-well virtually. Dress in a suit, or at the very least, a dress-shirt, be in a comfortable but professional environment with an orderly backdrop, like a bookcase or even a plain white or black backdrop. 

Be as prepared for the interview as you would be if you were visiting the office. A study from 2013 found that 38% of respondents said that tone of a voice played a really important role in their first impressions of people. This is particularly necessary when conducting a virtual interview. Prepare well and you’ll nail the virtual interview just as well as you would in-person. 

Set yourself up to succeed 

It is worth noting that many people (and you may have been among them), have taken this time of a global shutdown to re-center themselves and reinvent themselves, or, have completely shut themselves off from the outside world out of fear. Both are completely valid responses to an international health crisis. 

However, this reaction could be used to your advantage. It gives you time to prepare for your new potential jobs, when other people are not doing so, thereby giving you an advantage. The only person who can set yourself up for success is you. 

Consider branching out 

People are always looking for new talent and if you’re looking for new ways to reinvent yourself following a hectic year, trying something new is a great start. If you’ve never taken a leadership role, becoming a project manager might be a good opportunity, especially if you think you’ve got the skills and leadership potential or experience to do so, whyever not? 

Final remarks

Branching out and trying something new is what should follow a year like the one we’ve all just had. Life, as we have all discovered, is far too short to do something that makes you unhappy. 

Getting back in the saddle after a year like 2020 can be hard, but it isn’t impossible and it entirely depends on your outlook. You should look at 2021 as the year of making positive changes for the betterment of your life, starting with a new career direction, perhaps.

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