It’s no secret that lives across the planet have been upended like never before, leaving everyone unsure about what the potential “new normal” will bring on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic.

And, for countless people in “non-essential” careers, the pandemic has erased 20.5 million jobs, with large-scale layoffs that have affected every sector of the economy skyrocketing the nation’s unemployment rate to 14.7%.

This rate is the highest since the 1940s, begging the question – How long will it be before 20.5 million jobs in the U.S. come back?

Moreover, while millions of the workers who filed for unemployment in April reported that they were only on a temporary layoff, many of these furloughed employees also indicated that their employers have not provided them with a specific return-to-work date. Unfortunately, drawing on a survey of businesses and historical data, economists at Stanford and the University of Chicago estimated that 42% of pandemic-induced layoffs will end up being permanent.

So, what can you do during furloughs or layoffs, and as you’re waiting to find out when, or if, you’ll be returning to the workplace? What kind of measures can you employ to ensure you’re still employable once restrictions are lifted? How can you reinvent your career after this black swan event and even choose a new path of opportunity? The simple answer is not to put your aspirations on hold.

As you’re stuck in place with ample time on your hands, take advantage and focus on your own career development.

How to Reinvent and Elevate Your Career in Preparation for the ‘New Normal’

Here are some suggestions to make sure you’re ahead of the curve as the world strives to return to business as usual.

  1. Reflect on your career goals. Are you where you want to be in your current career? Do you want to pursue an entirely different profession going forward? Rather than sticking to one single vision, ponder both the possible and the impossible and open yourself up to new opportunities.
  2. Take a class. It can be a class that simply enhances your current skills, one that adds additional skills to your resume, or perhaps one that sends your career in an entirely different direction. For instance, say you’re an administrative assistant in a real estate office —now’s the time to get your realtor’s license. If you’re already a realty agent, today is the ideal time to level up to your broker’s license.
  3. Beef up your resume. It’s typically challenging when you’re already working to consider all of the things you do on a daily basis and tasks that might benefit your resume. Contemplate which duties you’ve performed or sales that you’ve achieved since you last updated your resume and add those accomplishments to your work bio and Linkedin profile accordingly.
  4. Reconnect with contacts. You never know when reconnecting with that one person will help you with your career, so network, network, network. Use this time to not only solidify your close relationships but broaden and enrich your existing network. Add new perspective by drawing on dormant ties (previous supervisors and colleagues, friends and neighbors from your former addresses, or high school and college alumni you haven’t been in contact with over the last few years).
  5. Hire a career coach. In these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever to have a helping hand – someone that is focused on optimizing your existing personal and professional strengths while helping you to identify and evolve new or untapped capabilities. A career coach is someone you can trust to guide you to new levels of excellence in your current position, elevate you to that next phase of your career that has seemingly lingered just beyond your reach, or provide you with a roadmap to success as you embark on a new career journey.

CONVEX Leadership believes that coaching is an evolutionary, gradual process focused on bringing out the best in you and clarifying and aligning goals to set you on your path forward while driving lasting change and sustained improvement.

CONVEX Leadership’s Coaching Conversations is a partnership, so their conversations are focused on your future. They identify your assets and pinpoint opportunities for development, tackle and resolve potential roadblocks in your business and personal life, increase your impact, and push through plateaus with strategic thinking and leadership, all while propelling your “high potential” to the next level.

Learn more about how focus, clarity and growth drive the Coaching Conversation at CONVEX Leadership.