If you have been furloughed, due to coronavirus, then you are no doubt feeling concerned about your future career.
However, firstly, you are not alone. It’s too early for accurate figures, but the Financial Times has estimated that half of all companies are furloughing staff.
Secondly, it’s possible to use this time, whilst you are still receiving a large amount of pay, to boost your CV and your future career.
Just because now is an incredibly difficult time to job hunt, it doesn’t mean you don’t have opportunities to help yourself, should furlough turn into redundancy. Let’s consider some options to help whilst you are on furlough:
· Dust off your CV
CVs are only in date for a very short window of time. Chances are that yours has been gathering dust. Now is the time to revamp a master CV, taking into account your most recent experience.
Whilst you’re at it, you could consider some other job-hunting admin. Remind yourself who the main recruiters are in your field, prepare answers for common interview questions, and create some cover letter templates.
· Polish your LinkedIn profile
Similarly, your LinkedIn profile probably needs some attention. LinkedIn algorithms favour profiles which are active. So as well as getting your profile up to date, get busy on there. Comment on others in your industry and perhaps consider writing and publishing an article or two.
· Expand your experience by freelancing
You cannot work for your employer while on furlough. Check your contract, but it may be possible to ask your employer for permission to work for someone else, in a freelance capacity. You may not be able to work in your direct field, given the need to furlough, however, think about broadening your skills. These will then become invaluable on your CV for the future.
· Attend virtual events and webinars
Every day, new virtual events and webinars are springing up. It’s never been a better time to absorb yourself in these opportunities. It will help push away any mounting boredom and boost your employability in the process.
· Get learning
Also available in enormous quantities are online courses. Whatever you want to learn, there’s bound to be something. What’s more, many providers are offering their courses at a lower cost, or even free, during lockdown. Think about what skills and knowledge will help your future career and then get hunting. Good places to start looking are Udemy and Open Learn. It would be great if you can demonstrate that you used furlough wisely, by gaining additional qualifications or certifications.
· Read and write
Don’t let your mind go stale during furlough. Instead, use this time to read about developments in your industry or about an aspect of your business that you would benefit from knowing more about.
Don’t stop there either. You can then create an industry specific blog post, about what you’ve read, passing on the knowledge to others. Publish this on LinkedIn, as a guest post in industry-specific blogs, or start your own.
· Keep in touch with your employer
While on furlough, you cannot work for your employer. However, it is important to show that you are still committed to the business and its long term success. Some of the steps above, such as writing industry-relevant news articles, and further training, will help to demonstrate this to your employer. However, also staying in touch will help. Then, if the worst comes to the worst, and redundancies have to be made, you’ve shown yourself to be at the back of the line.
Furlough is an unsettling time. However, it needn’t spell disaster for your career. Use the time sensibly and you’ll come through this time in a better position than ever!
About the author
Andrew Fennell is the founder of CV writing advice website StandOut CV – he is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to websites like Business Insider, The Guardian and FastCompany.
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