We can't change the fact that the pandemic and the quarantine are here, at least for a little while longer. With so many people forced to work from home, many people are trying to figure out how to make this time useful in their careers. Rightfully so, many people are wondering how they can move up and advance when they don't even see their boss and co-workers face to face?

I think it's fair for a lot of people to wonder how this might affect their career long-term.

Will it be harder to communicate with your boss?

Will it be harder to get noticed for a promotion?

Will you lose collaboration and creativity with your coworkers?

These are all valid questions and this article will lay out four ideas of how you can take simple steps to stay on top of your career and still advance through the ranks even in a virtual environment.

First, take this time at home to work on your resume and LinkedIn profile. Most people put this off until they are in a job search. This is a mistake. Working from home gives you the privacy and flexibility to spend a few minutes updating your resume. Even if your goal is to move up in your current company, you want to be ready when the opportunity comes and they may ask for your resume even if you are a current employee. Another benefit of updating your resume while on the job is that you have access to metrics and achievements that you'll want to showcase. Once you separate from a job, you will lose access to that and have to rely on memory!

Second, find as many ways as possible to find ways to add more value.  You always want to be asking yourself, Am I adding enough value? Am I indispensable? How could I be doing my job more efficiently or more accurately? You might have to make even more of an effort to do this when you're not in person. That's why you need to be ever more vigilant of it working remotely. Is your contribution visible enough to the team? Since you can't see each other, you may have to be more proactive and make sure that your value is being recognized. This could mean speaking up more in staff meetings or following up with your boss and making sure that everything is satisfactory. Depending on the line of work you're in, there are a lot of ways you can do this. Always be mindful of how you are showing up for your job and ask yourself if there are anyways it can be improved.

Third, focus on communication that is proactive and reliable. Even if your boss doesn't offer a regular check-in with you, might want to be the one to initiate it. Having regular weekly or at least bi-weekly check-ins with your supervisor is a really good idea especially in a remote environment. Communication isn't built in the way it used to be so you may have to schedule it yourself. Don't wait for other people on your team.  Be consistent and reliable in terms of your availability. Since people can't walk right into your office and find you, you need to make it clear when you are available and what the best way to reach you is. Do you prefer phone? Do you prefer online chat systems? Or email? Let people know how and when to reach you and be as consistent as possible in terms of being available and responsive during that time. This doesn't mean that you're available 24/7, not even close. It just means that you are very clear in setting your work schedule and your boundaries and communicating that to other people, so they know what to expect from you. This will dramatically improve the trust and communication that you have with your coworkers.

Finally, focus on professional development. Identify one area of your career where you think you could improve. Is there a do skill that you want to learn? It could be a soft skill like communication or something more job-specific. Identify your weakest area and come up with an action plan to improve it. Is there a book that you could read? Is there someone who could mentor you? Is there an online course that you could take? LinkedIn Learning has a lot of simple courses and there are other sites that offer free and low-cost online courses. This is the time to really put your professional development at the forefront. And don't wait for your employer to pay for it, either. If you have tuition reimbursement benefits, awesome go for it! If not, do it anyway. Your career is your responsibility. Balancing school or training with your work and home responsibilities is probably a lot easier when you're already working from home versus having to leave every day to go to the office. No more commute time!

Nobody knows exactly when we'll return to the office, but in the meantime, demonstrate that you can work well remotely. You can do this by being a proactive communicator, having regular check-ins with your boss, keeping your documents up to date, and focusing on your professional development.

For more help on this, listen to episode 89 of the Career UpRising podcast: Advance Your Career While Working From Home on iTunes or right here at careeruprising.com/podcast.


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