During the COVID-19 pandemic, we heard a lot about how things changed in the new normal of work life. Some of those changes were immediate responses to mitigate the impact of the pandemic but others might be more long-lasting. Here are some thoughts about how changes resulting from the pandemic have impacted job search.
- Continuing to work remotely. Now that we have proven that many jobs can be done remotely, there will be pressure for remote work options to continue, at least some of the time. For employees, the benefits of living in a different location from their employer may be hard to reverse. Remote locations can help with housing costs and provide flexibility to care for family, to name the obvious. For some employers, the ability to reduce commercial real estate costs are already being calculated. A hybrid work model is likely for many that blends some days in the workplace and some days remote each week.
- Having clear KPIs. Some roles lend themselves to remote work, such as knowledge work and tech jobs. Key to success is having appropriate KPIs to ensure that the work is getting done. Companies that outsourced their work figured that one out decades ago. The pandemic experience demonstrated that it is possible to work from home effectively, provided we have clear communication and transparent expectations.
- Remaining relevant. COVID-19 shone a bright light on some work that simply was not needed. If you have clear KPIs, you do not need a middle manager watching you work. In fact, some of the meetings that are part of office life can now be done more efficiently via video, or even be eliminated. Be sure to set clear boundaries, so you and your employer know when the workday starts and finishes, ensuring you switch on and off appropriately.
- Hiring, training, and leading teams. It will take some time to figure out how to manage in a hybrid work model. For example, the logistics of conducting a meeting with some people in the room and others online may require additional technology, as well as new leadership skills. More important, will be learning how to build cohesive teams with a hybrid workforce.
- Efficient networking and sales. The necessity for online rather than in-person meetings during the pandemic has enabled greater efficiency. Simply put, you can meet with multiple people online in the same amount of time it takes to travel to and from an in-person meeting. Online tools also enable you to network anywhere, not just in your local area. Post-pandemic, it is likely that networking, like work, will also be hybrid – a mix of online and in-person, dictated by the context of the meeting and the location of the participants.
- Finding new ways to make and save money. If you are in a revenue-generation role, it will be particularly important to demonstrate how you have made and preserved money for your employer – both through traditional and innovative means. But prospective employers will be interested in any employee who can show how they have taken the initiative to introduce cost-savings, however modest, by changing a process or introducing a new tool.
- Tolerance for ambiguity and complexity. The world of work has been growing more ambiguous and complex in recent decades, driven by exponential growth of technology. That uncertainty has accelerated recently as the pandemic has forced the abandonment of accepted norms, at least temporarily. With the beginning of the return to social normality, some familiar work practices have been resumed, but other pandemic-driven efficiencies, such as the ongoing need to minimize expenses and hybridization of work models, will be part of the new normal. Amid intensifying ambiguity and complexity, demonstrating how you solve problems, without precedent to guide you, will be expected.
New jobs that mash-up disparate functional specialties with emerging disciplines will continue to emerge as technological change continues apace. Keep abreast of the soft skills that the World Economic Forum identifies as essential to remaining employable in the age of AI. Instead of looking for that traditional job, you will prosper by being the person who seeks out and solves business problems. Increase your networking with decision makers – they may not know they need you until they meet you and discover what you can do for them.Career Advice | Job Search