While many industries often worked from home before covid (think freelancers, virtual assistants, etc.) many people are new to the work from home experience. If you’re used to physically being around people all the time in an office environment, working from home can feel stagnant, and the idea of progressing your career while working from home can feel impossible. With that said, I’m here to tell you that you can progress your career while working from home, and it’s actually easier to do than you might think!
When you want to progress your career while working from home, the first step is to determine the direction you want to take your career. If you want to progress, that’s great, however, it’s important to determine what that means to you. Do you want to move forward on the same path you’re on? Do you want to make a shift? Are you interested in making more of a lateral move that actually feels like a progression for you because it’s more in line with your long term goals? Take some time to strategize and build yourself a roadmap so you can visually see where you want to take your career.
Once you’ve determined what kind of move you want to make and/or what kind of progression you’re interested in, it’s important to assess your skills and evaluate what kind of skills you will need to move forward. When looking at promotional job opportunities, do you notice that the job descriptions require a certain skill, software, experience, or certification? It’s important to determine these requirements prior to applying so that you can be proactive and work to obtain those skills. While working from home, you may find that you have more flexibility with your day, which may allow you to block off certain periods of time to obtain the skills you need to progress in your career.
For example, if you need experience with blogging or website management, this might be the time to work on building and managing a personal website to use as your portfolio. This will allow you to build upon and hone your skills while adding to your portfolio/application package. Depending on what kind of job you’re interested in applying to, you can even add this into your resume as a job with the title “Freelance Web Designer,” “Blogger,” or other job titles that can help progress your career in the right direction.
Online courses and tutorials are everywhere, and many platforms offer free resources that you can easily take advantage of while working from home! Check out this list of free online courses and tutorials that you can take. In most cases, if you simply do an online search for “free [topic] course”, you’ll come across a lot of different options to broaden your knowledge and build your skill set in order to add this information to your resume.
Depending on how big your company is, what kind of restructuring has happened due to covid, and what kind of workload employees are taking on, it’s likely that people are taking on more tasks and wearing more hats than normal. Because many people are taking on more while working from home, this is a great time to communicate and ask others how you can help. Working with cross-functional teams is a highly covetable skill/experience to add to your resume. Additionally, asking others in different departments how you can help them is a great way to build cross-functional relationships that may help you make a jump from one department to another if you’re trying to make a career shift.
If you’re trying to make a lateral move into another department, consider reaching out to the other department’s team. Ask if there is anything you can assist with. Explain that you’re trying to gain more experience in a certain area, and you would love to lend some help if they can use it. If you can make a specific offering, that’s great, but if not, just open up the conversation and see how you can support them. By doing so, you will be able to add this experience to your resume to help progress your career while working from home, all while building communication and trust among your cross-functional team members.
How has your work-from-home been going lately? Any other advice for progressing in your career right now?