By Greg Stuart
While I’m not that old, just over 40, I can’t remember living in a crazier time. This pandemic has affected how we go about our daily life in so many different ways.
The closest thing I have to compare to this crazy time is the post 9/11 era. While COVID-19 has changed all of our travel plans, it has also changed how we function in the everydayness of life too. Most prevalently, the way in which we work and communicate has drastically changed. Remote work filled with Zoom meetings and Webex presentation have become the norm. I have enjoyed working from home because it has allowed me much more flexibility. No sitting in traffic or heading back and forth from the airport (I travel a lot for work). When I’m done for the day, I’m left with time that I normally don’t have. So, what should we do with that time? It’s a perfect time to refresh your skills and update your resume.
Remote Work Is the Best Time to Refresh Your Resume
Since the shift to remote work, I’ve taken three certification exams and added them to my resume. My skills are growing because I have time to do a lot more self-study than I had before. Here are some ideas as to how you can use this quarantine/pandemic to refresh your skills and update your resume.
Study & Learn
There is no better time than now to get online and learn something new. If you have ever thought about learning coding, there are free online resources for that. Try Code Academy. They have a large library of practice labs and exercises to teach you how to code. They offer classes in Java, Python, Perl, Ruby, and more. If cybersecurity is your thing, you can go to sites like PluralSight and Udemy to learn about the latest cybersecurity initiatives and training. Maybe being online all day for work and then staying online after work to study isn’t your thing. I get that. I prefer to crack open a book and study up on my next certification goal.
Grow Your Network
Having extra time on your hands will give you an opportunity to reach out to people within your professional network and catch up. Reaching out to someone within your network gives you an opportunity to update them on what you have been up to and find out what they are doing. Maybe you are working on projects of interest to each other and you can swap notes and ideas. In the event you are planning to be back on the job market, refreshing your professional network helps to keep multiple sets of eyes out for the best next opportunity for you. Updating your professional network helps to grow it and keep it strong. The best thing you can do is cultivate a strong professional network that you can call on for help and/or guidance from time to time.
Build a Home Lab
If you have extra time and extra money lying around, build yourself a home lab to keep up to date on the latest and greatest technologies out there. Even if you don’t have a lot of extra money, you can always download a trial license of VMware Workstation and start building yourself a nested lab that you can use to build virtual servers and appliances to further your learning. Find an older PC that you might have lying around and throw Workstation on it, and you are off to a good start. Some companies even give a lab allowance to their employees for licenses and hosting.
Attend a Virtual Event
Lastly, with this pandemic still going strong, there are many opportunities to attend a conference virtually that you might not have been able to physically. VMworld 2020 has gone virtual and has opened registration up to anyone for free (no, you don’t get a backpack!). There are other events you can attend as well, such as networking events in which you join a Zoom meeting to sync up with others in your field and learn from one another.
Balancing Personal Life with Resume Refresh Goals
There are so many things you can do to optimize your time during this phase so you are ready for a resume refresh. Find something you can do to balance learning and growing your sphere of influence within your field. At the same time, remember to enjoy your family and friends and be safe.