How To Pandemic-Proof Your Career Plans

There’s no running away from the reality that COVID-19 may have wrecked existing career plans, or at least indefinitely postponed them. PMETs, for instance, made up almost half of retrenchments in the second quarter of 2020, according to recent Manpower Ministry figures reported by CNA.

The pandemic has also crippled industries like aviation, retail, and manufacturing. At the same time, though, other industries, like e-commerce and online gaming, are thriving—pointing to the fact that career adaptability is indispensable in weathering the current storm.


On the other hand, planning for your career in the midst of a global pandemic can be disorienting, to say the least. In that regard, here are four tips on how to pandemic-proof your career plans.

P.S. Set yourself up for long-term career success; sign up today for SSA Academy’s WSQ course on maintaining personal presentation and employability!


1. Leave the fixed mindset behind

Mindsets—more than just manners—maketh man. In times of crisis and volatility, the most critical factor to ensuring longevity is staying mentally agile. A growth mindset is crucial in this regard.

According to Yale psychologist Carol Dweck, growth-minded people believe that their skills and talents are dynamic and can be improved over time. They have more positive attitudes towards failure and setbacks—including global pandemics—viewing them as opportunities for learning and progress.


Fixed-minded people, though, tend to interpret obstacles on the career path primarily as reflections of an inherent lack in themselves.

Failing is like a death sentence to those with fixed mindsets, and it soon becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy since they often refuse to try again—therefore engendering more failure—instead of rising to the occasion and embracing change.


If the pandemic seems to have thrown a spanner into your career plans, don’t throw your vision for the future away; take it as an opportunity to introspect, regroup, and re-envision your future self.

Go back to the drawing board and re-align yourself with your purpose. Find new ways to do meaningful work and achieve new heights in the current situation. Don’t be afraid to adapt.


2. Diversify your portfolio

At some point, many of us have probably considered the possibility of having alternative sources of income, making career switches, or entering new markets and industries. For whatever reason, though, they remained pipe dreams; maybe there was never any time, or maybe you never really felt the need to, until now.


Necessity is the mother of invention. Indeed, many have successfully made the career-switch transition in the months since the pandemic reached our shores.

Jumping into a different career path altogether may not be a financially viable for everyone, though. If it’s too financially risky for you in your current situation to do the same, look at how you can make small inroads into new sectors or diversify your portfolio; look for freelancing jobs or take the first baby steps to start that side hustle you always dreamt of.


3. Level yourself up and take charge of your skills-upgrading

Ensuring that you have the requisite skills to stay in demand in such volatile times is paramount to career adaptability. Given the sheer uncertainty of the future at this point, you need to be able to pivot as and when the situation calls for it.

Without arming yourself with the right job skills to remain relevant, though, you’ll be at a relative disadvantage in the workforce.


Identify your existing skills gap vis-a-vis the demands of the current economy; which of your current skills should you build up on? How can you expand your existing skill sets? What resources are available to you, from your current employers or from the government, to pick up skills-upgrading courses?

Once you’ve got a clearer idea of how to fortify your skill sets, take your pick from SSA Academy’s roster of WSQ courses to turn into your skills-upgrading plans into a reality.


4. Get strategic about networking

Establishing new relationships is harder now than it was before; professional networking events are now on the back-burner, and you can’t take people out for coffee anymore.

Indeed, networking, like most knowledge work, has shifted almost entirely online—but that doesn’t mean it’s no longer relevant to your career plans.


According to LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, networking in the current climate is “a two-step strategic process.”

First, consider what you could do or who you could talk to to open up new doors to different job opportunities. Then, think about how you can provide value in such situations or to different people so that it gets you noticed.


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