How to prepare for your future career as an MSc student while in lockdown

06 May 2020

It may feel like you need to put your job hunt on hold during lockdown, but there are plenty of things you can do to increase your employability and prepare for your future career during this period. 

Here are some ideas for how you can make the most of your time in lockdown to give you an advantage in your job search after completing your MSc course.

Work on your market knowledge

Now more than ever, your commercial awareness is really important if you are to successfully navigate the changing business landscape and identify where the opportunities lie.  Read the news, follow your target companies on social media and read the trade press.  The more you know, the better placed you are to spot trends, identify target companies and adjust your plans where necessary.

Polish your LinkedIn profile

Keep working on your personal branding on LinkedIn.  If you have a great LinkedIn profile employers can find you too, even those companies you had not yet thought about but who might turn out to be some of the winners, rather than losers, in this situation. Discover more about how to use LinkedIn to build your professional network during lockdown.

Network, carefully

Once your LinkedIn profile is ready, now is a good time to start connecting with alumni from your previous university, former colleagues and employers and anyone else in your network, to try and find out more about what is happening in their industry – you may be surprised by how helpful people will be.  However, it’s important to be tactful and to keep in mind that some of the people you contact may be dealing with very challenging situations so don’t take it personally if they are unable to talk to you right away. 

Re-evaluate and refine your plans

Look for the opportunities that are emerging and evolving, rather than sticking firmly to your plan A or B.  Now is the time to practise those skills that recruiters are so focused on resilience and flexibility!  If your chosen industry has been hit hard by COVID-19, start thinking about other industries that might value your skills and offer you similar opportunities, or which might present a route into your first choice industry a little later on.

Develop your skills

If you find you have more spare time than usual, now is a great time to take on some extra training.  If there are skills that are required in your target career, which you feel you need to build on, look at online courses on platforms such as Coursera.  As well as developing specific skills, you’ll be able to demonstrate to employers that you are self-motivated and committed to your own professional development.

Look after yourself

Staying positive and motivated during these difficult times can be challenging, so make sure you are in the best shape to tackle the recruitment process by taking the time to look after your physical and mental wellbeing. 

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