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How can you shape your role for the post-Covid world?

12 Aug 2020

Hays’ Jane McNeill shares her advice for carving out your role after Covid-19, whether you to want to keep recent job changes in place or not.

With many people being assigned new duties and responsibilities during this crisis, it is natural that they are beginning to question if these will remain part of their role in the longer term.

If your own work duties have changed in some way during the pandemic, the lockdown period will have hopefully given you the opportunity to reflect on those changes and how they fit with your career ambitions and goals – if they do at all.

For some, the changes to their role have been welcomed. Such changes may have allowed them to utilise untapped skills while gaining experience in different areas and generally pushing themselves out of their comfort zone.

Others, however, will have decided that the changes to their role resulting from the coronavirus crisis aren’t aligned with the direction they want to take their career. They may not have enjoyed the experience and might feel that their skills were better utilised in their pre-crisis role, and so understandably want to return to their former duties as soon as possible.

Either way, you could have the opportunity after the Covid-19 crisis to initiate a permanent change to your role that will help move your career forward in the right direction.

Holding on to recent shifts

If you’re keen to keep the changes to your job that arose due to coronavirus-related disruption – whether that’s working in a different department or in a role with a different focus – then it’s important to formally and professionally vocalise your wishes.

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You can do this by organising a meeting with your manager. Let them know in advance what you would like to discuss and then prepare to argue your case. This preparation should allow you to do the following during the meeting:

  • Evidence how you have been successful in your modified role and added value to the business, both qualitatively and quantitatively
  • Share feedback that you have gathered from colleagues or teams you have worked with
  • Articulate which of your existing skills have been beneficial in the role and which new skills you’ve developed
  • Give insight into how your new role may progress or develop as the business emerges from lockdown – what other value can you provide and how can you expand what you’re doing to anticipate the future needs of the business
  • Communicate how you have adapted to your new or altered job and your success in doing so – adaptability will be key in the new era of work
  • Explain how this role fits in with your long-term career aspirations

Moving past the changes

Alternatively, your time spent working in another role or focusing on slightly different priorities may have led you to decide that your skills would still be best used in your pre-Covid-19 role.

If you have reached this conclusion, your preparation for your meeting with your manager should allow you to:

  • Articulate how you have enjoyed the challenge of your changed role and adapted well, but feel that your pre-crisis role better suits you and allows you to add greater value to the business
  • Explain the value your pre-crisis job brings to the organisation

Talk through how your role might develop in the new era of work and how it can help to future-proof the business going forward. For instance, are you able to effectively argue that the role is indispensable and that you are keen to move it forward in a way that is beneficial to the business?

Make clear how the skills you developed during the Covid-related disruption will help you perform your pre-lockdown job even better than before. Indeed, you might not have merely gained new skills since you took on your modified role, but also acquired new contacts, developed new relationships and improved your understanding of the organisation’s objectives and how your role helps deliver those.

Share any endorsements or support that you have received in the past from senior stakeholders and explain how returning to your old role will fit in with your long-term career goals.

Take charge and shape your role

Now is the time to take control of your career and to feel empowered doing so. Always remember that no matter what is going on around you, you are the architect of your own career and the person who is best placed to decide the right next steps for you.

So, make sure you have a firm sense of where your career is going so that you can make informed decisions and achieve great things in the years ahead.

By Jane McNeill

Jane McNeill is the director of Hays Australia. A version of the article previously appeared on the Hays Viewpoint blog.

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