Career Advice > Career Advice

Professional Development Doesn't Have to Stop During Remote Life

Even though health and safety restrictions are keeping many of us home, online platforms are keeping us connected. Following the guidelines and staying home doesn’t have to mean thwarting your professional growth. There are still ways to continue your professional development. 

 

VIDEO MUSTS

Working from home tends to come with learning new rules or norms. One of the biggest changes you may be facing is the switch from meeting face to face in conference rooms to meeting virtually through video conferences. An important consideration if you find yourself using this technology is that people still respond to the act of engaging with someone else. 

 

It’s important, then, that you don’t multitask during video calls. You’ll also need to look directly into the monitor so viewers see you participating. Moreover, conference callers need your eye contact, so look directly at your webcam. For the most hope at successfully maintaining your video conference, consider hardwiring your device to the internet to avoid poor connectivity. To hardwire your device, you’ll need an ethernet cable to plugin directly to your internet access point, usually a modem. This allows for a faster and more stable connection than relying on a wireless internet connection.

 

Where you choose to locate your computer during a video call is also important to the success of how you present yourself. Be sure to place the lighting in front and above your face, not behind or below. Otherwise, viewers will find it difficult to see you. 

 

PROFESSIONAL APPEARANCE

 We base our first impressions on visuals. So, the way you present yourself matters. 

 

Even though we’re home, we still need to dress for success for online meetings.  Business casual is a perfectly fine way to dress for video conferences. Building your professional wardrobe only strengthens others’ confidence in you and your ability to deliver. 

 

You might also observe that dressing comfortably improves your productivity. Dressing comfortably but professionally will take you from home office boss to a standout back in the office. 

A work-oriented line like Chicos nicely matches this mix of relaxed fit with career-woman styles and will help you find that balance. If you’re looking to elevate your professional looks while saving a lot of money, consider shopping for gently used Chicos clothing.

 

NETWORKING

Like many other things, networking is happening online. You might see people advertising their roundtables, coffee chats, and even happy hour events. It may even be an especially good time to put yourself out there, given the generosity of others making their insights freely available right now. 

 

Be sure you’re following your industry favorites on social media so you can see if any of these individuals are hosting networking events. If you feel comfortable you could even try inspiring someone to set one up. 

 

Reach out to someone you’d love to hear from or connect with. Not only can you learn a lot from others in your industry but you never know who you’ll meet or what potential lies in meeting them. Check-in with your alumni organizations as well, as they could be sharing information about networking opportunities that have moved online. These events can be hard to attend when we’re busy, so the time to strike couldn’t be better. 

 

MENTORING

Seeking out a mentor and taking their advice is a way to take control of your professional life. You may not already have a mentor already available to you through work. That is not to say that you can’t make it happen on your own. Is there an individual you have a lot to learn from that you might have access to, like someone at work or a connection you’ve made elsewhere?

 

If you’re trying to work your way up in your current company, finding a mentor should be simple enough. Use your company directory to reach out to the person and see if they’d be interested in setting up a time to chat. During this time, you could express your interest in them and their work. Be sure to mention how mentoring is mutually beneficial. Mentorships tend to improve workplace engagement and open up opportunities for those involved. 

 

Before you reach out, put in some preparation ahead of time. Think about what it is that you want to learn from them. This way, if they agree to your proposition, you’re ready to use your time wisely.  Then you’ll be able to let them know the general nature of what you’re hoping to achieve from speaking with them. This gives them a chance to prepare themselves as well. Be sure to set and stick to any time restrictions to show you respect their time. 

 

For more ideas on how to meet virtually, check out online meeting platforms to find one that suits your needs or ease of use.