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Being an active participant in your career is a year-round exercise. To reap the benefits of greater professional and personal satisfaction — like winning the job you want, getting that promotion you deserve, or even bouncing back from a layoff — it is critical to tend to your career on an ongoing basis, and not just manage it when you have time, or, when you need something.

Here are three things that you should do now for your career, all of which will increase your preparedness, empower you, and help you strategize:   

1. Prepare your answer to: How do you handle change? Even if you are not actively looking for a job, this question is one to spend time on. It goes to the heart of how you adapt and handle challenges, and how resourceful you are. This is the time to identify an achievement that showcases how you have handled a big challenge or achieved results even when something unexpected happened. Employers are looking for skills that involve adaptability, flexibility, and resilience, and — now more than ever — ability to handle change.

My tip: Identify a problem you solved (or you are currently solving) remotely. With the #WFH suddenly becoming the norm for many of us, it is important to identify challenges we are solving within this new normal, such as finding a solution for a client or leading a team virtually. Make sure you add this to your resume too!

2. Work on your LinkedIn profile. If your LinkedIn profile is bare bones and you are thinking, “Hey, at least I have one,” now is the time to build it out. With more than half a million users and more than 90% of recruiters using LinkedIn to find talent, now is a great time to become more familiar with LinkedIn and work on optimizing your profile. From your headline to your summary to how to better tell your story, this article will give you 20 steps to a better LinkedIn profile in 2020. It also shares ways to make your LinkedIn profile work for you by giving you tips on sharing your content, engaging in conversations with others, and demonstrating your expertise.

My tip: LinkedIn is the platform that will best showcase your brand and your unique set of skills and experiences. With only about half of LinkedIn registered users actively engaging with the platform, now is the time to consider how you can do more with your profile when it comes to strategically managing your career.

3. Create your elevator pitch. Networking reigns right now, from finding a job and understanding what it’s like to work for a company to becoming known in your field. One way to become more confident with networking is to have an elevator pitch, or a few sentences that concisely describe you. Your pitch will provide solid footing for those surprise moments when you did not expect someone to tell you about a job they know about, or even ask you what you do for a living.

My tip: Practice your pitch, whether with someone you live with, in front of your mirror, or even recording your voice. While it may seem awkward, it will help you spot the places where your voice may falter or where you may find yourself lost, or even going off script. With practice your performance improves, and it will empower you to network with greater confidence.

Strategically managing our careers and preparing for unknowns can help us become more agile during major events — like the unprecedented time of a novel virus — or when it’s smooth sailing, with no storm on the horizon. Empower yourself to tend to your career today, and as a result, strengthen it for the future.

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