LinkedIn's careers expert reveals the most inspiring lockdown job stories

Ever wondered what the perfect WFH desk set up is?

Charlotte Davies, the Communications and Careers Expert at LinkedIn, is here to share her tips on working life in the time of Covid.

From home-schooling and Zoom disasters to the best way to move jobs, read on to find out more about how the working world is changing.

What unusual jobs have you placed people in?

Gosh, where to start!? We always get really excited in the office when there’s a new weird and wonderful job. We’ve placed plenty of people in some wacky jobs over the years – ranging from Chocolate taster at Cadbury to Chief Toy tester at IKEA.

The beauty of LinkedIn is that our 30 million members in the UK have access to a plethora of jobs that they may have never thought about before. Recently, we listed a job for The Royal Household, who were looking for a Planner to help deliver the ambitious 10-year refurbishment for the iconic Buckingham Palace.

It’s not every day you get to help someone land a job with Her Majesty the Queen as their boss!

And then came Covid. . .

It’s been incredible to see how quickly we all could adapted to a new virtual way of working. Covid happened almost overnight, and suddenly we were faced with many members of our LinkedIn community being made redundant, furloughed, working from home or homeschooling kids.

It’s the first time any of us have lived through something like this, and by now, we’re all craving interaction. There’s so many things you miss about your colleagues, like brainstorming or having a cup of tea together or overhearing a conversation and joining in.

But funnily enough, we’ve seen a real human side of our colleagues via Zoom – their homes, their cats jumping on the keyboard, their children running in.

We’d never normally get to see that side of their lives, and in a way, that’s bought people closer. I think that when they do return to their offices, they’ll have a new-found closeness.

Has it changed the way people are on LinkedIn?

Massively – each day we see members share experiences of job losses, and the support from the community is really inspiring. People trying to connect them with jobs and companies, offering free advice on how to update their CV, and a real outpouring of support.

The over 50’s have been hit really hard by Covid redundancies and our recent research found that 78 per cent of this age group chose not to network, as they feel too embarrassed or nervous. But this year has broken down those barriers.

It’s shown everyone that reaching out to friends, peers, family online is a powerful way to cope and we’ve had some lovely success stories from members of all ages sharing their experiences.

A great example is 63-year-old Trevor Walford. Previously a royal butler, Trevor handed out his CV at railways stations after losing his job due to the pandemic. He took to the platform to share his story and has since started a new job as a Training Development Manager.

What did Covid changes mean for you?

The biggest impact for me has been home schooling as I have two children aged eight and four. I never wanted to be a teacher and this period of home schooling has made it clear why I’d be a terrible teacher.

I’m often interrupted mid-Zoom for a snack or a drink and I feel there are only so many hours in the day to combine a day’s schooling and a day’s work. It’s really tiring but we’re in the middle of a global pandemic and we have to be honest about how we’re feeling.

Parents are sharing fantastic tips on LinkedIn, like preparing snacks and lunches in the morning so you can pre-pack their sandwiches and save time during the day, using your normal commuting time to go out for a run, physically blocking out your diary for an hour so you actually get a breaking from working and homeschooling.

The point is, everyone’s in this together.

What’s been your favourite working from home tip?

One of my favourite has to be Melissa Fleming, who works for the United Nations – and her ironing board!

She shared how she’d transformed her ironing board into a desk, which she could move around her apartment, changing the backdrop for different perspectives on Zoom calls, and allowing her to adjust the height for the best light and camera angle, and allowing her to swap rooms if she needs peace and quiet. Who knew an ironing board could be so inspiring!

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

One of my first jobs was working in a fish and chip shop on a Saturday night as a teenager when all my mates were going out.

Anyone who’s worked with fish and chips will know that trying to get the smell of grease out of your hair is quite a tricky thing to do – it sticks for days. But we did get a free portion of fish and chips at the end of the night, so it wasn’t all bad!

How did you end up at Linked In?

I was quite bossy when I was growing up. I initially wanted to be a vet but soon after the death of my first rabbit I realised I wasn’t cut out for that – because it took me months to recover!

I’ve always been fascinated by human behaviour, and along with intuition, those are really important traits for someone working in PR. I was working at Coca Cola previously, where I got a never ending supply of diet coke, but after twenty years I wanted to be part of something that really helped others.

I moved over to LinkedIn two years ago. My role is to make sure people understand what LinkedIn is, to ensure job seekers feel supported and uplifted when they look for another job, and seeing how we can help them find that job.

Mistakes, you’ve made a few?

It has to be when my son called my boss Daddy on a very important Zoom call full of important people. Picture this; a large video conference, multiple markets dialled in and I am answering a question so I’m not muted.

My boss, who has the same hair colour and beard as my husband, is on screen and my son runs in and shouts ‘DADDY’ to a virtual room full of high-ranking people. Definitely a ‘ground, swallow me up’ moment – I go rouge just remembering it!

What’s your advice to anyone unhappy in their job?

Our main aim is to make the job search process as manageable as possible, so we’ve added features such as the #OpenToWork frame, which lets employers know that you’re looking for a new job – and if you don’t want your boss to see it, you can switch it to recruiters only.

We know there has been a huge shift in online learning and we’ve got together with Microsoft to offer nearly a thousand hours of free training to help our members upskill. So if someone is unhappy, they need to think about their options.

You’ll know when the time is right to move on, so think about what industry you want to move to, ask is there a skill gap and what you need to do to address that, consider your network and community and how they can support you.

Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date, make sure you’ve an updated profile picture and that you’re connected to the right people – plus state if you are open to work.

Do you have a story to share?

Get in touch by emailing [email protected]

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