The last several months have created a wide range of impact on leadership. For some, it has been mostly business as usual. Many others have lost their jobs, decided to accelerate their retirement plans, or are considering new opportunities. Regardless of the place you find yourself in, the workplace is in a state of extreme disruption and it is essential that leaders are prepared for what leadership roles may look like as “return to work” plans begin to take shape. Talent acquisition experts I spoke with are seeing organizations flattening leadership structures and creating roles where leaders are being asked to wear multiple hats as they begin to bounce back from the economic effects of COVID-19. And though this may seem discouraging, there is still a steady need for qualified candidates to fill current and re-structured leadership opportunities. Even better, if there is a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2020, then be prepared for the workplace to explode with new opportunities for leaders.
The skills and abilities leaders will need to bring to these roles are the same as they were before. When organizations quickly shifted non-essential workers to working remotely, leaders needed to quickly show resiliency, communicate dynamically, empower their teams remotely, find creative ways to give recognition to employees, and maintain presence with teams. In addition to these highly marketable skills and experiences, organizations are looking for leaders who have experience and energy to take on roles with multiple concurrent projects and a variety of areas reporting to them. This means that leaders need to think about the unique experiences where they have excelled at applying these skills outside the normal job duties and explain how they can competently assume the responsibility of leading new teams. For instance, it is becoming much more common to see organizations combining responsibilities such as sales and marketing or human resources, payroll and information technology. And within these roles, expect organizations to be looking for leaders who have had experience leading projects (or “stretch assignments”) that were outside their scope of duties – especially if these projects were to support the organization during the economic slowdown.
For those who are thinking about or actively searching for one of these exciting new opportunities, the one thing that talent acquisition experts suggest you do to land a job faster, is to update your resume with experiences, projects and skill sets you’ve acquired from your past and during the economic slowdown. With organizations looking for a more dynamic and agile leader, a resume describing years of experience and “what I did in my role as a manager” won’t suffice. The advice talent acquisition experts suggest: describe all the skills and experiences that would be desirable in today’s workplace. A good functional resume showcases projects a candidate has been a part of, how they contributed beyond the scope of their role, the experiences they have gained from leading in unique situations, and what they have accomplished. There are many instances where leaders took on new responsibilities and contributed in unique ways to keep the company up and running through the pandemic; these are the types of things that stand out as organizations consider candidates to fill new leadership roles.
And, even if you are not actively seeking a new opportunity, now is still the time to update your resume with the experiences and accomplishments of the last few months. While the general rule is to update a resume at least two times per year, many experts suggest making updates each month during these times. And, if you are struggling with recalling your experiences and accomplishment, work with a career coach who is trained to help you to recall those moments in your past and prepare a standout resume.
The importance of President Barack Obama’s quote “With everything suddenly feeling like it’s up for grabs, this is your time to seize the initiative” has proved to be a true for those creating attention grabbing resumes and landing their next big opportunity at a time when new opportunities appear limited.