The difficulties of social isolation can also present an opportunity to reinvent yourself, according to Barbara Corcoran, an investor on ABC's "Shark Tank." "One of the most wonderful things, or probably the only wonderful thing about this pandemic," she tells Grow, "is you have a lot of time to actually assess what you want to do with the rest of your life."
Efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus have left a record number of American workers unemployed and many more at home with time on their hands. You can use this time to prepare for your comeback, says Corcoran: "What you really want to do here is repackage yourself for a new economy."
One of the ways Corcoran predicts the economy will change after the coronavirus pandemic is that there will be an increased reliance on web-based businesses. The workers who are learning new skills that align with the needs of those businesses will thrive in the future.
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Corcoran has unique insight into how workers in various sectors are coping with the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Aside from building The Corcoran Group, a multimillion-dollar real estate company, Corcoran's job on "Shark Tank" has allowed her to invest in several successful start-ups, including natural deodorant company PiperWai and seafood business Cousins Maine Lobster.
Here are some of the ways Corcoran says you can use your time at home to master new skills to make more money when the economy reopens.
Regardless of your employment status, use your extra time at home to make yourself an indispensable worker, Corcoran says.
Start by taking inventory of your professional strengths and weaknesses. "I think the most important thing to do is take a look honestly at yourself, what your skill set is. Make a list. What am I good at? What do I really do well? What do I wish I could do better?" Corcoran says.
If you're planning on staying in the same profession, Corcoran suggests asking yourself: "What would I need if I really thought that when I went back into the workplace I had to compete for my old job back?"
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"A lot of people think you're going to walk right back into the workforce when this is over and get your old job back. I can tell you, I know too many business owners that have no intention of hiring back every one of their employees, so you're going to have to compete for your old job," she says.
To position yourself as a fierce competitor in the job market, you have to be willing to use your time in isolation for self improvement, Corcoran says. "If you can figure out what you're good at and repackage yourself and put yourself out there ... you're going to get a lot of work."
After you determine the skills you need to develop or master, take advantage of one of the thousands of free courses available online, Corcoran suggests.
"It's a time for you to be building your resume, really developing the skills you wish you had only three months ago and kind of put on the back burner. Well, now's the time to take the courses online, develop your skills, and make yourself stronger."
For example, almost every worker would benefit from becoming a better public speaker, according to Cocoran. Whether you work in education or sales, learning how to capture someone's attention and effectively communicate will give you an edge over your competition. Coursera, Udemy, and other online learning platforms offer free Intro to Public Speaking courses.
Learning a new language is another effective way to use your time in isolation and, depending on your professional field, it could make you a better job candidate. Duolingo is one of many free apps that offers daily lessons in 35 different languages.
Mastering a computer program can also help you improve your work performance and efficiency and make you more marketable. Courses available through online learning platforms like Teachable and Skillshare include Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Powerpoint, Salesforce, or Adobe's Photoshop.
"If you're smart, you'll make yourself stronger to even get a better job when you go back to the workforce," says Corcoran.
The coronavirus pandemic has proven the power of the internet as a portal for money-making opportunities, says Corcoran.
Even if you're still gainfully employed, it's smart to think of ways to better position yourself to offer your expertise and services online. "The idea is, you want to reinvent yourself for the new economy," Corcoran says. "Because everything that we've seen before ain't going to come back again. You really have to change entirely what you're going to do with yourself going forward."
Corcoran says she's seen teachers, for example, figure out how to teach online using video chatting platforms to make extra cash: "A lot of them are very good at a particular tutoring skill and they've offered the services online as a tutor."
The coronavirus pandemic has also created opportunities for professionals hoping to pivot within their existing careers. "If you're an attorney and you perhaps practice corporate law, now is the time to actually do contract law, or insurance law, or maybe even because we're all home with the husbands and wives, maybe even divorce law," Corcoran says. "I'm just kidding about that, but there's probably some truth in that."
If you're considering a career change, seek out jobs in sectors where there's a surge in demand, such as health care. "There's going to be so much need for more health care. Every support service in the world, whether you're in the front line or in the back line, health care is going to grow by leaps and bounds. Insurance services. There are going to be so many insurance claims," Corcoran predicts.
As a veteran entrepreneur, Corcoran has observed that times of economic distress tend to create new opportunities for making money. "What's ironic is so many new businesses get started in hard times that become actual very big businesses after the hard times are over," she says. "So you never know where that road will lead. But unless you take the road and equip yourself, you're not going to go down it very far."
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