Career advice for 2020

Starting or changing your career in a pandemic is new for all of us living today.

You don’t need to feel overwhelmed.

Instead, you can arm yourself with the knowledge you need to make the most of how work and workplaces have changed.

The suggestions below on how to do that were part of a talk I gave recently to Western Sydney University business undergraduates who are preparing to start their careers.

You can download the full slide deck here.


Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less. (Marie Curie)

1. Understand what has changed about work and careers due to COVID-19

Pandemic resources: McKinsey Global Institute – September 2020 and Gartner – June 2020

Download our report for more details

2. Uncover the career strengths you’ve gained since the pandemic started

  • Make a list of all the things you’ve learnt about yourself and how you operate under pressure.
  • Include the strengths you’ve noticed you possess, that you may not have been aware of in the past.
  • What are you taking from your COVID-19 experience that makes you a more valuable employee to an organisation that’s still adapting to the new world of work?

Here are some of the strengths the seminar participants discovered when they went through this process:

career strengths

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3. Reflect on the top career skills you will need


  • There are no guarantees in unpredictable times.
  • Anyone completing a qualification now has already shown they are adaptable!
  • What will you do to maintain your willingness and your ability to re-set your focus with every new challenge as it comes towards you?


  • We can only find solutions if we are prepared to think differently
  • How creative can you be?


  • Resilience relies on persistence.
  • It’s up to you to decide what is worth the effort so you don’t get burnt out.

Download for more career survival tips

4. Take advantage of the pandemic career impacts

While researching for this talk, I put together this list of the changes I see as being positive for anyone ready for a career start or a career change:

  • More flexible work options are on offer
  • Alternative business models are emerging
  • You could be working anywhere, for anyone, anytime
  • New management styles put the focus on outcomes, not visibility
  • Employers are increasing their support for mental health and wellbeing of their employees
  • Organisations are looking for ways to withstand future shocks and this means workplace values, culture, employee engagement, diversity and inclusion are getting more attention

Other career resources from Balance at Work


Remember to download the full report for more!

About Susan Rochester

Susan Rochester has been managing director of Balance at Work since 2006. Susan has a natural tendency to balance analytical thinking with an optimistic outlook to set direction and solve problems. She is an effective facilitator and constantly creates new and more effective ways of doing things, motivated by helping others to achieve their goals.

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