Seize the Day

There’s Plenty of Opportunity in the New Normal

Lots of folks are restless.

The weather, at least here in the East, has turned hopeful, with clear blue skies and long, lingering sunsets. We’re beginning to venture out, to reclaim our lives in whatever this new phase of normal looks like.

Increasingly, I’m getting questions about opportunities — specifically, from mid-career and senior higher ed colleagues who’ve had months to reevaluate and think about where to go next in their professional lives.

If you’re planning to switch it up in 2021 — to go for a bigger, better job where you are or to dive into a new arena — it’s a whole different world out there. From remote onboarding to a shift in where we network and look for jobs, there have been fundamental changes in how we get our next gigs. And even as the promise of vaccines and immunity give us a glimpse into a future where we’ll be back in the office again, some things are here to stay.

Many institutions have, out of necessity, adopted virtual recruiting technologies, have a new emphasis on promoting from within, and are focusing on DEI. New business models, coupled with increased demand for a broader and more inclusive leadership, have not only changed much about the way we work — it has also changed the jobs we’re doing.
It’s time to gear up.

  1. Virtual hiring is here to stay.
  2. Diversity, Equity & Inclusion will play a significantly bigger role as colleges and universities adopt stances on current societal and political debates according to Gartner research.
  3. Higher education and nonprofits will expand their use of interim talent hiring, “renting” senior pros for a short period of time to meet the new strategic imperatives.
  4. Your digital presence will matter more than ever. Recruiters are already moving the focus away from CVs and résumés, placing greater emphasis on your digital footprint, looking to meet people where they are and that is increasingly online.
  5. An expanded skill set. Gartner data also finds that almost one-third of the skills listed in 2017 job postings are not relevant in 2021. As roles are reimagined, organizations and companies need senior leaders who are critical thinkers, have a track record of complex problem-solving, and are adaptable to change and uncertainty.
  6. Geography will matter less and your options will increase. Where you live will no longer be the criteria it once was.
  7. The ease of connecting through social media (as opposed to getting together in person) will make it an ongoing tool to be time-efficient, to keep in touch with your contacts, and to expand your visibility.

If you’re like most people, you have a general sense of what you’re good at. But also, like most people at this stage of your career, you assume that who you are and what you’ve done is understood.

In most cases, it’s not. Making the case for “why you” cannot be left to the search committee, the search consultant, or anyone else who has a say in hiring at this level. That’s something only you can do. 

Think beyond a perfunctory CV and standard-issue cover letter. What’s the value that only you offer?

It’s up to you to craft that narrative.