Whether you’ve lost your job completely, have been furloughed indefinitely, or have been working from home for the last month and need to make a career change, the coronavirus quarantine has complicated things tremendously.
Despite the worrisome unemployment reports, now is not the time to jump at any job offer that comes your way. In fact, it’s more important than ever to maintain your perspective so you make the right decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As you might imagine, the team at Shyft Careers has been pretty busy during the quarantine. We continue to change lives, make connections, and streamline the hiring process for our clients despite all the uncertainty. Through this process, we’ve identified some common themes and developed a list of questions that jobseekers should be asking themselves as they prepare to return to the job market or switch careers.
Are you looking for a new permanent position or part-time work to supplement your income?
The first thing you need to do is decide if you’re looking for a new permanent position, a freelance gig, or a part-time job to supplement your income.
If you’re currently employed and thinking about making a career change, this is actually a very good time to make the switch. Believe it or not, there are employers out there who are hiring, and they want to land the best talent available.
What is your motivation for finding a new job?
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you should definitely ask yourself this question, especially if you’re passively looking to switch careers. Remember, the genesis of the job search is about you, not the employer.
So, ask yourself: why are you looking for a new job?
Your motivation needs to go beyond the basic desire of being happy and successful. You must be as specific as possible when asking yourself this question.
Is it because you believe the grass is greener?
Is it location? Are you tired of the daily two-hour commute? Is it that you’d like to spend more time with your family or travel less?
Or is your motivation salary? Maybe you feel undervalued or under-compensated at your current position. Perhaps it’s your existing company’s culture? Maybe you’re no longer satisfied working for a large corporation and would love to be part of a small start-up.
Availability may be another motivation. Do you want to continue working 50 or 60 hours a week as a salaried employee, or have you hit the ceiling? Maybe you want more time for family or volunteering and you’re willing to take a pay cut to get it.
How can you identify potential employers?
Once you’ve identified your motivation, the next step is choosing companies you want to work for. Keep in mind that people don’t apply for jobs, they apply to companies. This distinction is significant.
Start out by researching companies that get you excited. Ask yourself why you might want to volunteer or work with this organization? Once you’ve found companies that interest you, flesh out the why. Spend time researching and reflecting.
If you apply for a job, you’ll be one of a 100 who have done so. If you know your motivation, however, you can find the right person to talk to at the company you want to work for and can better articulate why you want to work for them. Then, the spotlight is on you. You’re no longer one of a 100. You’re one of one!
When you have developed a real connection with a company, it’s easier to get your foot in the door. It’s not unheard of for companies to actually create a job for someone they feel will be a good fit. At the very least, they’ll be more willing to keep you in mind when a position opens up.
With the fluctuating market and uncertain economy, many businesses are in uncharted territory right now. But certain business owners and employers will recognize that there are opportunities out there in spite of the crisis, and that is the mindset that will help them succeed.
What job resources can you use?
LinkedIn is great for networking, making connections, and investigating potential employers. Here at Shyft, we’re looking at more LinkedIn profiles than ever.
No matter what field you’re in, LinkedIn should be your go-to tool. Whether you’re an executive, a landscaper, a writer, or an electrician, create a LinkedIn profile and download the app on your mobile device. LinkedIn offers a free trial for a premium account. Take advantage of that for a month as you embark on your search.
And of course, you may also want to consider a recruitment agency. It’s a buyer’s market. Employers have the luxury of being selective right now and are on the lookout for the rock stars they’ll want to hire when the market heats back up.
And it will heat back up.
How in the world can you network during a pandemic?
Virtual networking is nothing new, but it has become a major phenomenon during the pandemic. And, as more people become familiar with it, it seems likely that it will be part of the “new normal” when the social distancing restrictions are finally lifted.
So, target specialized industries that interest you. Networking of any kind is a more refined search. There has to be intent. After all, you’re not networking for the sake of networking.
Again, LinkedIn can be a powerful tool. It offers social groups for specific industries, which can help you research individual fields and specialties.
And remember—phones still work! Call companies that interest you. Introduce yourself. Ask for a contact. The key is to make a connection, show your value, and ask for permission to maintain communication. Networking with a decision maker can be difficult, but If you want someone’s attention, it has to be warranted. To that end, make sure to have a good script.
What are the rules of resume writing?
If you’re frustrated about resume writing, you aren’t alone! The dos and don’ts of resume writing change all the time, but here are some constants:
- Always be truthful. Do not lie or exaggerate.
- Tailor your resume to the job you’re trying to get. You may have two or three resumes depending on your breadth of experience and the types of positions you’re searching for.
- Avoid using buzz words that have no point like “go getter” or “seasoned professional.”
- Include all your experience on a resume. Once you get to the meat of your career, provide job titles at the very least.
- Don’t just list responsibilities. Instead, label accomplishments and quantify them when possible. Explain why you’re proud of the accomplishment and how it helped the company.
When it comes to cover letters, they should be engaging. Put the contact person’s name on the cover letter, tailor it to the company, and put time into it.
Also, don’t send out resumes randomly to a large number of companies. The one you hook may not be the one you want. This isn’t a numbers game, so there’s no need to dilute your efforts. You need to be deliberate and selective about who you approach.
Once you’ve spoken to a contact or had a job interview, be sure to thank them for their time with an appreciative email. Let them know how excited you are about the company, and set up the expectation that you’ll follow up.
How can you avoid job scams?
With so many people unemployed, job scams are rampant. Be smart. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t click on suspicious emails, and never ever give out financial information or social security numbers!
Do, however, take advantage of the time you have during this quarantine to thoroughly research companies and ask yourself these important questions. Think about the job that’s right for you—for the right reasons—and you’ll almost certainly increase your odds of finding it!COVID-19