Job Search Now: To Do or Not to Do?

Gwen Garrison |

COVID-19 furloughs and the now 40 million people who are first-time filers for unemployment have added new complexities to the job market these days.

Gotta Eat, Gotta Work

For some people, just getting through these months somehow dictates a search for any job you can do that will carry you through the next 6 to 8 months. Writing in Fast Company, Jeff Berger, CEO of New York-based “Talent, Inc., advises folks to focus on short-term solutions that will get you through these challenging times.

“Think about what you can do today, or during the next 30, 60, and 90 days,” he writes. “No one will penalize you for taking a job outside your field or on another career path for a little while.” It may even make you more marketable when this is over. Consider attributes such as intelligence, strategic thinking, or people skills, that have made you successful so far. “Use this time to explore jobs you may have not considered in the past, and perhaps you’ll find opportunities you wouldn’t have necessarily pursued otherwise.”

In exploring short-term options, he encourages job-seekers to inventory their top skills and look for ways to leverage them in a different capacity. Or look for telecommuting opportunities where location is irrelevant and in-person contact is not required. Do you have a hobby or talent you can turn into a short-term business by giving individual lessons or consulting online? Look at sectors that are ramping up to meet current demands, such as contact tracing, child care, or teaching.

Executive Jobs: Understanding your worth

It may seem that no one is hiring, but many organizations are hiring experienced, resourceful people to steer them through this crisis.  Circumstances point to a major re-shuffling of the American workforce.  So, read up on these currents as you plot your next move.

In Laura Garnett says it is critical to know your value—and be able to talk about it effortlessly. “What you can offer doesn’t go away when you lose your job,” she says, “It’s within you, always.”

“Truly understanding your worth is powerful, but you need to be able to talk to others about it, too.” Hone in on those job openings that tap your value offerings.

Be fearless in your networking,” Garrett advises. “One of the awesome things we’re experiencing is a higher level of connectedness…. Take advantage of this and reach out.” Start with your network, and share the kind of jobs you seek and the type of companies you’d like to work for. Then, spread the word to people you don’t know.

And, be sure to “Treat your search like a job,” she adds. Like any job, this will need serious time, effort and tenacity. Your investment in you will pay off.

Whether you are an executive or a young professional, success will depend on your confidence and mindset. Both, experts agree, are essential throughout the entire experience. Recruiters talk about the volume of applications for current openings tripling or even quadrupling. No matter. Use this COVID-19 and unemployment-related time to build up your confidence and strengthen your mindset muscles.

Prepare to Interview Virtually

Be prepared to excel at video interviews, making sure you have an attractive place, free from clutter and distractions, to set up. Practice is critical—individual Zoom accounts are free so sign up and practice with your friends and colleagues. Pay special attention to framing your whole face attractively, and adjust lighting so it is clear and flattering. Interviewers do not wish to see your face through a fishbowl or try to find your face in dark screen.

Finally, be honest with yourself. If you must take a less than ideal job to carry you through this crisis, commit to it with your whole heart. You will earn a good reference and a chance to demonstrate your resourcefulness. If you are an executive, be wary of taking a job with an employer you have doubts about. Most employers, even now, expect new hires to stay a year or two, or more.

For more information, see the articles below, in addition to your local chamber of commerce, and national and regional professional organizations related to your field.


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