Keeping the Faith: Job Searching in a Pandemic
Each week I hear the phrases, “After the pandemic it will be like…” or “Past COVID, we will…” and I wonder why are we acquiescing to this holding pattern. We are pausing major aspects of our lives waiting for normalcy to return. There may be the worry of the stability of the next job we take. We are waiting for that right time, that time when we have a better sense of what is around the corner.
Life is always unpredictable. Layoffs happen in all seasons. In some cases, we are led to believe things are fine right up to the day when things are not fine, and we are without a job. We did not see it coming. That’s how life works sometimes. The difference with this pandemic is that we are experiencing uncertainty and loss on a global scale. That is not easy. It is natural to feel stress. When we get to the root of it, maybe we are struggling with a lack of control and an unknown future.
The good news is (Yes, there is good news!) that we can cope with the situation as it relates to our career. First, accept that this is our current career environment. Complaining or ignoring it will not help. What a relief to surrender that fight to control something that we can’t control. We can move on to the things that we can manage. Get back to job search 101. That means researching the market, defining your career goal, and assessing your opportunities. For some this may mean a temporary shift, for example, from the hospitality industry to consumer goods. For others, it may mean taking some online courses until jobs in your market make a comeback. Everyone's plan will be unique.
After you have a goal based on research, start your marketing campaign. Create an exceptional resume and LinkedIn profile. An average resume won’t get the job in a challenging job market. You need a resume that shines. Then conduct your multifaceted job search, including replying to posts, contacting recruiters, and most importantly – networking. In a tough job market, sending a couple resumes a week and waiting is not a winning strategy. While you are waiting, somebody else is making that follow-up call that gets the interview. Work the job search daily and follow up with leads.
There is another factor in a job search that is especially important today. That is encouragement. Surround yourself with encouraging people. These are friends and family who will help you brainstorm ideas, practice interviewing, and give you honest feedback about your top skills. Look for “glass half full” people. Be sure to return the favor if you want to keep these friends. Avoid the people that want to rant and complain.
Job searching during a pandemic is not as fun as job searching in boom time. Remember, in life we will be on mountaintops for a while and other times in a deep valley. These times in the valleys will test our faith and strengthen us. If we talk to seasoned citizens who have the perspective of many decades, they can tell us how they made it through and the lessons they learned. Many will tell us that while in the valley they gained a better perspective on life.
The bottom line is this: Assess yourself in light of today’s market, create a new strategy, and work your marketing campaign passionately. Create a positive atmosphere with friends and family who encourage one another. I wish you all the best. Check out other blogs on the site and the podcast for practical advice on resume preparation and job searching.