By Virginia Franco
COVID-19 has certainly thrown a sucker punch — and a whole lot of anxiety — into every single aspect of our everyday life.
Whether laid off or furloughed, or miserable in your role but feel like you must gut it out a while more — all is not lost.
Below I have outlined seven steps to organize yourself, get the ball rolling, and maintain momentum during this challenging time.
1. Make a Plan
It is OK to take a breath, collect your thoughts, and craft a job search plan. In fact, analysis and planning will likely make your job search shorter and, ultimately, more successful.
- Which employers would be the best places for you to work? Do you know anyone who works for those employers?
- What are the requirements and job titles these employers use for the job you want? Do you meet those requirements or need to gain some credentials or experiences? Can you gain that experience by volunteering or taking a class?
- Can you continue to work in the job you had before, or do you need to consider and implement a career change?
- What job is possible next — short term and long term?
Today, a job search that does not have a target, that is “open” to anything, takes longer because the goal is not clear in the resumes, LinkedIn profile, and networking. ALL of those are more effective when focused.
2. Organize Your Finances & Consider a Safe Gap Gig
Now is the time to figure out what you can cut, what you can put on credit, etc. The goal is to help your funds stretch as long and far as possible.
Just like during the 2008 Financial Crisis when those in banking, financial services, and real estate suffered a devastating blow, there is no shame in a gig of any sort to get you through this tough time and keep the lights on.
Grocery chains, delivery services, fast food, big box retail, healthcare, virtual teaching, remote communications companies, and Amazon are hiring, among many.
3. Research the Employers and the Jobs
Look at everything on an employer’s website to review press releases, learn about company benefits, products and services, executives and other staff members, and latest news.
For those who have a bit more breathing room, now is as great a time as any to do some deep dive research into roles and companies of interest. Go to Glassdoor and even Indeed to get reviews as well as sites like Bloomberg and Hoovers for private companies. While you must pay to get a full report at Hoovers, it’s free to check out who is on the board and uncover the company’s major competitors.
If you REALLY want intel, however, the best place in my view is to get it straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. Consider searching on LinkedIn and reaching out to people who work or have worked there.
If you feel strange about reaching out to a stranger about this, consider tapping into your university or corporate alum network (again – you can use LinkedIn’s search filters to identify people by school AND company).
Remember, an employer’s favorite (and fastest) way to hire is through employee referrals.
4. Sharpen Your Remote Interview Skills
Face to face interviews have gone by the wayside in favor of phone and video interviews. The upside of this is that you can practice using phone and video interviewing using recording software platforms like Zoom, Skype, UberConference, Google Hangouts or Meet, or even Facebook Video and iPhone Facetime to record and see first-hand how you sound and look.
A few tips:
- Place a box or prop your laptop on an ironing board (tip from a colleague!) so that you computer’s camera is at eye level. Otherwise, you might look like you have a double chin when you don’t.
- Check how your clothing colors look on camera. Take a tip for TV pros – avoid wearing black and white and anything with big patterns in favor of jewel tones or pastel colors.
- Position a lamp or other light source in front of you, otherwise you will appear silhouetted.
- Look at the camera, not the computer screen.
5. Get Your Career Collateral Ready to Roll
This is an ideal time to make sure your LinkedIn profile and resume are in great shape – which means they must be current in content, fresh in format and keyword optimized.
Harness tools like JobScan to ensure your resume and LinkedIn profile include the maximum number of keywords to give your documents their best shot at doing well when Applicant Tracking Software systems and algorithms are at play.
6. Make New Connections
In our new COVID-19 shelter in place lock down, we are all spending more time online, and people online are likely to be more open to connecting.
This makes it a great time to reach out to who you know (former bosses, vendors, peers, customers), and also to those who you need or want to know.
7. Control What You Can Control
This new #coronalife is stressful no matter how you look at it. With so much out of our control, focus on what is within our realm of influence – and try to uncover new opportunities where they did not exist before.
The Bottom Line:
Things have changed with the Coronavirus pandemic, and some of those things have likely changed permanently. We can — and must — adapt to this new world, and we will succeed.
Virginia Franco is a 4 times Certified Executive Resume Writer, LinkedIn Writer, Coach and Career Storyteller.
This article previously posted on Job-Hunt.org, a website dedicated to providing the best and most up-to-date advice from genuine job search and career experts to help job seekers be successful in their job search. Visit https://www.job-hunt.org/coronavirus/covid19-job-search-momentum.shtml