During the New Normal of the Coronavirus Pandemic
This has been an unprecedented time in human history, during this pandemic, and you find yourself looking for a job. As if the job search process was not already stressful and challenging. So, do you give up before you start? Companies are also trying to cope and adjust to this twist in operations. Even if they are not hiring in the traditional sense, they are preparing to build their workforce. As they make changes, you, their potential employee, also must prepare for the transition of work. There are ways you can be actively working on your job transition. The following tips will help you better position yourself for success during the pandemic.
Having the right mindset is crucial to job search. Stop trying to control what you can’t. Instead, focus on what you can. Look at where you want to go instead of where you do not want to be. Your mindset is the first thing you need to come into agreement with and stop the fight in your head. Despite your best efforts, this will show in your interviews. Your thoughts, actions, and plans should be toward the position you want. Once you are clear on this, the focus can now change to how to get the decision-maker to see how you can be an asset and the answer to their talent problem.
Have realistic expectations. This is not easy, but it is doable. Take a step back and reflect on your previous job. Think about the actual work you did. You should be focusing on what is going on in your industry. Research trends and how the future role will look or be impacted. How is the pandemic impacting that career path? What can you do to prepare yourself for the future of your industry? If you are thinking of changing careers, do the same thing for that career path. There are many free, reasonably priced, and grant-funded educational opportunities you can benefit from, including online courses available at MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), EdX classes, MBABLeU, and free Microsoft training and tutorials. At job interviews, share what you have done since your job separation, how that role you are applying for is changing and what you are prepared to do as a problem solver.
Another key part of your strategy should include connecting to the right networks online. There has been a 100% increase in virtual events. Organizations are making the pivot to meet the needs of their stakeholders and so are associations and networks. Many industry organizations are offering free or reduced membership rates and programming during the pandemic. Immerse yourself in these groups and work on influencing this new network with postings, comments, and insights in discussions that are taking place. Be visible online and in person, where applicable. Take advantage of the time you now have to be present, learn and impact others with your expertise. The support you can receive from this community can be far more than you can imagine. Hiring managers welcome the opportunity to genuinely learn about you to increase the chances of you being a good fit and determine how to make it work for both of you. You also get to do the same.
Prior to the pandemic, there was much chatter about the gig economy, with many working as independent contractors on temporary or project-based opportunities. Many of these roles are virtual positions and can help you build your skills and work in different industries doing the work you did previously. You can stay relevant, try out a new organization, and the freedom to do the kind of work you want every day. At McPherson|Berry we focus on providing gig opportunities for human resources professionals, hearing the challenges many seasoned professionals see with having the years of experience but not the age to officially retire or wanting to supplement their retirement income. The younger professionals get an opportunity to build their expertise while working with a team that can help guide them. Focusing on temporary or part-time contractual opportunities can help you keep your skills relevant until you determine your next move.
Working remote is not a new concept. However, companies have been forced to figure out ways to make this happen in a greater capacity. The biggest concerns have been along the lines of: Can we trust the employees to work; Will productivity decrease; Will this cost more; How can we protect our assets, information, security in an environment we don’t have access to; and What are the risks and how do we protect the company?
A common denominator in this is the people. I understand that everyone does not want to work from home, and some companies prefer you work onsite. However, in many ways, we have learned to make it work. We are learning that this may be the new normal with the health concerns many have and the many uncertainties the changing landscape brings. You, the talent, can help support the remote work environment. Learn the challenges faced with working remotely in your industry and increase your software technology skills so you can hit the ground running when the opportunity arrives. There is no excuse to not know how to use software like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and other remote working tools. Don’t wait for an employer to teach or train you on these solutions. You have the time now to become an experienced user. Do it! Continuous learning is your responsibility.
It may not be the easiest time for many now, and there is a great deal we may not know as it relates to the pandemic, but one thing is for sure–doing nothing and not looking for opportunities will not make it better. Increase your success by preparing for when more job opportunities are available and taking advantage of those that are available now.