Whether you had already been engaged in an active job search or you’ve just lost your job, I know it’s a terribly stressful time to be unemployed. The basic advice I gave in my related post, Career Planning During the COVID-19 Crisis, holds true: all the same job search and career management activities that normally apply still do. You are just going to have to be more creative and dig a little deeper. Here’s how:
Practice self-care in big and small ways. Unemployment at any time is a blow to our self-esteem and can create a cascade of stress. The added uncertainty of the pandemic means you MUST take extra good care of yourself right now. Exercise. Allow yourself downtime. Enjoy hobbies and time with your family.
Define and discover who you are at your core. Our identities are often very tied to our work, but you are not your work. You are an incredible, capable, uniquely talented person. Period. Take time to clearly define your values, your personality and work styles, the skills and zones of genius that make you, YOU. You have built a brand over the years, now is the time to package and sell it.
Dig deeper and cast a wide net. You will likely need to expand your search into broader categories than you would before the pandemic. Search by job titles in the Occupational Information Network (O*NET). There is a wealth of information in this database including the work activities, knowledge, interests and skills for each job. What will really help you expand your search is the “Related Occupations List.” Focus on your transferable skills.
Also, do a broad job search by essential industries to see what roles they have open. Add the words ‘virtual’, ‘remote’ or ‘work from home’ to job searches. Ask yourself, “What else can I do?”
Position yourself. Align yourself with people who are doing what you ideally want to do. Keep an eye on your long-term goals. Showcase your voice and share your expertise by publishing articles on LinkedIn and Medium. Comment and engage with other jobseekers and thought leaders in your target industries.
Nurture your network. Check in with your professional network, friends and family, and see how you can help them. Put yourself out there and actively grow your network too. Many online networking groups already exist. Search for networking groups by location, industry and again, use the words ‘virtual’ and ‘online.’ Meet-up can be a great resource.
Gain by giving. There are still ways to volunteer and stay busy. Reach out to non-profits that speak to your heart and see how you can serve. Volunteer work can be a great way to nurture new or little used skills that you can then showcase in your job search.
Stay organized and be strategic. You need to bring your ‘A’ game to your job search. Assess what’s working well and what you can do differently on a weekly basis. Keep a spreadsheet of networking opportunities, follow-up activity, applications and target companies.
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