The COVID-19 crisis hit suddenly and caught many people off guard. If you are among the millions of suddenly unemployed, you can take comfort knowing that you’re not alone. You also still have agency to address your situation and create the best foundation for making it through this crisis and finding your next role. If you are laid off due to coronavirus, take these steps right away to get back on track.
1. Assess Your Finances
No one expect a global pandemic, let alone to lose their jobs in the midst of unprecedented unemployment. Take a moment to breathe. You will get through this. Your layoff is not your fault, and has no bearing on your personal or professional merits. You have, objectively, the skills and attributes employers want, and there’s a good chance someone wants to hire you. In the meantime, taking stock of your finances will help you stay strategic and build a plan of action.
Try to stabilize your current financial status by taking the following steps:
- Review your expenses. Highlight anything non-essential you can cut back.
- Check up on your savings. Identify what funds you have available.
- Find out if you qualify for an IRS Covid-19 stimulus check, also known as the economic impact payment.
- Apply for unemployment insurance.
Once that’s out of the way, you may feel more secure just by knowing where you stand and being able to take immediate steps to lower your monthly costs.
2. Research Industry Options
As it turns out, not all industries are suffering losses due to Covid-19. Find out what companies and market sectors are thriving. They may also be hiring. Search online job boards to see which companies need people. Food supply, online shopping, and video conferencing services continue to do well. There may be a role for you in one of these areas.
Consider doing work outside of your regular field, but also do work you are comfortable with. The pandemic won’t last forever, and many people gain a sense of renewed purpose and energy by doing a job. So think outside the box when it comes to finding work that’s a good fit.
3. Prepare for a Virtual Job Search
For years, the in-person elevator pitch was key to landing a job. Making a good impression during an in-office interview set you above other candidates. Now, everything is virtual. Even industries that were not fully digital have been forced to transition online. There are companies that are hiring now, but the entire process has been changed due to the current realities.
To prepare for this shift, learn a little bit about online job search and interviewing best practices. Practice just having a conversation with a friend through a free service like Skype and make sure you have all of the tools you need to make a great first impression. This might mean ordering a new microphone or webcam for example. After all, when you get the job, this will be how you work. So it’s best to feel at ease with this technology as soon as possible.
4. Utilize Your Network
Even though you may feel isolated physically, digitally you still have access to your entire personal and professional network, and you should use them. Reach out over email, LinkedIn, or social media. Let people know your job situation has changed and you are seeking new opportunities.
There’s good news about taking this step during Covid-19. Since this pandemic has affected everyone, you won’t have to explain too much about your current situation. Your network will get it and will be sympathetic. They may also be thinking of creative ways to hustle through the pandemic. That’s insight you can benefit and take inspiration from. Set up a video brainstorming session with peers who are in the same position as you and create strategies for job hunting together.
5. Rework Your Resume
When you update your application materials, reflect honestly about the current circumstances. Your old work may no longer be available. You may have to pivot significantly. This means you should look at your qualifications in terms of skill set in addition to achievements and responsibilities.
Keep the standard listing of employment history and education, but also highlight transferable skills in a separate section on your resume. These are soft and hard skills — everything from strong communication to technical expertise. Always look at the positive. Use techniques like reframing to present these skills to opportunities in new industries. There are things you do well and offer to a new employer.
Need help with your resume? Schedule a free consultation with a career advisor.
6. Learn New Skills
Now is an ideal time for expanding your skillset, using the internet you can learn a variety of new skills to help with your job search. There are many online portals where you can take classes, like Skillshare, edX, Udemy and more. In this current time, many education companies are offering longer free trials or a greater selection of free class offerings. That means you can upgrade your knowledge with little to no financial investment.
Taking classes has another benefit. It will give you new ideas about what’s out there. If you’ve had a successful career, you probably excelled in a particular area. Now is an opportune time to see what other possibilities lay ahead, now or when the world recoups from Covid-19.
7. Pace Yourself
It is easy to get caught up in the feeling of urgency. Indeed, it is to your benefit to take active steps like those outlined here as soon as possible. Keep your energy high by establishing a regular routine for job hunting activities with built in time for rest and recreation. Take advantage of the time you have to refresh your skills and take care of yourself.
But also remember it may be some time before a new job presents itself. If your job hunt is longer than you anticipate, take heart it’s not you — and most of the world is in a similar, highly unusual circumstance. When this circumstance passes, you may be in a very different place — but it may be a place that works well for you.
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