Updated: Nov 5, 2020
I write this post and think about the number of people that have been thrust into the job market within the past 4 months due to the global pandemic. I've been laid off on a number of occasions, but those times had some slight differences. For one, I would have the option to return to the company that laid me off, just in a different capacity. For many, their company no longer exists, forcing them to try to adapt to a workforce they are unfamiliar with. It's a strong possibility that the abruptness of losing a job, especially one you've worked for several years; has left you feeling like a foreigner in an unknown land. Trying to make the transition from gainfully employed to a new job seeker can feel overwhelming, daunting, and probably a bit scary. So as I think through this moment that is affecting so many people, I want to offer a few options that you can review against your current situation. Off the cuff, there are a few obstacles most are facing. You may have been the primary breadwinner, or a major contributor to your household income, so you need a job ASAP and don't have the luxury of considering some of these options. That's fine. Hopefully, some of these tips will be helpful in the near future. With that said, let's get into it.
The Resume - I spend a good amount of time on this platform and my social media telling people to change their relationship with their resume. This is because people tend to treat it like historic folklore vs. a living testament of your career. You MUST allow your resume to grow with your career, as your career is changing, and not treat it as an after-thought. Don't allow so much time to occur before you update your resume, the longer you wait the harder it becomes. Key details can become a faint memory and those details could be the difference between unemployment and starting a new chapter.
Share Your Skills - While volunteering won't pay your bills today, it certainly could lend to a new salary tomorrow. Sometimes volunteering/internships afford you the opportunity to share and grow your current skills while expanding your network. Volunteer opportunities can often lead to employment opportunities.
Update Your Education - This doesn't mean going back to school (but it doesn't mean NOT either). There are so many platforms that exist today to brush up on certain skills, that there is really no excuse not to take on a new skill or knowledge share. I've mentioned them several times so definitely review previous posts. There is also the YouTube community. So many subject matter experts, who just want to share their knowledge for free, have an extensive video library of technical, artistic, mechanical, or any skill you can imagine. Start poking around. Also, consider reaching out to friends or former co-workers and see if they would be interested in answering skill-related questions, or even engaging in job shadowing.
Personal and Professional Self Assessment - Platforms like LinkedIn have skills assessments that would allow you to validate your current skills proficiency via an online quiz. The outcome of that assessment can also be shared on your profile. The benefits to this will show potential recruiters your capabilities while revealing to you what you need to brush up on. I also encourage you to do a personal assessment (take self-inventory). Ask yourself if you want to continue on the same path in your next opportunity. It's quite possible that you've decided that this is the perfect moment for you to pursue other opportunities in another field or with another organization. Maybe you realize you are over the BS of your current industry, field, or company as a whole, and this door closing, wasn't so bad after all. To that, I say, CARPE DIEM!!
5. Control What You Can - Listen, you won't be able to manage or control every aspect of change. But where you can, remain focused. The goal is to get you back to work, in whatever way fits your life. I won't lie, it is hard and stressful. Knowing that so many are looking for work right now can also add a different level of pressure to jump in and start saying yes to things you wouldn't normally say yes to. Don't believe the hype, opportunities still exist. You'll just need to rethink how you go about finding it. Make yourself available and be open to changing your old way of doing things. Don't get sidetracked by what other people are doing. Don't get sucked into the endless media narrative that the world is over and no one wins anymore. Good people still win. Everyday. If it feels too heavy, then I urge you to walk away, take a break, and take care of yourself. You can't change what everyone else is doing or how they do it, but you can change what you do, how you think, how it affects you, and how you respond.
Take a moment to understand how you want to move forward and then do it. Take the steps to seek out information, people, and processes to get it done. Don't neglect yourself or your accomplishments. Share who you are and what you can bring to the table. Part of that is continual updates to your resume and skills where and when applicable. The closing of one door could be the opening of another. So get ready.
If you need help navigating this space...you owe it to yourself to get help. Remember what I always say... you have permission!
As always, take care of yourself. These are absolutely my thoughts...