We know things are different, after all it’s 2020. I know that you already know about the unemployment rate and how some sectors are doing well while others are on the brink. You know it’s uncertain, nothing is a sure bet, that it is unprecedented, but that new opportunities will be born.
So, the question often asked is, should I job search now and how is it different?
I spent a good deal of time researching this and in the end, cannot provide statistics or any real research data from which to present specific differences in how a job search would be executed now vs. any other time.
The quick and easy answer to whether to job search now, is yes. If you need or want a job, then by all means go out there and make it happen. I have heard people say “you might want to wait,” but honestly, I don’t have any idea what you would be waiting for.
Could it be harder in certain industries to find work right now, could it take longer to land a position, could potential employers recruiting change their minds midway due to the current volatility everyone is experiencing? Yes.
Many, many things could happen now, but the same things could have happened before. That is not a reason to postpone your search.
I reviewed statistics for 2019 indicating the amount of time one could expect to job search. I’m not sure if I would have trusted those stats enough to inform a client. Relying on statistical expectations when searching for work can lead to additional frustration when everything doesn’t go as planned.
And now, all estimates of the time it might take you to find your next position seem completely irrelevant. There are too many variables that come into play in the job search arena. Anticipating outcomes based on general trends is not helpful for the job seeker, especially now.
There is no gaming it right now, so giving yourself deadlines or target numbers to meet may help you stay motivated, but understand and prepare yourself for a potentially long game with some possible change-ups along the way.
There are essential keys to finding your next great job and focusing on those will help you locate and land new work. The essentials are clarity, communication, networking and taking action consistently in a variety of ways.
What has really changed now are the mindset requirements. Good mechanics are still good in times that are simpler and in times like these that pose additional challenges.
One statistic might be valuable when strategizing your career and making decisions. It is, and has been, easier to successfully find a new job when you are employed.
“Searching while unemployed is much less effective in generating offers than searching while on the job,” economists from Columbia University and the Federal Reserve banks of Chicago and New York concluded.” (Huffpost)
That said, not everyone has the option to decide to stay employed while searching for another job. A good rule of thumb right now is that we can only control that which we can control (primarily ourselves).
More people have been laid off or furloughed in the past few months with little they could have done to remain employed. If you are employed, it might be worth recognizing that you are in a better position to make a change from where you sit.
However, given the uncertainty, you might decide to wait it out in a current position longer than you might have, depending on what you are seeking.
If you can see imminent change coming or you are unhappy and want to transition, preparing to do so while working can be very effective.
The difference now is that you want to think more critically about the stability and prospects of the company or organization you are considering, as you will be the new employee and possibly be at higher risk of being let go if problems arise. Again, a somewhat debatable assumption.
Any change you make may be short lived. Of course, the upside is that you will have just been job searching and will be prepared to repeat the process.
Excellent job search skills developed through engagement will continuously serve you well. If you were hired recently, you can be hired again (mindset).
Accept that we live in a world where career changes happen for many reasons and relatively often, and with that understanding, go out and find a new job.
Here are a few ideas to note in the current climate:
- Employers are in flux and may be slower to make decisions and could change their minds, even after seeming excited about hiring you.
- They may be more understanding about recent resume gaps.
- It’s important to fill gaps in employment with worthwhile activities such as skills development, volunteering or self employment activities.
- Creating a broader range of industries that interest you might accelerate the process and could be a strategy for short term employment needs.
- Some companies, industries and positions are innovating and growing right now, so read and stay on top of the current events.
- There are many options to start a business of your own today, either as an assistant or a permanent venture.
The best advice I can give is to tune out the panic or doomsday scenarios others may present and use this time wisely. See the best areas to focus on below.
Companies are hiring and people are finding jobs. If you want to take an interim position to continue to earn income and be employed while in the search, that can be a smart strategic move.
If you are in a position to focus 100% on finding a new position, then treat it like your work, and organize your time around the job of finding a new job.
It doesn’t have to be an excessive amount of time, but an organized, strategic and focused one for a few hours a day.
This winning checklist will better organize the process and lend some structure and current tips for today’s best job search approach. Check out the Limit Free Life website or download the complimentary checklist here: https://limitfreelife.com/career-change-landing-optin/
Put your effort into the key elements that you need to be successful:
- Clarity – Transition is a time to think bigger and outside of the box. There are so many important questions to ask yourself to understand your desires, strengths, skills, purpose and more. Added knowledge in these areas will bolster your search, from your resume content to how you speak about yourself in an interview.
When you have a deeper awareness of who you are, you place yourself miles ahead of the other candidates who have not done this introspective analysis. And it will come across. You will be able to connect the dots between yourself and the requirements of the job to effectively show off how you can make a difference for their organization.
This clarity will also lead to fresh ideas for where your unique talents can be used. You will be able to expand the range of options for yourself and increase the odds of finding your next position.
- Communication – You can be the most qualified candidate out there, but if you are unable to communicate your value to others, both in writing and verbally, you may be passed up for a position you really want.
You can learn to communicate your value well and it’s exceptionally important to work on those skills. Even if you are good with words, clever and have a great vocabulary, there is more to learn. How do you tell stories? How is your tone? What is your body language saying?
The interesting thing about how one communicates is that what you say will be interpreted by another (or multiple) person(s) in a variety of ways. It’s crucial that you practice answering questions to test out the response it elicits.
We aren’t always good judges of “what to say” because we know what we mean. Try out your communication with others who will give you feedback and help you discover if what you mean to say is being understood clearly.
- Networking – I’m a broken record. Networking is everything. Focus on connecting with and expanding your network, that is a perfect place to put your energy.
There are almost never-ending networking opportunities in the world, on and offline today. Anytime you aren’t sure what to do in your search, network! Here is an earlier blog post on networking you might refer to for more information. Three Secrets to Successful Networking
- Taking action consistently in a variety of ways – One of the things I’ve observed in working with clients is that sometimes people believe they are taking action when they are not, and sometimes they are all action, but it’s ineffective.
I will give you two examples to illustrate each of these. I worked with a middle-aged woman who had not worked in a corporate environment for many years. She was seeking work again in this environment and had a good resume after some work.
She spent months searching and was frustrated and declared that she was too old and that there was nothing out there. While she thought a great deal about the jobs she wanted, she only sent a few resumes and did an initial reach out to her existing network and little else.
There was a perception that she was trying hard because she was looking and giving the process a lot of thought, but not actually doing very much to move the needle. Sometimes it’s hard to discern how much real action we are taking.
In the second example, a man I worked with was open to a range of options in finance. He tackled the job search by sending 100 resumes a day to almost any job posting he saw. There was very little strategy and the same resume went out to every job opportunity.
It was random, undirected and it didn’t work despite all the action-taking. It wasn’t the right action.
In the end, both have found jobs and are still working in them. However, it took longer than it might have.
Think about consistent action taking, but also not just doing one thing. Come up with a variety of ways to find and apply for a range of job options to ensure the best results.
Finding work now is in many ways the same as it’s been. If you are running into unique obstacles due to our current pandemic situation and the impact it’s had on the economy, it’s a good idea to seek help and support and to create a mindset that helps you see the possibilities before you.