If the dire unemployment numbers are anything to go by, it seems like there are more unemployed people out there than ever before. In fact, MarketWatch reported that the millions of layoffs are pushing unemployment rates to the highest since the great depression. But it isn’t all bleak news by a longshot. The good news is, that there are also simultaneously more positions
open in industries or careers you might not have previously given much thought to.
If you’re hoping for career advice relevant to the here and now, or hoping to stand out while hunting for a new job, here are some tips to help you along the way:
1. Brush up on your digital skills
If everyone on earth is working from home right now, that means that we’re all using digital technologies that might be brand new for some.
Practice your email etiquette and otherwise find ways to stand out from the crowd. “Employers and hiring managers are quickly adapting to digital forms of communication,” offered Jon Hueni Director of Sales & Marketing for Polywood. He
said that “something as simple as being comfortable with digital communication platforms like Zoom, Slack, and Google Hangouts can help you stand out from others.”
2. Be reflective
While you’re improving your skill set, you might want to also spend a bit of time reminding yourself what you’re best at. “Job hunters should spend some time each day engaged in reflection, ideally by writing by hand in a journal,” recommends Will Bachman, co-founder & Managing Partner of global recruiting firm Umbrex. He says to “Examine what have been the times in your life that you felt most alive at work, when you were most satisfied?” While you’re at it, “Write out the stories of those experiences. Write a detailed description of your ideal job. Write about what type of work would most fill you with a sense of purpose. Don’t be satisfied with clichés like “help others.” Get specific and write at length. This process can lead to self-discovery and open up areas to investigate.”
3. Be adaptable
If you were stuck in a career rut, now is the time to completely change everything you’ve been doing. Or as Ben Lamm, CEO, Hypergiant Industries advises “Let negativity inspire adaptability. When external forces impact your livelihood, you must be adaptable. Antiquated models and ways of thinking will not allow for growth or evolution, so challenge yourself to be flexible with the opportunities that are available to you and that you can create for yourself.”
4. Pay attention to who’s adapting well
Along with changing your own approach or skillset, look for the companies doing a great job of moving with the times. “Identify
companies that are responding well to the current challenges,” Hueni advises. “Take note of how their job listings are changing, and what new skills and competencies they are looking for. Companies that respond well to this challenge will define what the new “normal” will be in the future and can provide leading indicators for upcoming shifts in the job market. “
5. Strengthen existing relationships
Believe it or not, “the pandemic provides a unique opportunity to renew old ties,” according to Bachman. “Call up classmates from high school, college, grad school, and colleagues from past employers. Don’t focus on your jo search or ask for help with that, but just check in to see how people are doing and catch up on their journey since the last time you spoke. It is OK to mention that you are hunting for a new job, but don’t ask for leads.”
6. Be relevant
The world has changed drastically and it’s important to prove that you clearly understand the here and now in addition to having excellent business skills. “Don’t be self-promotional—be relevant,” said Sean Valencourt, Polywoods’s EVP of
Information Systems. “Hustlers and philosophers might get likes from their peers on LinkedIn, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to catching the eye of a hiring manager.”
The way this translates is if you can provide consistency in an uncertain world and keep proving that you are able to adapt and excel while others might be scrambling.
7. Create content
Do you make a living with your words? Now is the time to use them well. “Whether it’s in the form of a blog post, a white paper, a podcast, a YouTube channel, or whatever format works best, create content on what you know – your industry or your function,” Besides feeling good, you can “create a body of work that increases your credibility with a future employer. Someone you interview may end up hiring you, or someone they know may be looking. If you are out in the market creating content and contributing to the conversation, it is a good way to get noticed.” The flip side is that some people aren’t suited to be on camera or are better in person than in writing. If you do go this route, make sure your content highlights your skills instead of showing off inexperience.
8. Consider public service
If you’ve spent your life in a cubicle and feel frustrated at the way government works, maybe now is the time to completely change your career trajectory. “I think there will be massive opportunities for people who want to go into government and public service to improve the systems that have failed us,” said Lamm. And while it’s not something most of us want to hear right now, Lamm also reminds us “We need to be better prepared for a future pandemic. We need to be better prepared for climate change. We need to be better prepared for future and current cybersecurity and space threats. These things are incredibly important, and we need more great minds doing that work.”
Don’t limit yourself to thinking that being an elected official is the only way to help on the granular or community level. My sister and I formed the RWR Network, a small but growing nonprofit, to help members of society we felt were underserved. We recently received our first government grant and are expanding beyond our initial community outreach.
Originally published on Ladders.
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