The Covid-19 Pandemic has touched everyone’s life, but if you’ve lost your job, this disruptive force is hitting you particularly hard. So, you’re in Transition. You will attend many virtual meetings, hear from many speakers and network as much as you can. Throughout all of this, people will tell you what to do. I want to give you a peek into my career-search journey and how I came out on the other side.
Someone gave me some great advice when I started out – Enjoy the Journey. Hopefully, you have some severance and can just breathe for a moment and realize that you do not have the stress and ties to that career any longer. Just think about that and let it sink in. You are free. You can take some time, a few days, a week, a month, to wrap your head around what has happened. Look at the positive side because there always is one.
Lean into a support group during your low moments. Since these are extraordinary times, it’s important to reach out to friends outside of your job search.
When you’re ready to look for work, pivot into it and treat the search like the job it is. It may take you 8-12 months to find a new job. That’s the reality of it. It took me a total of 10 months. J.T. O’Donnell, founder and CEO of Work It Daily, helps people solve their career problems. In her article, “8 Survival Tips For The Laid Off And Looking,” O’Donnell suggests you read something career/industry- related every day, vary your job search approach, practice interviewing and keeping a schedule.
During my search, I discovered the hidden power of networking, most of which was done over the phone. It’s how I eventually landed my job. I read the “20 Minute Networking Meeting – Professional Edition” by Nathan Perez. I would call, send an email or LinkedIn message to set up a 20-minute call with a colleague. Then I wrote down all my questions before getting on the call, and the only thing I modified was asking the last question, “Now, what can I do for you?” Mostly everyone said, “I’m good” but were taken aback when I asked. It’s only right. Use that Networking and act on it quickly. Each one will give you a sweet nugget to learn from.
If you have the opportunity to work with an Outplacement Service, take it. You can network with other people who are in the same situation as you. You will also get help from those people and be able to help them as well. It’s humbling, yes, but worth the time.
Get a career coach. Not a friend you can talk to, someone who is experienced at this and can help you with your resume, LinkedIn Profile and other “tricks”.
Take advantage of all the opportunities that come your way. Try MeetUp groups at least once. Now, most of them offer digital alternatives like Zoom or Skype. Some will be great, some will not. Network with your transition colleagues. Some will help you, you will help some, and some will just want something from you. Be very wary of these people and don’t be ashamed to just walk away from them. You are the most important person right now. Stay away from the negative people.
When you are networking with colleagues from your past that you worked with, ask them:
– What did you see as my biggest impact?
– Describe me in 3 words
This will be priceless in applications, cover letters and even interviews.
Don’t forget to take a break. Yes, looking for a job is FULL-TIME, but if it gets too much, walk away. It will be better in the morning. Exercise, eat right, drink water and laugh. Laugh every single day.
When it comes time for interviews, and they will come, don’t forget to negotiate your heart out. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Don’t be shy. All they can say is no, but sometimes they say yes – because you asked.
Most of all, be true to yourself, be yourself and don’t forget to like yourself. Your confidence will show. Figure out what you really, truly want to do. Don’t settle but don’t stretch yourself. Sometimes getting in the door is all you need.
Now go out there and show the world who you are. You can do this! Your strength and courage will carry you through the pandemic into your next adventure.