By Catherine Reynolds, Senior Talent Partner
Circumstances surrounding the economic impact of COVID-19 have resulted in record-high unemployment and left many talented workers searching for new positions. If you’ve been affected by a job loss, here are some steps you can take as you search for what’s next.
Be kind to yourself
Allow yourself space to process what’s happened as many people feel grief over a job loss. Accept circumstances may have been beyond your control. Adopt the mindset “a setback is a setup for a comeback.”
Update your resume and LinkedIn profile
It can feel daunting to update your resume if you haven’t in awhile. As you begin writing, ask for feedback from trusted colleagues who are familiar with your work. They may help you remember an important project you’ve overlooked. Highlight accomplishments and contributions over tasks and duties.
Resume preferences change over the years; Balanced Careers offers helpful insight and ideas on formats as well as advice on preparing for interviews. Remember to update your LinkedIn profile, too. LinkedIn Learning has helpful tips to optimize your profile for job matching and boosting appearance in recruiter searches.
Nurture your network
Make a list of people who might help you and reach out to let them know you are on the market. Build a list of companies of interest as well as people who might be able to introduce you. Start a spreadsheet to track companies and positions to which you’ve applied as well as people you’ve contacted. Watch for virtual networking events in your industry associations. Meetup.com is a great resource for finding groups for professional networking.
Set a goal outside of finding a job
Taking care of yourself mentally and physically is important to the success of your job search. Channeling energies into other endeavors can be helpful. If you can, build a weekly routine that contains a mix of mindfulness, exercise, learning and/or volunteering. Setting a personal goal in these areas may bring a sense of accomplishment.
- Journaling and mindfulness can bring clarity to your career priorities
- Exercise reduces stress and may help you feel more confident going into your job interviews so set a daily exercise goal even if it’s just a walk around your neighborhood
- Learning keeps your mind engaged and challenged and will give you new ideas and skills to highlight in job interviews so participate in online learning to keep your skills sharp
- Volunteering your time or talents benefits others of course, and it’s shown that generosity may also improve your positive outlook
Keep an open mind
While challenging, a pause in employment can offer a time of reflection and rebalancing. Is this the time to go back to school? Start your own company? Relocate? Apply your skills in a new industry? Pursue your dream job?
If the perfect position doesn’t come along quickly, be open to the possibility of contract or freelance roles as you keep searching. Many companies still have important work to be done, but may not yet have the headcount to hire full-time. A contract assignment allows you to build more experience and earn income while waiting for the perfect long-term opportunity to come along. That contract role could turn into a full-time position, too.
Most of all, remember, you can’t always control your circumstances, but you can control how you react to them. Stay positive, and make that comeback sweet.