The majority of the world’s workforce is currently going through a challenging, unpredicted situation, so if you’ve lost your job or are facing job loss and feeling overwhelmed or under-prepared, don’t panic- you’re not alone!
First and foremost, recognize and remind yourself as often as necessary that this is not your fault. You’re not in your current situation because you made bad decisions, didn’t work hard enough or didn’t plan properly. There are things in life within our control and things in life outside our control, and this is one that’s out of our control. We can’t control the circumstances, but we can control how we react to them.
Being thrust into isolation further complicates the situation for many of us that aren’t used to working from home, aren’t able to work from home, or have children in the household to look after. Some of us are going to have to accept immediately available work, even if it’s not what we want in the long-term, and others are going to become freelancers or entrepreneurs launching the business idea we’ve had for years!
Whatever your situation, a good place to start is by defining or reevaluating your “why”. Your “Why” is your vision, your purpose and your bigger picture reason for why you do the work you do each day. Before all this virus chaos started, how aligned was the life you were living with the life you want to be living? Having worked in recruitment for the past 15 years, I can confidently say that before the virus struck, there were hundreds of thousands of people unsatisfied with their jobs/careers/incomes. If you are one of them, there’s no better time than now to make a change. As many of us are being hurdled into forced change, let’s remember that it can be a very good thing!
Here are some questions that might help you discover or rediscover your “Why”:
- What do/did you like about your current/most recent work?
- What don’t/ didn’t you like about your current/most recent work?
- What are some of your top skills and best characteristics?
- How or where could you utilize them? What industries require similar skills?
- What makes you stand out from others with a similar education/work experience?
- What would you be doing for work if anything/everything was an option?
Now that we’ve established a strong mental foundation, it’s going to be important that those of us looking for work or anticipating the need to look for work in the near future are productive and taking action now so we can come out the other side of this on top!
Here are five productive actions you can take, while in isolation or lockdown to set yourself up for success!
- Update your CV/ Resume/ LinkedIn Profile. When listing employment, education, and responsibilities, start with the most relevant/impressive ones and leave the less relevant/ impressive ones for the bottom of the list. Highlight your transferable skills, characteristics and qualities, and emphasize what makes you stand out from others with a similar background. Lastly, be more memorable by including volunteer work, awards and recognition, a famous quote, a photo or something unique that would catch a hiring manager’s attention.
- Apply for local jobs or remote work that’s being advertised online. A lot of companies are also going through transition periods and many employers will still be engaging with candidates, conducting video interviews, and even beginning digital training for new starts.
- Prepare a few interview outfits including shoes and accessories, then take a photo of them so you don’t waste time the day of an interview worrying about what to wear!
- Practice roleplaying common interview questions with a friend, relative, flatmate, etc. You don’t have to live together- practice over the phone or video call. If you’re both looking for work, alternate interviewer and interviewee!
- For those of you looking to start your own business, check out the book I published last year called From Freelance to Freedom where you can learn more about my business journey and receive practical advice for launching and scaling your business. (Available on Amazon as a kindle download or paperback for a heavily reduced price due to the pandemic)
Be sure to follow up and follow through! If an employer is debating between two equally qualified candidates, and one of them phones in to follow up, they might decide to go with that applicant because of their pro-active nature.
Remember, your self-talk and mentality are a massive factor in your ability to thrive and achieve career success. Hiring Managers are humans which means they have a limited attention span and can forget things. Taking action now, being memorable, and following up can make a difference.
Founder and Director of Superlative Recruitment, Ltd
This article was first published on WorkLife CoronaVirus Edition