How to Stay Sharp During Unemployment
So, you’re one of the millions of people out of work. It’s hard and you’re likely experiencing the stages of grief. It’s emotional, and you are not alone. Our jobs contribute to our personal identities, and when drastic changes happen due to external circumstances, it impacts us in many ways.
The current global situation reminds us that the only constant is change. When you are ready to get back in the game, know that new opportunities await! Everything happens for a reason, and with each door that closes, a new one opens.
How do you find that so-called “open door”–or should I say, the right open door–for you? Review potential questions you may have and answers/ideas to combat the hurdles and uncertainties that may enter your brain as you get back into the job hunt:
“I don’t see any jobs open right now that actually fall into my interests and expertise. What do I do?”
This time is a gift. Use it to boost your resume with online certifications, education, and e-learning. Is there something you’ve been itching to learn more about? Master some Google tools with Google’s Skillshop, or check out Centro’s Digital Media Essentials training here. Self-improvement, one of Centro’s core principles, is a lifelong endeavor. The more skills you showcase, the more appealing you’ll be to recruiters, and the more confident you’ll feel overall.
“I’m interviewing but nobody even wants me. I should just give up.”
Never give up! Keep practicing storytelling, pitching, and articulating your skill set—you can have all the accolades in the world and the most pristine experience on-paper, but you need to be able to weave and tell a compelling personal story! You may be in a tough spot, but do you still showcase a positive attitude? How are you persevering through adversity to leverage your unique skill set? Own YOUR story, make it special, and perfect the way you share it.
“I’ve been out of practice. The thought of interviewing after all this time scares me. How can I get some practice before the “real” thing?”
Interviewing can be scary. You are being evaluated and for lack of a better word, “judged,” based on a piece of paper and first impression. But remember, just as you are being evaluated—you are equally evaluating the employer. This must be a two-way street to ensure compatibility. In order to “dust off the rust” and feel prepped and confident, ask a trusted professional and/or friend to quiz you virtually with questions.
Practice telling your stories and answering questions on-the-fly. Since interviewing will be done virtually for the foreseeable future, this helps you articulate your accomplishments proficiently, via webcam. Don’t forget to also check out interview tips from the pros, such as LinkedIn’s recent article about the “6 Interview Skills that Will Get You Hired” or these remote interviewing tips.
“I’ve gotten an offer, but the pay is way lower than the standard I have set for myself. They said when crisis mode ends, things will change, but how can I trust that’s the case?”
The economy is currently in struggle. Trust that you have worth but remember to look at the opportunity as a whole and not just the salary. Ask questions about health plans and other benefits, work flexibility, mental health support, family programs, growth opportunities, office culture, etc. Take time to sit down and consider what’s most important in your life.
“I’m sending out resumes everywhere but I’m getting no responses.”
Reset your expectations. Don’t abandon career goals, hopes, and dreams. Instead, think about what other jobs fall within your wheelhouse of skills and interests. The job market may not be ideal, but an unlikely opportunity could turn into something you never knew you wanted or push you into learning something new.
“What good does networking do me if the people I’m talking to aren’t in the position to hire someone? Also, how do I network when I’m quarantined…?”
Networking is always your friend. Check out what Goldman Sach’s recruiters have to say about networking and events during uncertain times. Set up networking conversations and manage your time wisely. This is an opportunity to learn more about someone, what they do, the company they are at, etc.
If the conversation goes in a direction that potentially solidifies your desire to work at their company, or in their line of work, it never hurts to ask them to keep you in mind when their company begins hiring.
You can say something similar to, “I know you aren’t hiring currently and I’m fully aware of the challenges companies are facing at this time with COVID-19, but if you hear anything in the industry or at your company about a need to hire someone with my skill set, please do keep me in mind.” A shameless plug can lead to a world of opportunity. After your initial conversation, don’t forget to keep in touch to keep yourself top of mind! A thank you note for their time will go a long way.
Make a list of people in your network. If you’re a recent grad, think about your favorite professors, or any professionals you respect, are comfortable with and look up to. Think of old internship supervisors, old managers, coworkers, pals that are employed, family members, friends, friends of friends of friends, etc.—make a personal goal to reach out to a certain number of people per day.
How does this look virtually? Seek out connections on LinkedIn or reach out via email. Be clear and specific with your ask—why are you reaching out, how are you, connected, and how much time are you asking for? Then, you can Zoom call, Facetime, or call them via phone. We are lucky to have a multitude of ways to connect with people even when it can’t be in-person at the nearest Starbucks. Make it happen!
You are going to overcome this challenge, and we are all going to make it to the other side of this pandemic with an amazing story to tell! Take some deep breaths, hang in there, and stay well!