Tips for Relaunching your Career During the Pandemic
COVID-19 has forced many to consider a career change. Millions have lost their jobs literally overnight. For others, the crisis has pushed some to do some soul-searching. If your job has been affected by the pandemic and no longer offers stable employment, or you have been desiring a career change for quite some time, now could be a good opportunity to develop or enhance the skills you need for a successful career change. We have compiled a few tips taken from several sources to help you in your new journey.
Transform this Transition into a Positive One
Changing careers, especially if one is forced to, can be a blow to your psyche and your pocketbook. However, it can also be a chance to reinvent yourself and get you moving into a direction that is more fulfilling.
Know your Financial Flow
Where is your money going? Some of you will have to get real about your spending and cut unnecessary expenses. Try tracking your spending for a minimum of 30 days to get a clear picture of your finances. Fortunately, technology has made tracking your spending easy and there are a number of apps you can use, most of which are available on all of your devices. Figure out how much goes toward essentials and how much is left for extras. Do some long overdue planning and develop a spending plan or a budget. Also, consider taking a side job to help you make ends meet if necessary. While side jobs may not be the most optimal, remember the first tip — transform it into a positive experience. A side job can be a great way to network with people that you might otherwise not come in contact with, thereby providing an opportunity to market yourself.
Figure out your Strengths and Talents
Think about your interests. Consider asking friends, mentors, or former colleagues to describe you in three words to help you determine an area of focus. Then do your research. It’s imperative that you understand the industry that you wish to enter. Set up a few informational interviews — talk to people who are already in those jobs or industries. Given that people are working from home, they may be more open to chatting with you than you think. Doing so can also help you learn about new opportunities.
Tap into your Network and Market Yourself
Most jobs come through networking, so start making connections right away. Use your network to identify new opportunities. Try to use social networking sites to connect with hiring managers, employees, or recruiters at the companies of interest. Remember, your networks are not just professional in nature. You never know — your next job could come from your neighbors, your fellow volunteers, your fellow soccer moms and dads, or church members. Also, use your networks to learn about changes you may need to make to find more success. Learning from others can be one of the best ways to make improvements. Believe it or not, there are people out there that are willing to offer advice, share words of encouragement, and give you a job lead. If you want to start your own business, consider offering your services for free or offering them for a discounted fee in exchange for a testimonial or a bartering opportunity.
Enhance your Skills and Build New Ones
Look for careers that enable you to use your transferable skills. If you are seeking a position in a new industry, it is important to highlight the skills you already have and show how they can be an asset in today’s changing market. Taking online classes can give you a chance to enhance your skills. Social-distancing measures have provided great opportunities for job candidates to use their downtime to take online classes to learn new skills or improve existing ones. In many cases, a certification can be obtained in a few weeks, which can lead to faster employment.
Set a Daily or Weekly Structure
Many of you have either lost your daily/weekly routine or have experienced a significant change. So, the need to create a new one is paramount. Begin setting goals for each day or week. For example, consider adding 2 to 3 new LinkedIn connections per day. Make it a goal to connect with 10 to 15 people in your network or make a commitment to apply to 1 to 3 jobs each week. Balance the quality and quantity of your applications and don’t forget to follow-up. Make adjustments when necessary. Whatever goals you set, make sure that you stick to them. To help you do that, make them S.M.A.R.T. goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and that have a Timeframe. Also remember that it’s important to give yourself a break. Allow for some downtime so that the job hunt won’t become all-consuming.
Get a Job-Hunting Buddy
A job buddy can not only help provide accountability, but also help support you. Check in on each other at least once a week. Make it a point to do what you said you’d do and conversely, hold your buddy accountable to what they said they’d do. Keep each other motivated and encouraged to stay the course. Be sure to share your successes with each other because doing so can make you both feel less alone and provide the push needed to keep going.
Above all else, be patient with the process. Job searching can be tough and doing it during the pandemic can be especially challenging. It can be disheartening to apply to jobs without hearing back. Although it’s hard not to take it personally, accepting that rejection is a natural part of the process can help. Allow yourself to feel the frustration or sadness that may come, but then shift to the first tip — Transform this Transition into a Positive One. Remain optimistic and persistent, as difficult as that may seem, and enjoy the ride. If you stay the course and do the work, you will likely find a more meaningful and fulfilling career — one that is better than your previous one.
So, keep your spirits up! Go full force! Don’t let anything stop you!