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  • Writer's pictureKrista Wise

Unexpected Unemployment

How did this happen? At some point in the past two weeks, we’ve all asked this question. Less than one month ago we were operating business as usual—our routines fully intact on any given day. Few people could have seen this huge and unprecedented shift coming. Because of circumstances that were likely out of your control, you might be looking for a job now. We’ve compiled a list of things you can do to find your next opportunity without missing a beat, even during this season of crisis.

Get Up!

With so much of our normal routine and everyday world at a standstill, you may feel frozen and unsure of your next step. Although this challenge is tremendous and its implications have many of us feeling knocked down and uncertain about the future, we still have a choice—give in or get back up. If you bury your head in the sand and wait for things to get better, you will be one step behind when things begin to turn around. Instead, we would encourage you to GET UP and take the next right step forward. What does this actually look like in practice? It is an active pursuit of your next opportunity that begins with establishing a daily routine.

· Wake up early and get ready for the day—dress for the job you want!

· Remember: your mental health is just as important as your physical health, especially in this time of heightened anxiety. One way to practice self-care is to exercise. Even a short outdoor walk will help get your blood flowing and keep you from going a little stir crazy.

· Find a place that you can work well without interruptions.

· Call and/or email your network! Many people are home and easier to reach right now – set up times for conversations. Remember, your friends and colleagues want to help you, don’t be afraid to ask. Network, network, network (more details below).

· Take time at the end of your “work” day to refresh with something that you enjoy and is life-giving to you.

Consider Your Next Opportunity

Is there another industry toward which you would like to pivot to leverage your experience and skill in a new way? Would it be worth it to take a step back in order to take a future step forward? This might not be necessary, yet may put a few more opportunities in play. A career transition can lead to an opportunity in a field that you may not have considered before. Your next opportunity could be a place of passion and a perfect fit!

Network, Network, Network

Use this time to build your network. Reach out to trusted colleagues and friends, explaining your current goals and the type of job you are hoping to find. Brainstorm with each of them to find ideas of companies, positions, and connections around your area of interest. Many heads are better than one! Ask each of them to introduce you to two people in their network with whom you could set up a conversation. Repeat. Even if it feels uncomfortable—do it! You will learn, meet incredible people, grow your network, and hopefully connect over time with the job you are hoping to find. Pro tip: Zoom meetings are a great way to connect with people when you can’t meet them for the first time in person. Initiate, and follow up with a calendar invite!

Tailor Your Resume

Each time you apply for a job, take a few minutes to thoughtfully review your resume. As you update and refine, consider the position you are hoping to land. You want to make it easy for the hiring manager or recruiter to see the relevance of your experience to the job at hand. In your resume, highlight any relevant experience in a way that is easy for the hiring manager to see. You are basically connecting the dots to proactively show how your experience lends itself to the job. Remember that AI platforms are used to filter resumes, so think about keywords related to the specific job (potentially seen in the job description) that are present in your experience and include them! If you have had multiple jobs, it is no longer the norm to have a one-page resume – two pages is common and acceptable. Have someone proofread your resume to make sure it is putting your best foot forward and free of mistakes.

Communicate Professionally

Whether it was a requirement of your previous job or not, make sure that all communication as you network and reach out to hiring managers and recruiters is professional. Use a format that is business professional rather than texting casual. Always pay attention to spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. And keep your tone positive and upbeat!

Grow Your Knowledge

Many companies are offering webinars and free online training in this current climate. If you find yourself with more time on your hands now compared to a few weeks ago, take advantage of the resources that are out there! Learn a new skill or refine and update an existing one. This is a great opportunity to learn more about companies that you may be interested in as well as spending time on self-development. Keep in mind that many employers are implementing new technologies and applications as they shift toward temporary yet indefinite remote working formats. Familiarizing yourself with video conferencing tools and project management software is extremely productive right now!

Take the Next Right Step

If you are finding yourself suddenly and unexpectedly on the hunt for a new job, remember that you are not alone. Give yourself and the people around you grace—we are all learning as we go in this time of uncertainty. Take the time you need to grieve and process, but don’t let disappointment and fear keep you from pursuing your next opportunity.

Each step you take—no matter how big or small— is getting you closer….be encouraged!


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