Help! I’ve Lost My Job, and Now There’s a Pandemic! Now What Do I Do?
The recent pandemic has turned the world upside down, along with the job market. Just a few months ago, it was a candidate’s market in the new job playing field. Now, with over 40 million people unemployed, the job seeker playing field has completely changed. What to do first? Where to turn? Looking for a job… is a job! Especially with so many people looking at the same time.
Time for the Sale of Your Life
I know how this can feel. Sometimes you can feel like a deer in the headlights. However, now the deer is in quarantine and socially distanced! When I was laid off several years ago, my former boss gave me the best advice. Here I was, complete extrovert that I am, truly a “Chatty Kathy,” and I was struggling with the step of “putting myself out there” to find my next job. Even a born extrovert can struggle when it comes to promoting themselves. My former boss was truly a great mentor. She sensed this struggle and told me to “get out of my head! This is the sale of your life! You know what to do. You need to push fear aside and sell yourself.” She was completely right, and although I knew this, fear was getting in my way. I completely shifted my strategy and focused my “sales drive” onto my “get hired drive.” It worked tremendously well, and I learned so much from that time in my life.
Let’s be honest… change is scary! No one really likes it. So, if you are finding yourself currently laid off, or a recent college graduate looking for your first job, I hope that I can help with some strategies and suggestions.
Get Out of Your Head
First and foremost, you need to get out of your head! Push fear aside. The more you recognize it, the easier it becomes to acknowledge it and push it aside. One of the very best books that I ever read on this that focuses on becoming the best you, appropriately is called You Are A BADASS, by Jen Sincero. This book truly was a godsend for what I needed to grow at that time in my life. There is no better time to grow than when you are looking for your next job.
“Beef Up” Your LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn is your new BFF! Now is the perfect time to look at your LinkedIn profile and “beef it up.” Here are some suggestions that I would recommend:
- Make sure your profile picture is current and clear, and you are smiling! Remember, this is the first thing a potential employer will see. You are not going for a “mug shot” look! Keep it professional. Save your fun pics with friends and family for Facebook or Instagram. They don’t have a place on your LinkedIn profile pic.
- Review your job history and make sure everything is current on your profile. If you have been laid off, show that your current job has ended. Previously, I think people were hesitant to show they were not working or were laid off. This is a new time, my friends. Show you are looking. Many are… no need to hide it. Be bold here!
- Select the “tab” on LinkedIn that shows you are actively looking. It will help recruiters find you and let them know you are actively looking. This is under the privacy setting on LinkedIn – the tab is marked Job Seeking Preferences.
- Be sure your LinkedIn profile is on public in settings, and not private.
- Recommendations – It is always good to have recommendations from your previous employers. The best person to write a recommendation for you is an individual that you reported to or a superior. However, it is good to have recommendations from your peers also.
- Showcase who you are. If you have volunteered, list this experience. List any certifications you have, your education. Potential employers love to see community work and involvement.
Best Practices for LinkedIn Use
- Invest in LinkedIn Premium. I think LinkedIn offers a free 30 day trial of Premium. You want to be able to see who viewed your profile. Connect with people who viewed your profile and make this an opportunity to grow your network. Your network is valuable in your job search and your career.
- Download the LinkedIn jobs app on your phone. This will make it easier for you to search for open jobs, and often since we are all on our phones! You can also upload your resume to LinkedIn, which will allow you to apply for jobs much easier on the app.
- Daily… look at the jobs posted on LinkedIn. Besides word of mouth, the best jobs are usually posted on LinkedIn. Look here often. It is even a good idea to join a few LinkedIn groups that pertain to your skillset. These are key people to connect with and add to your network as well!
Leverage Your Resume
There are a few other sites that I would recommend for use in your job search. I would recommend posting your resume on the following sites: Monster, Dice (if you are in the IT industry), and Indeed. Be sure to create a separate email address for your job search, and don’t list your phone number! As a former recruiter, I know we can be what I call a “polite, persistent pest.” It’s best to leave your phone number off of your resume. This will allow you to “screen” your responses for jobs, choose who you want to speak with, and who you don’t.
Networking is Essential
Wait… there is more! Networking is your next BFF. You must network as much as you can. If you have downtime, you are networking. Set up a time to connect with your connections. There is no better time to connect and catch up than during a pandemic! Often, the best jobs are found through networking. People generally want to help, and you may find opportunities to also help someone else. One of the best quotes I heard from a recent speaker: “You can have everything in life if you can help others get what they want”. Remember… get out of your own head!
Attend Relevant Events
Lastly, I would attend as many events that you can, especially those that pertain to your industry. Of course, these are often virtual now, which makes it even easier! You can attend in the comfort of your very own home. Here are some great events to attend in the IT industry. Some are also very good for any industry.
NOTE- The websites listed below also may have some great information on finding your next role!
- DFW ATW
- DFW Prayer Breakfast
- Tech Titans
- Cyber Group Bits & Bytes
- Meetups (many events for different industries)
- Dallas Business Journal
How Can I Help?
I hope this information has helped! Remember, we are all in this together. If I can do anything to help, please reach out to me on LinkedIn. One of the best things my father instilled in me… “You can do anything you set your mind to do!” Just remember… get out of your head!
Written by Kathy Andrews, Principal
Kathy has over 5 years of experience in the Technology industry with an emphasis on building strategic relationships with her clients and connections. She is involved with many organizations in Dallas and has a passion for STEM and making a difference with women in IT.
Kathy is passionate about helping enterprises attract, serve, and retain customers by leveraging cloud, mobile, and current CRM platforms such as Salesforce. She is a driven partner in helping clients overcome challenges and be successful.
Reach out to explore these ideas further!