Perhaps you are needing to reinvent yourself because the pandemic crashed your industry. Or you may be employed, but the pandemic has caused you to think about life, time, and greater happiness. Or you may be insecure in your job and want to have some back-up plans in place if needed.
Whatever the reason, it is important to think through a next step for greater happiness and success in a thoughtful way. Even if you are unemployed and thinking “I’m open to anything” because you just want food on your table, it is still important to have grounded job targets; employers want candidates who are motivated to work for them. Being clear on goals and job targets will also make you more successful in your search since people can’t help you well with networking unless you are clear about what you want. Networking is always the best job search method rather than simply getting sucked into the black hole of the Internet. Lastly, the clearer you are, the more likely you will land somewhere that is a good match and you won’t need to go through this all again too soon.
THE JOB MARKET
Before getting into a framework on how to best choose goals and have a successful job search, here’s a bit of information on the everchanging pandemic job market to help motivate you. We all know the first wave most hit the hospitality, food, retail, and entertainment industries the hardest. There was also some hit to eds and meds, which are expected to continue or increase in the second wave, yes, even hospitals. Government jobs are expected to be hit badly in the next waves of furloughs and layoffs. Of the early layoffs, Bloomberg cited that 30% of lost jobs will never come back and University of Chicago predicted 42% not returning.
On the positive side, a June article from Marketplace.org noted the survivors from LinkedIn data which could be helpful in looking toward the future. During the April crash hardware and networking jobs increased by 2.3%, including semiconductor makers, internet service providers, wireless firms, and makers of networking gear. I like to remind people that these industries employ all types of people, including administrative, not just tech folks. Small business hiring went up a bit bringing back workers, while larger companies shed 10,000 workers, paring back by 39.6%. The Pittsburgh Business Times reported gains in Science R&D of 700 jobs in April. Financial services had a 1,000 job growth in April prompting an effort for recruitment with the PA Bankers Association, called BankWorks.
A University of Connecticut report noted current positive trends in jobs related to on-line shopping and mobile marketing. Among the report’s post-COVID positive trends are Digital, Renewable Energy and Construction. The Marketplace.org article noted positive longer-term trends for logistics and supply-chain management; automation, including robotics and coding related; and eldercare and home healthcare due to the graying of America.
“Your power to choose the direction in your life allows you to reinvent yourself,
to change your future, and to powerfully influence the rest of creation.”Stephen Covey
CAREER PLANNING FRAMEWORK
Briefly here are elements to be thinking about when exploring and planning your next steps. Career counseling can help you walk through it with tools, counseling insights, and even career assessments/testing:
- Interests – or at least liking tasks so you aren’t miserable when waking up in the morning
- Skills/Strength – What comes naturally to you, or on the practical end, what can you leverage but not be unhappy? What transferrable skills do you have?
- Personality – Who are you naturally and how does that fit or not fit a career field, industry or even specific employer culture
- Values – What is important to you in a job and in life
Explore and Research What’s Out There:
- Written resources – After connecting self to potential fields of interest, use neutral resources through the Department of Labor like the O*Net to learn and narrow down
- Networking – Ideally talk to 2-3 people in 2-4 fields to get real world information and advice and check out feasibility in the job market
- Professional Associations – This can be a source of written information and networking leads
- Shadowing – Not so possible in pandemic times, but something to keep in mind for the future
- Volunteering – This could be an opportunity to explore a career, gain experience for your resume and make contacts, even remotely
- Internship – Similar to volunteering, you may be able to create a more meaningful, structured experience, even if not a current student
- Coursework – Take a course or two (or training experience) to decide between two fields, test it out before enrolling in a program, or two increase a specific skill for marketability
Make a Decision:
- Career Field – What job title(s) or job functions
- Sector – Business, Government, or Nonprofit
- Industry – What product, service, issue or population
- Education – Degree, training, or simply professional development course
- Re-evaluate – If you are unhappy or unsuccessful in the search or job, review above steps
Job Search – Presenting Yourself:
- Resume – This is a marketing document, not just a factual document. For those re-inventing, a skills-based or functional resume may work better than a chronological
- Cover Letters – Yes, I still say to use them as a way to stand out even if only looked at during phone and video interview stages. It is your chance to tell you career shift story.
- Interview – Even if you have good interpersonal skills, this is about strategy. This includes the case for your career shift and countering barriers like age or lack of experience proactively.
Job Search – Strategies:
- Networking, networking, networking – With a 50-80% success rate, this is still the top technique, yes, even remotely. Spend at least 50% of your job search time networking.
- LinkedIn – This is just one resource for networking, but important. Plus job listings.
- Job Listings – Of course, you want to continue to do apply here, but don’t get lost in it with all your time. Plus try to infuse networking into this beside pure non-vacancy networking.
- Employment Agencies/Headhunters – This works more for people who are job searching in their existing field than career changers. In bad economic times, employment often comes back here first in terms of temp or contract work
- Job Fairs – Even though it is less personal with virtual fairs and employers may primarily direct you to on-line applications, still go so you can get a name for correspondence to stand out.
- Spotting Opportunities – Keep abreast of news in terms of companies that are growing or nonprofits that are received grants, then follow them and/or network.
I would be honored to help you in your career decision-making and/or job search
to help save you time and heartache!
Coming in Part Two of Reinventing Yourself: Skills-based Resume and Transferrable Skills Assessments