The tales of layoffs continue to echo throughout the country. According to White House economist Kevin Hassett, unemployment may reach 20% by June. If Hassett’s prediction is correct, the unemployment numbers would closely mirror those of the Great Depression. When the country inevitably opens once again, some people may be returning to work but most will be facing a difficult new reality. Those who were laid-off will need to go back out onto the job market and go through the process of finding full-time work again. And while this may be a trying time, laid-off professionals should view this as an opportunity for growth and self-improvement. While they are out of work, there are several things they can do to help prepare themselves for the new job hunt.
If you have been laid-off due to coronavirus, here are a few steps you should take before getting back on your feet and heading out into the working world.
1.Update your resume
Once we all return to normal life, the competition for each and every job posting will be stiff. Your resume is the single most important thing you send to employers. It details all of your relevant experience and skills. Your resume should achieve a balance between detailed and concise. Add your most recent position and all of the responsibilities, achievements, and expectations of the position. Your resume should paint you in the best light possible. Try to quantify information as often as possible, especially if those numbers are large. Include percentages, quotas, budgetary information, etc.
For example: Oversaw a budget
Or: Oversaw a $50,000 budget
One is clearly more impressive and specific than the other. Now more than ever, your resume must stand out. It must prove that you have all the skills necessary to complete the job and then some.
2. Update your LinkedIn
Your LinkedIn can work for you in many different ways. It can expose you to new employers, open up a new pool of job postings, and establish important connections. We all know the statistics. Experts say 70% of people get a job from someone they know. This will likely remain true as we continue through uncertain times. As such, you must actively expand your professional network. Grow and engage your online community by connecting with old coworkers, friends of friends, and colleagues you’ve met along the way.
However, before connecting with new professional peers, make sure your LinkedIn profile is fully fleshed out. You should have a professional headshot, a complete history of your work experience, and a small bio about yourself. If you are no longer employed, change your title to “Seeking a career in x” to let your connections know that you are laid-off but actively looking for work.
If you don’t have many friends on LinkedIn, consider connecting with locals working within your industry. When inviting them to connect, add a note expressing your interest in your mutual career field.
Now, when applying for jobs through LinkedIn, you are able to see if you or one of your connections knows someone working at that company, which can help you land an interview. It helps expand your job prospects and opportunities. LinkedIn is a powerful tool when used correctly.
3. Clean up your social media
While you are making your LinkedIn profile look pretty and polished, you should also take the time to clean up all of your social media accounts. Take some time to Google yourself and see what comes up. Get rid of any content that reflects negatively on you or your character. This is especially important as 70% of employers look at your social media accounts before asking you to come in for an interview. Another 57% of employers said they were less likely to call in a candidate if they posted something negative online. Aspects of your profile such as drug or alcohol usage, offensive language, or unreasonable political statements should be deleted. Your social media should never be the reason you don’t land a job.
4. Practice interview skills
It may have been years since you have had to impress someone during an interview. There is no better time to start practicing your interview skills than during quarantine. Most interviewers will ask the same types of questions to candidates. Sit down and think through how you would answer each question. You may even want to practice your answers out loud. Practice goes a long way. It helps calm your nerves and makes you seem more prepared and professional. When competing in a diminished job market with numerous candidates, you need anything you can to help you stand out. Once you know how to answer each question effectively and succinctly, you just have to win them over with your personality.
Bear in mind that most interviews will likely happen online due to social distancing. Allocate a quiet space in your home to conduct interviews. The spot should have proper lighting, good internet connectivity, and a blank, neutral background. Creating a designated space helps your mind adjust its way of thinking for that space. A professional space means a professional mindset.
5. Acquire a new skill or certification
If COVID-19 taught the world anything, it’s that most businesses need to be able to continue their work remotely and the tech industry is vital to our success. According to Forbes, technology-related jobs are still very much in demand despite widespread layoffs in other industries. While you are at home, it may be beneficial to acquire a new technology-related skill such as coding or programming. If those skills seem too advanced, you may want to obtain a software certification in more common software such as Adobe or Adobe Photoshop. While you may not get a job with rudimentary coding skills, it does distinguish you from other applicants and signals your advanced technological skills.
6. Collect references
If you were laid-off due to circumstances out of your control, it means you were a good employee but external forces caused the company to downsize. Therefore, you should still have a good professional relationship with your employers or coworkers. Use those positive relationships as references for other job prospects. Glowing references add to your candidacy and highlight your strengths. Make sure you obtain your colleagues’ personal phone numbers just in case they are still working from home when an employer needs to contact them. LinkedIn can be another key way to remain in contact with previous colleagues after you were laid-off.
7. Ask for positive and constructive feedback
If you had a valuable relationship with your supervisor before you were laid-off, ask him/her what they thought were areas of improvement for you. This objective feedback could provide insightful context on the kind of worker you were. It can also help identify areas of improvement for you. While you are in quarantine, you can begin thinking of ways to overcome your weaknesses. For example, if your manager says you were a little unorganized, you may begin organizing your workflow as you search for a job. As you begin to work on your flaws, you improve your abilities as a worker and make yourself a more competitive candidate.
8. Take some time to collect yourself
It feels extremely stressful to be laid-off during this time, but you are not alone. Many people are in a similar position and the government is rolling out many government assistance programs to help those in need. Take some time to breathe and collect your thoughts before frantically searching for your next job opportunity. Allow yourself time to process all that has happened in the past couple of months. You can easily overwhelm yourself if you jump straight into the job search process without taking a moment. The job search process is stressful enough as it is, you do not want to go into the process in an anxious or negative state of mind. Try to remain as positive as possible, your new job is on the horizon!
Prepory’s career coaching service, Sprout can help you improve your resume, cover letters, LinkedIn, and more. We can walk you through the process with unlimited support from our team to help you land a new job. Have questions? Reach out to us!