Pinsky: Job searching in uncertain times

What do you do when you find yourself out of work and the world is in crisis? You take a breath and start creating a recovery strategy. Go easy on yourself because job searching is likely to feel overwhelming right now. 

For many individuals and even entire industries, this pandemic is a giant re-set button. We are being challenged to find our way in the context of a new normal that has yet to be defined.

The rules are changing. Even a simple task like buying groceries is extra challenging. Masks, sanitizers, long lines and empty shelves are suddenly the norm. Similarly, job searching will require additional planning and effort.

First, stock up on hope. Research shows that hope is linked to making successful transitions. Think of hope as the fuel for a job search strategy. Hope allows us to dream and energizes us toward planning for the future — despite challenges and obstacles.

You cannot buy hope at the store. Even if you could, it would be sold out — just like hand sanitizer and toilet paper! Some people discover hope in their spiritual traditions. For others, hope is found in history, nature and art.

Maya Angelou said, “Hope and fear cannot occupy the same space. Invite one to stay.” It really is a decision we all get to make — we decide whether to live in hope or fear.

Stay informed about what is happening in the world but turn off the steady stream of “breaking news.” Even glancing at shocking headlines can put you in a state of fear.

Be very selective about where you put your attention. Read inspirational stories, keep a gratitude journal, create a vision board to clarify your next chapter. Hope is infectious so surround yourself with positive people.    

Second, take time to consider your next move. If your industry has been hard hit by the pandemic, you may have no choice but to consider a career change. Perhaps the world crisis has inspired you to finally go after a career that brings you greater meaning and satisfaction.  I have clients in both these camps right now!

Whether change is chosen or being forced upon you, this is a perfect time to reevaluate your needs, desires and goals. One of the benefits of social distancing is that we have time to be introspective and consider how we want our “new normal” to be.

Research which companies are hiring right now. What new opportunities do you see on the horizon in your industry?  Explore new industries that might want and need your skill set.

Within a few short weeks, companies of all sizes have created new products and services to adapt to changes, meet needs, and remain profitable. More of this is coming! Where can you fit into the new and next?

Third, be job search ready. Competition will be fierce. If there was ever a time to invest in a professionally written cover letter and resumé, this may well be it. Professional marketing pieces can significantly reduce the time it takes to land in a new position. Be wary of scammers; check references and credentials before engaging with a career professional.

Target your resumé and cover letter to each position to make it through Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). Get up to speed on video interview platforms because you probably won’t be meeting face to face for a while. Prepare carefully in order to stand out at every phase of the hiring process.

Deep breath. Cultivate hope. Evaluate options. Then, get to work on a rebound strategy. You’ve got this!

Carrie Pinsky LPC is a career counselor and job search coach in private practice at Pink Sky Career Counseling. Reach her at carrie@pink-sky.net or 970-225-0772.