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What the Job Hunt Looks Like During COVID-19

Figuring out how to apply for a job in a virtual world is scary – what felt like throwing your name into a shoebox before, comes with even more fear with a global pandemic.

“Unemployment rose higher in three months of COVID-19 than it did in two years of the Great Recession.” (Pew Research Center) And here’s how the unemployment rate quadrupled for recent college graduates since the pandemic according to Statista:

  • March: 3.8%
  • April: 7.6%
  • May: 10.5%
  • June: 13.3% 

There is a lot of pressure to “start your life” during an unprecedented global pandemic.

These are the times where you are supposed to figure it out– when the boxes aren’t yet put in front of you to check.

These are the times where you are supposed to get real with yourself and have the hard conversations.

These are the times where you are supposed to stand out and stand up for what you believe in doing. 

These are the times where you are supposed to build the most foundational and formative relationships of your life.

Now, more than ever, “supposed to”looks like “how?” The good news is, you can still stand out and stand up for your passions, build fundamental relationships, and get real with your future.

How COVID-19 Impacts Prospective Employers

COVID is Redefining jobs → 

  • Furloughs
  • Unknown or shifted goals/needs
  • Cancelled opportunities 
  • Unclear standards for specific industries
  • Opportunity to connect with audience in new ways, more sincere ways
  • Opportunity to serve audiences in an innovative, new capacity
  • Online networking, wider audience

How COVID-19 Impacts Job Applicants

Are you in one of these scenarios?

  • You are currently unemployed 
  • You were just laid off from your job
  • You just graduated from college 
  • You are going into your senior year of college and need to start looking for a job

So, what do you do if it’s taking longer than you expected to find a job post-grad, or you find yourself suddenly unemployed?

6 Tips for Finding Work:  A Crippling Economic Recession During a Global Pandemic

  1. Strategize for Success
  2. Network
  3. Professional Development
  4. Balance Survival and Skill-Building
  5. Self-Discovery and Personal Growth
  6. Stay Motivated with Self-Care 

1. Plan an Organized, Thoughtful Strategy

  • Work on your resume
  • Set specific goals that you want to achieve and layout how you will get there
  • As tempting as it is, avoid the urge to send out tons of random job applications like LinkedIn one-clicks without even reading the job description- this will land you somewhere you’re likely to be unhappy

2. Network + Community Building

  • Tap into your existing network 
    • Ask for advice from people who have your best interests at hard
    • Everybody is a somebody
  • Expand your network by meeting new people
    • Attend online networking events as a great way to connect with new people
    • Join our pathfinding group to stay connected
  • Why not take this time to build a community of your own?
  • Go out and find people who you can talk to who are doing the things you want to learn from ⇒ this is the unconventional path to finding a job

3. Professional Development 

  • Work on projects to display in your portfolio so you can have experience to speak about to potential employers
  • Dig into your hobbies to uncover your passions, then think about how you can turn those into a career
  • Invest in your personal development
    • Read on events/subjects that you haven’t had time for
  • Boost your skills
    • Online courses + certifications
    • Attend webinars + online events (Our LinkedIn Pathfinding Community hosts one guest speaker a month who speaks on everything from thought leadership to improv!)
    • Learn about something different than your major, such as
      • Marketing
      • SEO
      • Project management 
      • Operations
    • Conduct original research

It’s important to personalize this process. Create your own checkbox of items you want for yourself

4. Balance Survival With Skill Building:

If you can’t find immediate employment, there’s no shame in working retail, the restaurant industry, etc; everyone needs to make money, and not everyone has external financial support, especially post-grad. Consider balancing your time with a combination of a volunteer opportunity that gives you professional development such as project management, graphic design, or writing.

5. Leverage Unemployment Downtime by Conducting Self-Discovery

If the job finding process is taking longer than you’d like, you can also balance your free time between looking for work and diving into the self-discovery process. Set yourself up for success in the future:

  • Get really clear on yourself and who you are
    • Values
    • Passions
    • Desires
    • Curiosity
  • Writing and reflecting on the person you are and who you want to become

Now, you can outline the types of opportunities that are appealing to you. 

6. Keep Going, Even When it Feels Hopeless: Stay Motivated With Self-Care

Remember: this process is emotionally taxing, draining, and ultimately painful. Not hearing back from jobs can be discouraging. Some days, you might find yourself feeling utterly hopeless. Take time for self care to keep your spirits and motivation up, and combat application fatigue/tedium — this is a common situation. You are not alone.

Conclusion

  • Even if you’re not getting that dream job offer you crave and spent so many years working to qualify for (not to mention the expense of a degree), there’s an opportunity awaiting in some shape, size or form
  • This uncertain time is a unique opportunity to build a better path on your own terms
  • Find and create opportunities where you can grow and become a better professional in the process.

This is a difficult time for everyone in your position, so be gentle and be patience with yourself and others as you overcome unprecedented challenges, fears, and adversity. The pandemic is the first in our lifetime; if you feel overwhelmed, that’s because it’s overwhelming, but you’re not in this alone.

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and you can create mini-beacons to guide you along the darkest parts of this path.

For Young Professionals
Bryan Wish

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