7 Career Tips for the COVID Shutdown

Mike Podesto is a former recruiter and current Founder & CEO of Find My Profession, a leading resume writing and career coaching company. Mike’s career advice has been featured on sites like Inc., Zety, Motherly, Fast Company, and more. His viral posts on employment have been seen by millions on LinkedIn.

There’s no industry, state, and part of the local government that hasn’t taken a hit in terms of job loss during the pandemic. 

Job loss and career changes are turbulent phases of our lives. 

But it’s important to remember that it’s not the end of the world. This too shall pass. And it will pass very soon if you keep striving for the better.

Here’s a powerful quote to give you strength: 

“All possibility requires hard work, regular reinvention, and a dedication as deep as the sea to leaving our harbors of safety, daily” – Robin Sharma.

Now, here are a few tips to get direction and inspiration. These tips will help you to weather the storm.

Know Your Employment Status 

First things first. Know where you are in terms of your current employment status.

Make sure you know if you are facing a layoff or a furlough, or some other kind of job loss.

Furlough and layoff are not the same things. Furlough is a temporary loss of work and payment, whereas layoffs can be permanent.

The matter of hope here is that 93% of state and local government workers suffering a job loss reported their layoff was temporary.

Whether you’re dealing with a layoff or a furlough, be open to seeking a new job in both cases. A better opportunity can come out of all this anytime.

Know Your Rights

After verifying your employment status, it’s time to learn about your state’s unemployment benefits and COVID-19 assistance programs.

Get familiar with the expanded unemployment insurance guidelines announced by the U.S. Department of Labor in the wake of COVID-19.

Some states have also opened separate job seeker outreach programs and unemployment programs offering special Pandemic Unemployment Benefits. Find out about your state programs from the State Unemployment Insurance Office.

Even if you were furloughed or facing pay-cuts, you may also be eligible for unemployment benefits.

There are also special programs for those who are sick or have to take care of sick loved ones.

Know about COVID-19 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act, and other Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws to protect yourself from any discriminatory situations.

A non-profit organization, A Better Balance, offers a free and confidential legal helpline to help you understand your workplace rights around caring for yourself and your family members.

Be Mindful of Your Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic
video presentation

No one really knows how it’s all gonna work out. The seismic shift in how the world works is unprecedented. 

MIKE PODESTO

Update Your Resume and Embrace LinkedIn

Having an updated resume is essential for every professional at every stage of their career.

You may already know you should be updating your resume every six months to a year even if you are happily employed.

Updating information while it’s fresh in your mind will make your life easier later on. Just adding projects and the numeric results to your resume experience section will help.

Now that you have some time off, it’s a good time to do that.

You can update your resume on your own or use a professional resume writing service.

If you tackle your resume on your own, pay close attention to even the minutest of details like the fonts and colors you use on your resume. Be sure you are using a modern format. Resume standards have changed in the last few years.

Now than ever before, you should also give the utmost importance to your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is essential for today’s age of remote hiring and working.

Update your information as needed to coordinate with your updated resume. Consider writing articles on topics in your industry. Comment and engage with other people on posts in your career space. Share relevant posts and articles. Make more connections.

If you are actively looking for a job, reach out to recruiters to let them know you are looking for work. Contact hiring managers after you apply for a job to connect. If you aren’t actively looking, your LinkedIn profile will be complete when you do look for a job in the future.

Keep Your Skills Current 

No matter what type of job loss you are facing right now, you can utilize this time to update your skills.

You can enroll in online training, courses, and workshops to acquire new skills if you are eyeing a career change.

If you will be returning to your job, consider taking some courses for future job growth. It doesn’t hurt to gain more knowledge.

Another effective way of using your skills and adding value to your resume is by doing volunteer work. Find a role or organization that is related to your field and see how you can help.

Another option is helping out with the current pandemic. There’s a high demand for volunteers to tackle COVID-19.

Embrace Technology

The trend of remote working was already rising before COVID. It is only expected to keep growing in the new normal.

Getting yourself comfortable with the skills and practices of virtual interviews, conferences, and remote working will give you an advantage in the job market right now.

On top of that, the world is undergoing a massive digital transformation.

As an example, consider the shift in the education sector.

Education jobs have accounted for nearly two-thirds of the decline in state and local government employment. Educators had no other option but to use online education, making the most use of technology.

So, the more you are experienced with the technologies being adopted in your industry or target industries, the better career growth you are likely to have.

Learning through online courses is a valuable tool in this regard.  

Stay Updated on the Job Market

Contrary to how it might seem, there are still companies and sectors that are actively hiring, so don’t lose hope of finding a job.

 USAJOBS.GOV has opened up a separate section dedicated to Coronavirus jobs.

Coronavirus-related job openings are also likely to be available on your state and city websites. Keep an active watch on these sites for new postings.

Keep in mind that hiring needs are changing. You, too, have to change accordingly to stay qualified.

On another note, watch out for work-from-home scams.

For every one legitimate work-from-home job, there are approximately 60 to 70 work-from-home job scams. Do not consider any work-from-home job posts from unsubstantiated or shady sources. Validate job postings with the actual company or government office.

Update Your Home Office

Whether you are laid off or working from home, your home office needs to be your place of solace and growth.

If you are out of work, job-seeking and professional growth is your full-time job now.

A productive home office is essential.

How can you make that happen in a sea of distractions? 

  • Dedicate a place or a room for your home office. 
  • Keep a distraction and clutter-free environment. 
  • Communicate with family members about your office schedule and needs. 
  • Take adequate measures to ensure your kids are being looked after while you work. 
  • Create, follow, and stick to your routine. 

Everyone’s situation is different and you have to make the most use of whatever you have right now. Utilize your resources accordingly.

In Conclusion

Above all, harbor hope to fuel your inner strength.

No one really knows how it’s all gonna work out. The seismic shift in how the world works is unprecedented. 

But change can be good.

As Albert Einstein and many others have said, “in the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity.”

Use this time to better yourself for your career.

Who knows what waits around the next corner. We sincerely hope that you are back to work very soon.

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