Unemployment has reached a record high because of the Coronavirus. In just one and a half months, these numbers soared from 3.5% to over 16%. With a slowly re-opening job market, hiring is hopeful for the near future. Whether you are recently entering the job market for the first time or for the first time in a while, searching for a job can be difficult during these unprecedented times. Marc Bautis welcomes guest and professional career coach Geoffrey Goldman as they talk about the state of the job market and how to execute a job search during the Coronavirus.
In this episode, you will learn:
- Where to start your job search.
- How to reach out to someone on LinkedIn.
- What to include in your online professional profile.
- How to stand out in an online job search.
- The future of work-from-home.
- And more!
We’ve gone from labor markets operating at full capacity earlier in the year to record unemployment after the lock down from the Coronavirus, which we actually went from 3.5% unemployment about a month and 1/2 ago, to over 16%. Now we’re starting to slowly open up the economy and hopefully that means it will be a lot of rehiring going on.
This is about as crazy of a time, as probably anyone has seen in the job market. We just crossed last week, over 30 million unemployment claims, which blows any period going back to the Great Depression.
Some questions regarding the recovery are:
- What kind of recovery are we going to have?
- Is it going to be a V shape, where the fire hose opens up and there’s a big hiring spree?
- Is it a phased approach?
We know there’s a lot of unemployed people right now, and we’re starting to see slowly, the economy pick back up again.
Where Should Someone Start In Looking For A Job Right Now?
Things will come back. Companies are hiring now, even on a limited basis. There will be a light at the end of the tunnel. Jobs are going to come back. If you’re a job-seeker, hang on!
Right now, in the meantime, job-seekers should:
Keep Skills Current
Whether it’s studying PowerPoint online or maybe taking something that they used in a job or could be used in a job. PowerPoint is an example, but it could be anything. You can use YouTube, you can use your public library, or LinkedIn Learning, which is great and free.
Sometimes, when a person becomes unemployed, their skills atrophy as if they haven’t been exercising for a few months. So, they put on a few pounds and you kind of lose their step a little bit. It’s kind of the same thing.
Job-seekers should stay sharp, stay not only aware of what’s going on, but keep their skills sharp. Some ideas to sharpen your skills in are:
- Microsoft Office
- Public Speaking
- Selling Skills
Learn a New Skill
There’s a great opportunity now for people to pivot and to shift gears. Right now, there’s a great opportunity for people, maybe to learn some new skills and maybe to take something online. Maybe it’s a class or a webinar; polish up some new skills or maybe make a shift into a new career path.
Stay Current: Have a Strong Presence on Social Media
Whether you are a recent college graduate or the mid-career professional, you must have a strong presence on social media. You want to have a strong presence on social media, because if you do promote yourself on LinkedIn, Facebook and some other platforms, you’re going to get a return on that investment. And likewise, if you don’t do that, you’re going to be harder to find.
Right now, with so many job applicants out there, with so many people that are out of work that are in this game, you need to be able to stand out a little bit. You need to post on LinkedIn on a regular basis as well as Facebook. People really respond to postings.
People have really been forced into relying on social media now, or even more so than in the past. Make your LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook profiles robust. LinkedIn is obviously the number one site where recruiters are spending their time. So, be active! Comment on people’s postings, and you will see a return on that investment.
Anyone from any field can benefit from being active on social media. Whatever your background, whatever your position or skill set, absolutely be active. You never know what opportunity might come up. It could be a group you’re in on LinkedIn or Facebook. It could be you just responding to a post as a software developer. Then, someone sees your comment and they like your background. You never know. Being active on social media and reaching out to people directly- being proactive- can really help anyone, even those that might not think that social media might be right for them.
Are Social Media Profile-Writing Services Worth It?
There are a lot of good services out there, and there are consultants and people who will help you compose a good profile and resume. However, an individual usually can edit and create their own LinkedIn profile. It doesn’t take much, and it’s like anything else. If you click at it, and you play with it, and you add to it, and you get comfortable with it, you can really do that yourself. You can compose some ideas and some thoughts, you could add things to it.Some people get intimidated a little bit by LinkedIn and social media, but the more you play with it, the more you use it, the more you get your hands dirty, the more comfortable you will be.
Another point is, a lot of people struggle with their resume because they’re concerned and they’re not sure how to make it shine or stand out. You can hire a professional for that. But, don’t lose so much sleep over it. Focus on the job search and how you’re marketing yourself to people, and companies don’t lose so much sleep over your resume. In recent times, resumes have been a bit devalued to the point where recruiters only look at them very briefly or perhaps at certain keywords.
Is your LinkedIn profile just your online resume, or is there a twist or theme to it? Should it be a little bit different than what your resume has on it?
I really prefer the latter. Your online profile is going to mirror your resume in many ways. Having said that, it isn’t a carbon copy. I think that the LinkedIn profile is much more living and breathing. It’s usually more interesting and colorful than a resume. You can have recommendations from other people. You can give recommendations to people, and then you can ask for one.That’s almost like a living, breathing virtual reference list, which is great because if an employer says: Can I see some references, please before we extend an offer? You can have recommendations on your LinkedIn profile, and that’s kind of a living and breathing thing. So, it should mirror your resume for the most part, shall we say, 90%? A LinkedIn profile is a little more interesting. It’s more living and breathing, and that’s where people are going to see you first. So that is your first impression. Later in the process, they’ll say: Can you please send me your resume?
Reach Out to People: Network!
You can be proactive about looking for a job and people will understand. There’s a level now of empathy and care where people understand. A lot of people are going through a hard time right now; that is understood universally. So, don’t be shy about reaching out to people in the spirit of networking, and you have to give to get. Don’t just ask and don’t just try to take when you reach out to someone; maybe you can offer them some help. Even if you are unemployed, who knows? Maybe you can refer someone to them. Maybe you can talk their profile up a little bit or their services. So, offer to help. You have to give to get. You can reach out to someone and let them know that you’re in the spirit of networking looking to help. And then, you can also mention that you’re currently in a job search and you can tell the truth and say: “I was laid off. My company had some layoffs because of the Coronavirus, and I’m now in a job search and I’m interested in in X, Y and Z.” Make it a two-way street. Offer to give someone and to help people, not just: Hey, I’m looking for a job.
What Are Some Key Changes in the Job Search Market?
Social Media Is Important
Over the years- if you look 10/15 years ago, the resume was everything and everyone was focused on the resume. Every word has to be perfect on the resume. And now we’re seeing a lot more online, a lot more social media.
A More Casual Environment
Years ago, you picture a corporate office building, where someone goes in in a suit, and they have multiple challenging interviews based on the resume. That kind of thing does still exist. But, what’s happened is employers are now starting with phone conversations and perhaps a Zoom, a Skype, a web conference. Interviews have become much more casual. With millennials and folks that are now running some job interviews, it’s much more of a casual conversation.
They want to know:
- Who are you as a person?
- Will you fit into our corporate culture?
- Are you going to be easy to work with?
- Are you going to be able to wear multiple hats?
- Will you be fun and caring in terms of treating other people at our company?
Now, they start with phone conversations or web conferences, and much more similar to a conversation. It’s much more of a relaxed conversation than a formal interview was, maybe 20 years ago.
How to Prepare for Interviews in a New Job Market
Get Familiar With Web Conferencing Software
Get used to working out of your home, whatever that may be. We all have different situations. Get comfortable with these web conferencing tools. So, when you do a job interview via one of these softwares, you are familiar and you show some level of savvy with it.
Prepare in Different Ways
Your Skills and Qualifications
You can prepare for the actual position and what exactly you can bring to the table for the job in the company. You do want to be able to match up things that you’ve done in the past with what the new job requires.
Your Personal Attributes
- Maybe outside of those specific job skills, be prepared to talk about things:
- Where do you want to be in five years?
- What is your ideal position? You might get called for a certain position, say software engineer. But, you’re really hoping for something different.
- Make a list of that and be able to have a good conversation about not just the position, but who you are is a professional, and what you can bring to the table in general.
Networking is crucial for anyone of any age, and it’s going to be easier for those who are more established in the job market, who could go back in time and reach out to colleagues from past jobs and that kind of thing. Having said that, those the recent college grads and the folks that don’t have that deep tenure, they can be aggressive and networking as well even now during the Coronavirus. They can reach out to people that they went to school with, maybe look up companies and look up on LinkedIn to see if people went to school with them, and that kind of thing.
Months ago, before the Coronavirus, you could go to an in-person networking event. You could go to a trade show or a conference. You could buy a ticket and attend, and then do some in-person networking. Now, everything’s online because we have to be safe and stay at home.
So, use the different avenues at your disposal; not just LinkedIn of course. Maybe groups and reaching out to people, perhaps chamber of commerce, perhaps reaching out to different organizations that foster networking in your local area.
Don’t spread yourself too thin. In other words, If you are in the New York/ New Jersey area, reach out to people in your area mostly. Then, once in a while, you can network with people around the United States and around the world. Reach out to people in the local area who are working professionals and be proactive with those who are in your industry. Reach out to people that are perhaps in your industry that might be able to lend a hand.
It’s important to be proactive. You can’t just put a resume out there, make a LinkedIn profile, and just hope that all the recruiters and the employers come. It’s reaching out, finding and targeting what you’re looking for, being proactive on LinkedIn, commenting and engaging with people.
The people who stand out are typically the people who are more successful, and it’s not very challenging.
It doesn’t take much; as long as you have good, regular, constant activity and you can share an article. You can share a video. You can create your own content. You can share other people’s content. You do need to stand out. It’s a large ocean out there off job-seekers, and you do want to stand out and get people’s attention. The more active you are, the more you’ll see a return on that investment.
The Work-From-Home Culture
The work-from-home, or virtual work industry was very popular before the Coronavirus hit and now will be even more so. You’ll have people who are hybrids where they’re going to work from home some of the time. Then, in the future, they’ll go back into the office some of the time. But we’re going to see a real shift in employers really opening their minds to having people work 50%, 75%, or even 100% virtually from home.
Employers are seeing that there can still be a great level of productivity even with people working virtually. For the average job-seeker, increase your skills in virtual work. Even looking at other tools like instant messaging, employee engagement tools, things where virtual work is going to shine. More and more employers are going to be open to that. In future months, when we do return to normal, and people return to physical offices, a lot more people than in the past will be working virtually, absolutely.
Because companies may not have these big physical office presences, they might have an office and maybe some people are in on Monday and Wednesday while the other half of the company is on other days. It’ll definitely be interesting to see where the trend goes.
There is one company that does work virtually. But, instead of having a Zoom call in the morning or a Zoom call in the afternoon, they actually have cameras going the whole day. They do that so that if someone’s working, they can have that interaction without having to (and as easy as it is nowadays) have a video conference with them. It’s like an always-on video conference that if one person has a question, they can just speak into the microphone and can ask. It’s essentially a walk to the cubicle next to you. They’re trying to recreate that engagement that fosters that environment, even if it is virtually.
A lot of new ideas and solutions are going to present themselves because of the Coronavirus. We look at virtual workers all or nothing. We think: Oh, the person is always working from home or they’re always in the office. Sometimes it’s great to have the best of both worlds, where an individual works from home some of the time, and then they meet with clients or prospects or colleagues out in the field some of the time, and they go into the office some of the time. Some interesting hybrids and new solutions are going to present themselves.
Yeah, it’ll definitely be interesting. Alright, so that just about wraps up our show for today. Geoffrey, how best can someone reach out if they want to reach out to you?