How can you find a job during this coronavirus anxiety?
While there are lots of thoughts about the state of things out there, as of March 10, the primary US recession tracker puts us at a 53% chance of recession. But we all still need money coming in the door, and we all still deserve jobs we don’t hate. So what should you do if you’re in job-search mode?
The first thing is to start early. The more quickly you start looking, the likelier you will be to find something that you’re a good fit for. While job boards are fine additional resources, don’t be afraid to network. Given the times, a lot of your networking can be virtual, via email, phone, or a platform like Zoom. (The free account is a great starting point!) You can also join the LinkedIn pages of professional organizations and look for Facebook pages for job-seekers from your Alma Mater. And, of course, if you’re just planning to meet with one other person, I still encourage you to support your local independent coffee shops.
And while it’s not always appealing to do, but networking is really key when you’re looking for career growth. To network effectively, start with a plan: what do you want to learn more about? Who are they key players that you want to be known to? Be ready to talk about yourself and your goals, and have the questions you really want to ask prepared. And don’t be shy about telling people what you’re seeking! After all, you’re not demanding they give you a job, or even an unfair advantage in your search; you’re just looking for information and other connections. Finally, be sure you follow up after networking conversations. It’s about building relationships, after all, so you want to stay on people’s radar.
The second tip for finding something in economic hard times is not to be tied to a job title. You may not find job postings that initially sound compelling, but read the descriptions and think about what you would gain. If we really do enter a recession, you will mostly be seeking income and experience, so think about how to use a job to build your skillset. Think about your long-term goals and what experience you will need in order to get there when the economy recovers, and if you find something that will allow you to gain that knowledge, jump on it! Think of it as a chance to build up your skills so you’re poised for the next great thing.
And if you get an offer, you can negotiate the title even in times employers aren’t willing to offer more money. You can also negotiate for things that don’t cost an employer much, like flextime, time working from home, and more paid time off.
Third, if we do enter a recession, think of ways to build your qualifications. This may mean exploring more education, but don’t get stuck thinking about this as just formal degrees. There are certificate programs and experiential learning options that might be just what you need. If you know what your goals are, you will be able to research what kinds of skills and experience you need to build up, and then brainstorm some ways to get that.
Finally, explore a side hustle. This is a great way to generate extra money, to dip a toe into entrepreneurship, and to strengthen your financial position. And you may even find something you really love doing. Think about interests and hobbies you already have, and brainstorm some ways you might turn those into extra income. If you’re feeling stuck, try platforms like Task Rabbit, UpWork, Fiverr, and SideHusl (my favorite of the bunch) can help you get started.
Remember, whatever happens to the economy is temporary. Even if things get really rough, keep your focus on the long-term outcomes. You may wind up doing several things to make ends meet, which is proof you can prioritize and juggle multiple demands at once. You might have to sit tight in a dead-end job, demonstrating your patience and capacity to complete tasks. Or you could end up doing something entirely novel, which allows you to gain new skills you can use when the financial times recover.
Questions? Ask them! I will try to answer them all.