When you lose your job you feel like your whole world is crashing down. It feels like nothing will ever be the same, that you have lost your position in the status quo. This, a very momentary situation, feels almost definite. We place so much value into our work life that losing a position seems like a personal attack against who we are as people.
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, more Americans than ever have had to deal with unemployment due to a recession. Compared to this time last year, nearly 10 more million Americans do not have employment, according to numbers from the New York Times.
In a situation like this, it is more important than ever to be savvy in the employment search. Facing much more competition than before, potential employees must put their best foot forward. If you are in this situation and want to get back to work soon, consider the following things:
1. Understand Your Industry
If you’re feeling bad about being laid-off, you probably don’t want to hear about your industry for a while. This is a mistake. If you want to get back to work soon, you will need to be more engaged than ever.
Keep up with all information regarding your industry. Like all others, it was probably hit in some way or another by the pandemic, so find out which areas survived better, and how. If you think that new skills are being utilized, learn them. Check listings for jobs, and apply as soon as possible, with a targeted resume and cover letter.
2. Display Your Work
Having a well-presented resume gets your foot in the door, but a portfolio of your work speaks more than a thousand words. Present your previous work as an example of your skills, and how you apply those for particular tasks.
No matter your career path, a portfolio is a concrete sample of your skill level. What it consists of depends on a lot of things, but websites and blogs are always a good, accessible way to get to potential employers.
3. Use Your Contacts
It’s no secret that most jobs are secured through contacts, so make sure to use yours to their full potential. Share your search with colleagues and friends in the industry, making sure to mention your abilities, expectations, and ideas for the future.
Besides people from work, also mention your situation to family, friends, and acquaintances. If everybody keeps an eye out for you, eventually something could come up. There’s no shame in this, and the benefits are considerable.
4. Start Applying
While you’re unemployed, searching for positions should become a full-time job. You should establish hours, and create a routine. Regularly browse through websites and companies that you are interested in.
Each time you apply for a job, take the time to customize your resume. Make sure that you’re using the proper keywords for that particular position; as usual, the first screening is through software. Applying for a ton of jobs without taking the time to work on your resume is a great waste of time, and a way to burn out quickly.
If you have a job center near you, approach them to see what they can offer, especially if you’re looking in a specific area. These centers can guide you towards job vacancies that are not available online.
If you’ve put together a great resume and cover letter, you can send it to companies you’re interested in even if they haven’t posted any vacancies recently. It might seem like a long shot, but there’s not much to lose and a lot to gain. Worst case scenario? They will tell you there are no vacancies; you will survive.
Finding a new job is hard work in itself, but don’t be discouraged. It will inevitably happen sometimes, but you must work through it. Consistency is your best asset in this game, so pace yourself. If you get calls back, allow yourself to feel proud, even if you don’t get the job. Each step you take gets you closer to your new position, so make that your fuel. Stay focused on your mission, and let your effort do its magic. Things will get better, there’s no doubt about it.