Lots of people are on LOCKDOWN right now. If you are affected and are not in an “essential” job and cannot work from home, you are or soon may be unemployed. Stimulus money and extended unemployment benefits are supposed to be coming but will only help people for a short time. Some businesses will permanently close. What to do now?
- Update your Resume. Scan it into a PDF file and WORD document so it can be emailed or uploaded to a job website. Make sure all contact info is there. Keep everything current. Use spelling and grammar check. Make yourself look as good as possible without lying.
- Start looking for a new job right now! Yours may not be there when this is over no matter how secure you think it is. If it is there, great. If not, you’re ahead of the game. Use job websites like Indeed.com, Monster.com, or CareerBuilder.com. You can also directly contact employers. It may take a couple of months to find a new job so getting a jump on it is imperative. Send out as many resumes and cover letters as you can. Create a spreadsheet and log all employers, dates resumes are sent, contacts, responses, etc. Follow up! In the cover letter, explain why you want to work for their company…don’t portray yourself as just wanting or needing any job you can find.
- Don’t be afraid to look into a different career. Look at your skills and apply what you can to a different field. Companies want to get back in business as soon as they can. Many may be willing to train to get their workforce back up. There is bound to be a fair attrition rate due to this situation and many former employees may have moved on or just won’t come back to work. Use this to your advantage. Be available. Be willing to work. Don’t get complacent while you are stuck at home. DO SOMETHING! Wipe the Cheetos off your shirt, get up off the couch, and invest in yourself.
- Get a good suit (men) or professional dress (women), shirt, tie, shoes, etc. Always wear a suit to an interview. Use your stimulus money for this if you have to. $400 or so should cover it. You will eventually have to meet someone face to face in an interview. Be ready for it. Practice interviewing with your family at home while you have time.
- Have a fairly current computer with microphone, speakers, and a webcam. Companies may do preliminary interviews over the web. Set up a plain backdrop…don’t use your kid’s wall with gothic metal band posters on it. Use a plain wall without any decorations on it if you can. In a pinch, tack up a bed sheet for your background. It will be out of focus anyway but not distracting. Wear your suit or business dress even for web interviews. Interviewers will remember the little things and you need every opportunity to stand out.
- After every interview, mail (not e-mail) a thank you note. No one does this anymore and it will make you stand out above the rest.
By the time lockdowns are lifted your prospective employer should be ready for an in-person interview. Here are some basic rules to follow during an interview:
- Make eye contact with the person. Don’t stare but look them in the eyes when speaking.
- Give a firm handshake…it portrays confidence.
- Do not whine about how tough things were during your time out of work. An employer wants someone who can adapt and deal with difficult situations…share how you overcame your situation and flourished.
- Be positive and confident but not arrogant. The employer needs to know why you are the best person for the job.
- Be honest. If you’re not it will come back to bite you in the ass .
Just keep a positive attitude and don’t give up. The world is full of uncertainty. If you can adapt, you will survive!
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