In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers have taken the steps to decrease their workforce. According to the Economic Policy Institute, nearly 20 million employees will lose their jobs by July 2020! The downsizing has taken many forms, too.
Boeing and Uber, for example, have either offered its employees buyout packages or terminated their workers outright. Many of the Marriott and Walt Disney employees are on furlough with their management planning on rehiring them soon. The assumption in the latter case is that rehiring will occur with more stable market conditions.
But as many as 42% of recent furloughs and layoffs can become permanent, a troubling trend indeed. Furthermore, the economic downturn and unemployment will continue, if not worsen, if the pandemic persists. The competition for available jobs will be fiercer than usual, among others.
The bottom line: You should start your job search now if you have been furloughed! The sooner you can start, the better your chances of finding a new job.
Think of your furlough in another way, too. Instead of being anxious about a full-fledged layoff, you should use the time to reassess your career. You should also take full advantage of the existing resources still at your disposals, such as your unemployment benefits and employer-sponsored insurance coverage.
How to Look for a New Job While You Are Furloughed
Take a Fresh Look at Your Skillset
You have a particular skill set that’s as unique as you are. You should take a fresh look at it and determine the knowledge and skills you can offer to prospective employers. You can make changes to your resume to fit the job you’re applying for and, thus, give the best impression on them.
Here are the basic steps that will stand you in good stead in this regard.
Make a List of Your Skillset
Basically, a skillset is the accumulation of knowledge, skills, and experience that you have acquired through the years. Your skillset can be phrased in such a way that it applies to the specific job you’re applying for. You may also state in a generalized manner to fit a wide range of similar jobs.
For example, your programming and coding skills are sought-after in Silicon Valley but these can also be applied in the healthcare industry. You can change your cover letter and resume according to your job target but your skill set remains the same.
Keep in mind that your skillset isn’t limited to your technical abilities. You should also consider your soft skills, also known as interpersonal skills since these are just as important at work. You can highlight your communication skills, teamwork ability, and flexibility on your resume, too.
State What You Can Offer the Company
Be sure to do your research about the company you’re applying in before submitting your application papers. Your cover letter can then give a teaser of what you can offer in solving some of its issues and in fitting in with its culture. You will also have an edge during the interview because of your deeper knowledge of the company.
Let’s say, for example, that you’re applying for a customer service position in a company dealing with market share issues. You can then highlight your success in customer retention and referrals in your application papers and interview.
The more specific you are about your possible contributions to the company, the better your chances of being hired. But don’t be too specific as to rule out other job opportunities within the company! You may not get the customer service position but you may get hired for a finance-related job.
You have to be in the best possible position for success! The best way to do it is to be open to new experiences and information, even when it seems overwhelming or scary.
Rework Your Application Papers
Keep in mind that your cover letter and resume are the first things that hiring managers or prospective employers see. You must then impress them from the first get-go! You should then reassess and rework your application papers for this purpose.
When looking at your resume with a fresh perspective, you should consider:
- Putting all your pertinent skill sets, certifications, and work experience, both past and present. Be sure to quantify your achievements, where applicable, such as sales targets reached.
- Highlighting your professional achievements, such as a skills section in bold font that hiring managers will quickly notice.
- Using relevant keywords that will attract humans and algorithms alike. Take note that many employers have applicant tracking systems where these keywords are used.
But you should be careful about putting these things on your resume and cover letter:
- Dated job titles that will do nothing for a great first impression. You don’t want your resume to be filled with possibly obsolete job experiences that prospective employers will have no use for. Remember that your resume is your calling card and you want them to call you ASAP.
- “References available upon request” is a big n0-no in modern resumes! Not only is the phrase a waste of space but it’s also an indicator of your older age. While experience is appreciated, the age that comes with it may not be in some jobs.
- Indicators of your status as an employee on furlough. You should, of course, be honest about your current employment status. But you should only volunteer the information when asked about it. You have to remember that you’re still an employee of the company and telling prospective employers about will only complicate matters.
Tip: You can have a hiring manager read your resume and cover letter for inputs. You may also ask your family and friends for their input and make changes as needed.
Get on with Your Job Search
With the Internet, there’s no excuse for limiting yourself to the traditional job-hunting venues! You should cast your net as wide as possible, especially with the fierce competition for jobs. You shouldn’t put your eggs in a single basket and it applies to your job search.
You can increase your chances of getting a full-time job with good benefits if you combine resources. You can, for example, use your LinkedIn network and cross-reference for job ads.
A few resources for your job hunting efforts include the following sites and venues.
- Job search engines, such as SimplyHired and Indeed, which has hundreds of job listings across the country including virtual jobs
- Niche job search sites that offer specialized jobs in a wide range of industries including healthcare, finance, and technology. Most of these job sites aren’t listed on the mainstream engines so patience is a must.
- FlexJobs is a great site for people who want to work remotely or be on a flexible schedule. The jobs here are vetted and membership comes with a monthly fee – and it’s usually worth the price.
- LinkedIn is also a great site for building your networks and your personal brand, getting news on job opportunities, and being updated about your industry.
Of course, you should follow or subscribe to your dream employers’ social media and careers pages! These are the best resources for getting news about their company culture, developments, and jobs.
Polish Your Interview Skills
Keep in mind that your resume may get your foot in the door but it’s your interview results that will get you the job! You should follow through, so to speak, during the interview to reinforce the good impression made on the hiring manager.
This is true whether the interview will be a face-to-face one or via video conferencing. You have to be presentable and answer the questions in an intelligent manner.
Throughout your job search, you have to stay positive! Not positive with COVID-19 obviously but with an upbeat attitude despite the rejections that will inevitably come your way. Your positive mindset will make your job search better if only because it will be reflected in your interviews.