In times of uncertainty we always prepare. Our medical professionals have been preparing to care for people stricken with the virus. Our schools have prepared to move classes online so students can continue to learn. At home we’ve prepared by stocking up on food and essentials (although many still need TP!) and making adjustments while children are at home and parents are juggling their jobs remotely.
With this uncertainty comes our jobs. Are our jobs safe? Have we experienced permanent or temporary job loss? The stress of uncertainty is unavoidable. And while we haven’t experienced this type of crisis during our lifetime, most of us have experienced job transition. Here are a few tips of how we can prepare for job transition in these uncertain times:
1. Update Your Resume with your most recent accomplishments. What projects have you worked on? What problems have you solved? It can be helpful to write out your accomplishments using the CAR, STAR, or SOAR Method. Then condense into short concise statements beginning with an action verb and quantifying the results you achieved.
CAR = Context, Action, Result
STAR = Situation, Task, Action, Result
SOAR = Situation, Obstacle, Action, Result
Add Skills you’ve developed since the last time you revised your resume. Have you learned how to utilize technology that aids in working remotely? What skills are you implementing to support your team as you all manage this new normal of working from home?
Now that you’ve written your accomplishment statements and identified new skills, you can prepare for interviews, which leads me to Tip #2
2. Practice Interviewing by relaying your accomplishments through a story. Psychological data shows that past behavior predicts future behavior. Employers often ask behavioral-style interview questions to gauge how you will perform on the job. When responding to behavioral-style interview questions, provide a story by breaking down your answer in actionable steps using the CAR, STAR or SOAR method listed above in #1. The goal is identifying things you’ve achieved, indicating steps taken and quantifying the outcome.
You want to help the employer seeing you doing the job; solving the problem, decreasing costs and increasing revenue. Through your story you will be showing them the value you bring based on your experience.
Many companies already perform virtual interviews via phone, Skype, Zoom or another online platform. We will now see more companies shifting to this format. Practice by performing a virtual mock interview with a family member or friend. Use both phone and video so you can practice your voice impression over the phone and practice your personal impression through video.
3. Networking is the ‘hidden job market’. Each job I’ve had has come through networking. Again, data shows that networking is a proven return on investment in gaining employment. Just ask people you know how they got their job and chances are most will tell you through their network. Reach out to former colleagues, friends and family members. Be authentic in your conversations sharing your concerns during this time of uncertainty. By sharing your concerns, the person you’re networking with will most likely share theirs. Support each other through dialogue. Networking is reciprocal. Ask your network how you can support them. Perhaps you can do a virtual mock interview together, review each other’s resume, share resources, or teach each other a new technological skill.
4. Follow up with a ‘Thank You’ to those you’re networking with. Send an email, text or hand-written note, but be sure to thank people who have taken time to talk with you, share with you, and provide support.
Yes, these are uncertain times and we don’t know what the job market will be in the weeks and months ahead, but we can prepare now. If you’ve experienced permanent or temporary job loss, I encourage you to gain resources from your employer for assistance with your job search. Reach out to the career services department at your alma mater. Attend online networking events based on your industry.
Remember, you are not alone. We are all in this together.