Millions of Americans have now filed unemployment claims. Many more don’t know if their employers can hang on in a recession.
It’s a time of great worry for many people who don’t yet know what the economy will look like when the coronavirus outbreak recedes.
Does that mean this is a good time to consider that career change?
Absolutely, said Linda Greenfield, of Los Angeles-based Essential Career Counseling.
“If you’ve been furloughed or laid off, you’ve got a little more time on your hands, so it’s a great time to do some introspection,” Greenfield said, adding that, “Maybe it’s time to do a little pivot or maybe it’s time to do a major, major change.”
The first step, said Greenfield and Susan Wise Miller of Los Angeles-based California Career Services, is to do a self-assessment.
Ask yourself, what skills do you have? What are the job titles in the career you want to pursue? What training is required for that line of work?
“Give yourself the gift of exploration,” Greenfield said.
Begin your job search
Once you have done that self-reflection and determined how you want to proceed, the next step is to take steps to achieve that goal, the counselors said.
Update your resume. Start looking at job openings.
Search for any certificates or training you might need to make a career change, and figure out if you can accomplish any of it at home.
“It’s a great time to take classes online,” Wise Miller said.
Network — with social distance
When you prepare your resume and approach employers, keep in mind that companies are looking for three things in job candidates, Wise Miller said: your content knowledge and expertise, functional skills that can transfer from one job to another and positive personality characteristics.
“Those are the three areas that people have to look at,” Wise Miller said.
Networking is also crucial right now, both career advisers said, whether it’s updating your LinkedIn account, joining a professional or alumni association or renewing ties with past colleagues.
“This is a great time to reach out to any past or present mentors,” Greenfield said.
In the time of social distancing, that means seeking such contacts out online, through sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Meetup, Greenfield said.
“There’s lots of ways to get that piece going virtually,” she said.
Job hunting can be stressful, and Greenfield urged people to remember to take care of themselves in this challenging time.
“Making sure that you’re practicing self-care now I think is really important,” she said.