By Courtney Bousquet, M.S., GCDF, CCSP
Senior Manager, Career Coaching, APUS
You may wonder what the current global pandemic means for your job search – if you should continue, take a break or give up altogether. The simple answer is, “Don’t give up.”
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Now Is the Best Time to Refine Your Job Search Plan
Now is a good time to pause, reflect, and reevaluate your job search plan, using any extra time to your advantage and creating a strategy for the best way to move forward. It’s okay to not know what to do, but here are some ways to stay on track and look to your future:
1. Create a routine – In times of uncertainty, a routine alleviates anxiety and stress. A successful job hunt is often a full-time job and it is important to treat it as such.
While you’re job searching, set up a dedicated area of your home that you will use primarily for job searching or work-related tasks, and be consistent in the time you spend on your job search. Choose a time that works best for you.
For instance, if you’re more motivated in the morning, pick that time to look for positions, work on applications and apply for jobs when you’re ready. This dedicated area and time will help you complete job search tasks and retain the job search mindset.
2. Take some time for yourself – This time at home is a good time to regroup, look within and figure out what makes you happy. Take a moment to yourself, get comfortable, and consider what your ideal job is, if money, location, environment or people were no object.
3. Examine gaps in your resume – With your dream job in the forefront of your mind, it’s time to be honest with yourself. Closely examine what is missing from your resume and determine what is needed to get you hired. What education, technical skills, certification, years of experience or specialized skills does your ideal job require?
Check off the skills you already have, and highlight the ones you’re missing. This is a great time to determine your next steps to close that gap.
4. Figure out your priorities – Consider what your highest need is right now. Do you need a job now to pay the bills, or are you okay to hold off until your ideal job becomes available?
If you need a job in the immediate future, consider the industries which are looking for talent right now, such as healthcare, technology, logistics and communications. When considering these employment options, keep your resume gap analysis and your ideal position in mind. Focus on finding a job that will further add value to your resume while it meets your immediate need for income.
5. Focus on your transferable skills – As you’re searching for a job during this time, you may need to look at new industries to gain employment. But remember that you bring a wealth of transferable skills with you, no matter what the job opening may be. So be mindful of how you present those skills to a potential employer as you use them to land a new position.
Use your new job to fill in the resume gaps you found earlier, and ensure this stop on your career path helps your long-term career goal. While you may be entering a new industry as workforce needs shift, use it to your advantage for your immediate need and future self.
6. Use your time wisely – If you’re not in an immediate rush to be hired, use this time to gather information, perform research and get your application materials in tip-top shape. Utilize LinkedIn, personal networking, and your family members to learn about different industries and careers that will help align your experience with your ideal position.
Over time, you’ll build a channel for potential jobs later as the people you speak with and learn from now may share unpublished job opportunities with you in the future. It is also a great time to practice interview techniques, so when the time comes, you’re ready to master the art of interviewing and land your next job.
7. Be realistic and optimistic – While now is a time of unknowns, you have the ability to be optimistic, especially when it comes to your job search. This time may present job opportunities that you haven’t previously considered, but those jobs may align with your professional goals.
Those opportunities may even allow you to explore new prospects with minimal risk and learn new skills. Research positions, companies, and industries that can assist you in closing your skills gap and build your channel for hearing about future opportunities.
While job searching at any time can be stressful, it can be especially hard during a global pandemic like COVID-19. If you find yourself needing assistance navigating unemployment while you focus on your career shift, we have resources available for you. If you are an AMU or APU student or alumni, please reach out to the Department of Career Services or visit the Success Center for more information.
About the Author
Courtney Bousquet is the Senior Manager of Career Coaching at American Public University System. She is a Certified Career Services Provider (CCSP), a Certified Organization Advisor and a Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF). Courtney holds a B.A. in Communication and Journalism: Public Relations from Suffolk University; a M.S. in Applied Educational Psychology, College Student Development and Counseling from Northeastern University; and a Graduate Certificate in Organizational Management and an M.B.A. from American Public University.
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