Did COVID kill your job? I read this week that unemployment is at 8.4% and there are still 13.6M people unemployed in the US. I haven’t fact-checked or anything, but anecdotally, the Great Recession back in 2007 and 2008 didn’t seem this bad. I had a regular stream of clients coming in, but it certainly wasn’t like the waves and waves I’m getting now.
Just this week, Disney announced a layoff of 28K. American and United are coming next. I also heard that Charles Schwab, Ticketmaster, and Live Nation are right behind them.
In fact, just today, an old friend from college called for help since he’s been looking for work for 6 months. SIX MONTHS. That’s a really long time. And it got me thinking. What’s my best advice for job seekers that have been laid off or furloughed due to coronavirus? If you are unemployed due to COVID, here are some simple steps to help you get back to work ASAP.
You need a narrow target. Folks are probably getting bored with hearing me say this, but I’ll say it again. The general resume is DEAD. Your resume needs to have a single target. The version that would work for sales is not going to work for accounting. A security resume is not going to work to get you into banking. The keywords are different – the accomplishments are different – and the position requirements are different.
So what does this mean for you, the job seeker? You need one resume for sales and a different one for accounting. Without a targeted resume, what you are essentially doing is throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping some sticks. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the spaghetti is going to slide right off.
Pick up the phone. It’s weird, I know. That thing you’re probably reading on right now makes phone calls. Did you know that? The goal is to make human connections. After you’re done applying online for jobs, do your research and find the recruiter or the hiring manager. Pick up the phone – call the company – do your due diligence – and talk to an actual person. Find out what the company needs.
You may have to take a less than perfect job. First of all, recognize that there will probably be a ridiculous amount of competition for every role you apply for. I was talking to a client the other day and he applied for a job with 721 other applicants. Seriously. Honestly, I wouldn’t have wasted my time. You might as well plan on paying your bills by winning the lottery. The odds are probably about the same.
You’ve heard that it’s easier to find another job when you already have one, right? It’s true. I’ve seen it time and time again. And you need to feed your family, don’t you? My advice is to go after the lowest hanging fruit. Even if it’s not perfect. Even if the job is a lateral move. Even if it’s a step back. Why? Because you need to eat. Taking the first thing that comes around will at the very least take a bit of the pressure off.
The good news is that this job is not forever, and you can KEEP LOOKING.
Spend time customizing your resume each time you apply for a job. It is a massive PITA. I won’t lie to you, however, we are in an extremely challenging job market. So…if you are applying quickly to each job you find without tweaking your resume, you are likely spinning your wheels. Instead, be more strategic and take your time. Be deliberate. Intentionally align your keywords EACH TIME YOU APPLY FOR A JOB and stop moving at the speed of light. Choose quality over quantity. It will pay off. I promise.
And finally, I’m so sorry that this has happened to you. To us all, really. I am still doing my best to help folks that have been laid off or furloughed, so please do call me if there is anything I can do to help. Truly.