We are living in and through challenging and unprecedented times. The global Covid-19 pandemic has not only impacted each of us personally, it has and will continue to change our relationship to work‒clearly for the short term and most probably for the foreseeable future.
Is now a good time to re-examine your career goals? Many of our clients seem to think so. The 4 trends we’re seeing now are:
- Scope creep: A lot of our clients are successful and fortunate professionals who have retained their jobs despite the drastic cuts being experienced throughout the economy. The problem is they are working longer and harder than ever. They are seeking us out to explore other alternatives, seeking better pay / schedule / quality of life.
- Shifting sands: It’s hard to complain about being employed in these times, but we’re seeing clients whose jobs have changed drastically that while they’re still employed, what they’re now being asked to do is not what they signed up for. These individuals are looking for support renegotiating their tenure with their current employers or leaving if they can’t.
- Moving on: Let’s face it‒millions of Canadians have lost their jobs or anticipate losing them before all this is over. Many of them have never faced unemployment before, so they need help determining their unique value proposition, today’s market for their skills and experience and an effective job search strategy.
- If not now, when: Whether over-employed, mis-employed or unemployed, there are some people who see this time as an opportunity to make a big change and find work that’s a better fit for who they are. They’re looking for help assessing themselves and the market to find work that is “right.”
At the time of writing, LinkedIn had 220,584 jobs posted in Canada and Indeed.ca 116,551. Given that (A) you only need one job and (B) 75% or more of all hiring involves networking, rest assured that there is something out there for you! While you should continue to scan postings via setting up Career Alerts that delver potential matches to your email in-box, this is a great time for networking.
How can that be true in a time of social distancing? Because networking events have never been a great source of contacts, but introductions and 1:1 meetings always have.
Keep in mind that nearly 5 million Canadians are now working form home‒that’s 4.7 million more than previously. Most people are aching for contact that involves intelligent conversation (pets and kids don’t count). So don’t hesitate to reach out. Build up your LinkedIn connections and ask your contacts for introductions to those in their networks you’d like to speak with.
Scheduling coffee chats from home is actually easier, because no one has to go anywhere (and if it’s by phone, even get dressed up). You will still need to prepare your agenda and be clear on what you are looking for (ideas, advice and information) with no expectation of a job (or even a lead).
Just make sure that you offer to reciprocate assistance any way you can; we’re all in the same ocean even if we’re not all in the same boat. Even if your network contact doesn’t need anything right now, keep the door open and resolve if nothing else to pay it forward.
Shifts in Interviewing
The most obvious change is the ubiquitous use of the remote interview. While still face-to-face, interviewing via Skype or Zoom adds a layer of challenge to conveying your message and “reading” the interviewer(s). While it’s always been important to ask as well as be prepared to answer questions, these times have shifted the focus.
Be prepared to explain why you are job hunting now‒what we call your Reason for Looking statement, if you’re employed, and your Reason for Leaving statement if you’re not. In both instances, your answers should remain as positive as possible, and shift quickly from the why of your search to the what you can do for a potential employer.
On the other side of the equation, you will want to ask timely questions about the organization in its current and projected future state, as it is definitely not “Business as Usual” in the current crisis! Two good questions are “What’s changed the most about the organization’s business model?” and “What are your concerns about being able to adapt and grow in the future?” Both provide an opportunity to demonstrate how you can help them succeed in overcoming their concerns and move forward to thrive, not just survive.
Even in “normal” times, interviewing can be extended in the summer months due to vacation schedules. In Summer 2020 (and beyond), interviewing will also be impacted by our unprecedented work environment. Like most of us, hiring managers are working from home‒often on non-traditional schedules‒so you may have to “meet” multiple people multiple times to cover all the players involved in the decision. This is a perfect opportunity for you to demonstrate the key competency of flexibility and practice the Three P’s of Positivity, Patience and Persistence.
Many people go their whole lives without working with a carer coach, assuming that good work will speak for itself and that needing help is a sign of weakness or incompetence. This attitude is counterproductive, as a career coach is just another member of your personal and professional “team” of advisors.
Just as you would seek out an accountant for a complex tax situation or a lawyer for a tricky legal issue, don’t hesitate to explore how having a career professional in your corner can help. We can help your career soar in the best of times and help keep you from crashing and burning in a time of challenge.
We’ve supported thousands of clients across 3 decades and multiple recessions / cutbacks / industry shutdowns plus we’ve been working virtually ourselves for over 10 years. We can’t do it for you, but together we can help you to make it happen. Like Home Depot, our motto is: You can do it; we can help!
Day Merrill, M.A., is the founding Partner and Career/Executive Coach for 2BDetermined. She is a 30-year career services professional with expertise coaching individuals and teams on a range of career and work-related topics as well as consulting to organizations in Canada and the U.S. on their workforce development needs. Day holds a B.A. from Connecticut College, a Master of Arts from Wesleyan University and has completed Coach U’s coach certification training.