As the unemployment rate hits its highest since the Great Depression while the coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc on the U.S. economy, millions of Americans may find themselves out of a job for a few months or longer.
While finding a job in such an environment may seem intimidating, you shouldn’t bring the emotional baggage from the layoff to the job search process.
“Almost everybody loses their job at least once in their career and these days, job loss is very common,” said Stacey Staaterman, leadership and career coach. “You might worry that you look like a loser, but the world won't see it that way, unless you bring sad sack energy into the search process.”
Here are a few steps you can take to make the job search process less intimidating and increase your chances of getting hired.
Getting over a layoff
If you have been laid off from your job in the pandemic, you are not alone with more than 47 million Americans filing for unemployment insurance over the past 14 weeks.
“The fact that so many have been laid off due to COVID-19's effect on the economy should make it easier to discuss your unemployment with a new hiring manager or recruiter,” said Pamela Weinberg, a career coach.
And while you should take some time to reflect on what’s been going on and take some time for self-care, you should quickly get rid of the emotional baggage that comes with the layoff.
“Losing your job is a painful experience,” Staaterman said, “but be mindful that your feelings of loss, rejection, disappointment, and anger don't follow you into your interviews or any part of your job search.”
Master the job search
You should begin the job search process by leaning into your network. You can contact former colleagues, managers, peers, clients and others. Have your pitch ready before you initiate a meeting or a call.
“The vast majority of jobs are gotten through our networks, so this is the time to tap into yours,” Weinberg said. “Be specific with what you ask of them. Do you want an introduction? An informational interview? An interview at their company for an open position?”
With much of the networking in the current climate happening online, make sure your social media and online portfolio are up-to-date before you reach out to people, asking for potential positions.
“We recommend keeping an accomplishments document where you keep track of all positive professional experiences, using measurable results when possible,” said Hallie Crawford, a career coach. “This could also be a great time to review and update your resume and LinkedIn profile using that document.”
One way to step up your networking game is by posting content, sharing articles, and engaging more with other people’s content on LinkedIn, according to Staaterman.
Talking about the layoff
While preparing for the job interview, make sure you have the answer to the“tell me about yourself” question ready.
“Allow one sentence for the recent layoff and then move right into the salient points that will get you hired,” Weinberg said. “Have three bullet points about you that will allow you to showcase your key skills and accomplishments that align best with the job description.”
One way to address the layoff is with just a short two-sentence explanation about your exit from your last role and then move to the next thing rather than going into too much detail about the layoff.
“For example, ‘I left my last role due to a coronavirus-related lay-off,’” Staaterman said. “Boom. That's it.”
Read more information and tips in our Advice section