January 19, 2021

How to Stay Motivated While Job Hunting During a Pandemic

Article by Isaiah Hankel

The COVID-19 pandemic forced millions of Americans out of their jobs in March, and the layoffs have more or less continued since. If you’re feeling stressed about your own job security or unmotivated as you look for work in today’s highly competitive job market, this probably isn’t what you want to hear.

However, the good news is that employment opportunities are out there. In fact, many big companies with lots of departments have managed to rebound after the initial shock of the pandemic, and they’re looking to spend their capital on hiring and training.

Want proof? Check out Glassdoor’s Hiring Surge Explorer, which highlights companies with large numbers of available positions right now. You might be surprised by how many organizations desperately need qualified talent.

If you lost your job or feel uncertain about your current position, there’s no need to panic. In fact, now is the time to double down on your efforts. Here’s how to stay motivated while job hunting in a difficult time:

1. Emphasize Your Transferable Skills

Don’t limit your search to the industries or roles you’re familiar with. During the pandemic, employers are looking for candidates who are adaptable. After all, COVID-19 forced many companies to quickly pivot their processes and offerings. On your resume and during interviews, highlight transferable skills that will help you add value to an employer with potentially changing business objectives.

Transferable skills typically fall into one of three categories: systems-oriented, people-oriented, or self-oriented. Systems-oriented skills are linked to your expertise in a particular discipline, such as supply chain logistics. Try generalizing and adjusting these skills to fit the position for which you’re applying. For example, a degree in accounting (your “financial acumen”) makes you a valuable asset to any company’s finance department. Similarly, list people- and self-oriented skills that apply to the COVID-19 era, such as “virtual task delegation” or “self-motivation.”

2. See Chaos as a Ladder

In the midst of every crisis lies great opportunity. When COVID-19 first arrived, relatively new startups in the fintech, eCommerce, and software spaces saw success because they solved pandemic-related problems. Even corporate giants like Nike and Ford pivoted their production lines to begin making face masks and ventilators. The demand for new processes and equipment has created new types of roles in the workforce, so be on the lookout for opportunities that might not have existed before.

There’s always opportunity out there; you just need to remain positive and spin things differently. You have a unique skill set and background, so align how you present your expertise and experiences with each job’s requirements. Show employers how you fit into the new business landscape. You might find yourself in a role you would have never imagined would fit you perfectly.

3. Focus on Digital Hiring Touchpoints

In a socially distanced world, virtual interviews have largely replaced in-person ones, and email has become even more important during the initial hiring stages. After each interaction with a recruiter or hiring manager, try to evaluate your communications objectively. How are you coming across on video? How might your words be interpreted via email? By optimizing your communication style for specific channels, you can make the most out of every interaction.

Also, take note of the skills you’ve learned while operating remotely and highlight them if the opportunity arises. Zoom and Gmail aren’t used only for hiring— you’ll likely use them in your job as well. Considering that 86 percent of business leaders believe they’ll rely on both on-site and remote teams in the future, employers will want to know you’re comfortable using digital tools.

4. Never Stop Your Job Search

The business landscape is changing fast, and it will continue to shift even in the post-pandemic era. In the past, you’d settle into whatever job you landed in. Now, you don’t have that luxury. You’ll always need to be updating your resume and scanning your network for opportunities. The average employee changes jobs about every four years, and that transition pace is likely to accelerate in the coming years.

You might end up in a role you love, but you can’t assume your job is secure. If another employer reaches out with an offer and you’re happy where you are, you don’t have to take it. But you should always be looking.

If you’re searching for a job right now, you’re not alone. Follow these four tips to learn how to stay motivated while job hunting. You might hear “You’re hired!” much sooner than you think!

A version of this article originally appeared on SUCCESS.com.

Isaiah Hankel, founder and CEO of Cheeky Scientist, helps people with PhDs transition into meaningful, high-paying industry careers. Isaiah is also a PhD and an internationally recognized Global 500 consultant.

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