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Start Your Job Search As Soon As You’re Unemployed

With the current global health crisis, many people have already lost their jobs and during the next several months, the number of unemployed workers is sure to rise. Losing your job, no matter the circumstances is a major change moment in your life.

After watching news reports and seeing empty downtowns and orders to shelter in place, you may be tempted to take time off to evaluate your career and determine what direction it should be taking. Sometimes, a little introspection can be healthy, however, now is not the time. Here are some reasons why delaying your job search is a mistake.

Time = Pressure

Perhaps you are comfortable taking some time off now. Understandably, you want to be with your loved ones and socially distant from everyone else. Ask yourself, though, what your situation will look like if you are still unemployed six months from now. If the answer is not good, then begin looking right away.

When you look for a job, it could take a couple of months before you land something, or possibly even get an interview. You may ultimately decide that the first job offered is not the direction you want to take. You want to be in control of that decision. Wait too long and the market might make that decision for you. Starting right away gives you options and control. You can always turn a position down or look for something else, which is better than not having a position at all.

Use your Skills while they are Sharp!

Let’s face it. Most of us have a work mode and a non-work mode. Beginning the process while you are still sharp and still in work mode as your state of mind can make a big difference. Pressure mounts as the job search goes along. You don’t want to let an opportunity slip away because you were rusty after a long layoff.

First in Line or Back of the Pack?

Until now, we have seen unprecedented employment rates and it’s been a hot candidate market. That may lull some folks into thinking they can take their search a little more casually. Right now, there are a lot of people starting to look for jobs. Beginning your job search right away will keep other job seekers from getting ahead of you in the process. So will having a sense of urgency in your search.

If two people with similar skills and backgrounds are going for the same position, fair or not, the person who has been unemployed for a shorter time will have a competitive advantage. Same goes for the first person to apply. In fact, a LinkedIn study shows candidates that are among the first 25 to apply for a role are 3x more likely to land the job.

Hiring is still Happening!

Sure, your interview(s) most likely will be by phone and video conference and you may start remotely, but plenty of companies are still hiring. They’ve just shifted focus. If you are in a functional role that has easily transferable skills, look to companies that are in high-growth mode now, or will be soon, due to the pandemic: Manufacturing, Biotech, Pharma, Life Sciences, Healthcare, Distribution, Consumer Goods.

Morph Your Career Path into Something Remote

If your current occupation or industry is on hold, consider doing something you haven’t before. For waitstaff, retail employees and the like – if you have a computer and a good cell signal, consider applying for remote customer service jobs. Think about it. You have unlimited experience dealing with the public and probably spent a good portion of your time taking orders or problem solving. Parlay these skills into a new career, even if temporarily. Regardless of the pandemic, much of the economy was becoming more technical, more online and more remote. This crisis just pushed that curve ahead a few years and now essentially all businesses are technology-driven. And, with more people than ever before online, the need for customer service help has never been higher. Consider applying for jobs that allow you to use your skills remotely. Maybe it’s a quick fix to our current problem, or maybe it is a step toward a new career. Either way you’re working, companies keep growing and we dig ourselves out of this sooner than later.

Losing your job can be traumatic. The urge to take some time to recover and reevaluate is understandable. It’s also tempting but risky. The pressure mounts on a long-term job search all while your skills decrease and your competition increases. In this way, choosing to take a short-term break may turn into a long-term problem.

Photo credit: Canva

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