June 5, 2020

Five Offers on the Table: A Recipe for Job Seeking in a Pandemic © Cici Mattiuzzi

I am used to helping people get jobs, change jobs, and choose between jobs. It has always been about finding
the best fit.

We have never done this before…

    Working from home… Worrying if you will have a job to go back to... Worrying about what form your job will take when this is over... Worrying if your company will exist at the end of this global pandemic pause… Interviewing on Zoom...
There are a lot of what-ifs. Individuals and companies are feeling their way in the dark.

How will the new work environment look?

Everything is uncertain about what next…

    Some jobs will not be there to go back to after whole sectors are eliminated. Some people will view this as an opportunity to follow their dreams - starting a new business or changing careers. Some people will age out and retire early.

Leaving a job is not always a bad thing. I work with people all of the time who have burned out and want to quit a job or made a life change.

Leaving a job that bores you to tears or escaping an abusive boss is definitely a good thing. The difficulty is the worry that there are no jobs to move to right now. If you are unhappy the risk of staying is being fired. The pandemic creates an even higher risk because so many companies will be shedding people permanently.

The official number for pandemic caused job losses is probably 40,000,000 … Added to the risk of job loss right now is the worry of an extended period of unemployment with dwindling resources.

No matter where you work you are probably worrying about your career stability. You just don’t know where you stand with so many job losses across so many sectors.

What should you do?

No one wants to make a move with things changing so fast. The hesitancy is real.

    The worry sets in – “Don’t make a move.” “There are no jobs.” “Hold onto what you have and wait.” “Hang on for now - this is just not the time to make a big change”. “No one is hiring.”
When you feel you have no options, it is paralyzing. You are afraid to do anything, so you freeze. I believe you always have options. The reality is that there are people getting jobs. There are companies hiring. Especially if you have experience and you are well educated.

Regardless, it is time to start the process of figuring out what you want next and laying the foundation for your next move. You will have to execute your dream acquisition plan carefully and gradually.  In most cases you will find that you have more options than you thought even in the tightest market.

Sometimes you need to move fast.

I recently finished working with a person who didn’t want to quit a job that he felt tortured in. We started working on his strategy for what next. His boss was openly hostile and outrageously demanding. It was pretty clear that she was setting him up. After watching the company offshore work in his department he realized he was going to be terminated.

I recommended that he carry a resignation letter in his pocket so that he would not have a termination on his record.  A few days later he was called in for the meeting where the letter became essential.

Why is that important?  Because every application you fill out after a termination will have a question on it – Were you ever terminated?

He launched his job search in the middle of the pandemic and ended up with 5 job offers.  Three of the offers he received were from applications he submitted on his own and one was through a recruiter (the job was not posted anywhere).

His job search was nothing short of astounding!

He set up notifications for available positions in his field on Indeed, Google Jobs, and LinkedIn and applied for jobs with one click. He studied carefully for interviews. He sought help and networked tirelessly. What he discovered was:

    “There are a lot of jobs out there if you put in the work to find them." "Interviewing on Zoom is great! You don’t have to wear pants… it is way more efficient… and you can interview with way more companies because you don’t have to find parking.”
His best tips?
  1. Get certified or get the license if your profession has one - (EIT, PE, CPA, PMP, etc.)
  2. Use recruiters carefully - they can be aggressive and don’t always have your best interests in mind.
  3. Sign up for LinkedIn Premium.
  4. Get help on your resume and use that to create your LinkedIn profile - they need to match and they need to be perfect!
  5. Apply for everything you qualify for if the company is solid… it gives you experience and increases the odds of getting a job.
  6. Learn to use Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WebEX, GoToMeeting, and Skype... You don't want to look like a troglodyte in your interview!
  7. Do in-depth company research before every interview.
  8. Never get discouraged! Keep applying!
You can get a job in this - the worst of times - if you are willing to do the work.

You got this!

Cici Mattiuzzi is the Author of The Serious Job Seeker and the founding director (emeritus) of the Career Services Office for the College of Engineering and Computer Science at CSUS