Category: COVID info


Could You Pivot to Become a Good Freelancer if Necessary?

Does your future include becoming a freelancer? It’s very likely!

“By 2027, a majority of American workers won’t be traditional employees. And with the decline of the traditional employment model, benefits like health care, sick leave, and pensions will largely become a thing of the past. Freelancers are ahead of that curve…in building the new safety net.”

Rafael Espinal, President & Executive Director of Freelancers Union

Last week, I asked my readers to share with me how COVID-19 has changed their career plan for the better. I received two stories from freelancers thriving in the fitness industry, one of the hardest hit industries during COVID.

Freelancer Story #1

A former client emailed me to say he’s used his time during COVID to make some necessary and helpful changes to his fitness and health business. John used the personal branding methods I taught him, along with my model for virtual courses, to create online classes for his own clients. This has opened up a whole new way to reach people he wasn’t able to work with in person.

He’s recently introduced a six-part course on helping you develop mindful eating habits to find peace with food and weight loss. Check out his site at JohnHolley.com.

Freelancer Story #2

Seth and Megan are a married couple I first met when they were both working in the music industry. Seth was a touring musician, so he was already a freelancer. Megan had more traditional employment in the music industry. They both started their fitness business as a side hustle in 2017. But 2020 forced them to go full-time with it.

“Seth and I started Fitness Porter on the side with the goal of eventually transitioning it into our full-time income. But we recognized that when we only put part-time hours into it, growth was extremely slow!

“In late 2019, Seth decided to come off the road. At the time, Fitness Porter wasn’t making enough to support our family, so Seth started personal training at a gym. A few months later the pandemic hit, and the gyms closed.

“With the gyms closed, we enjoyed spending a majority of our time working on growing our business, which gave us momentum. At some point, we had the insane idea of letting go of our steady income and going ‘all-in’ on our business. It didn’t take us long to make the decision to let go of the financial security of a salaried job. We both agreed it was the right thing to do. We wanted to continue with the momentum the pandemic provided us.

“Our plan to grow our business is still evolving. We’re still working hard and leaning into the many hats it takes to be an entrepreneur. If it wasn’t for COVID, we would’ve never tasted what it’s like to work a business full-time. We wouldn’t have seen the results, and we wouldn’t have been brave enough to take the financial risk.

“Since COVID, we’ve had a significant increase in clients, and we’re diving deep into new areas of growth.”

Key take-aways

The key take-aways from these stories are important to remember.

1. Prepare for the future

As you can see from Espinal’s quote above, freelancing is not just a major trend, but a cultural shift in the workforce.

I have a dear colleague and friend who has dreams of freelancing. Her husband already freelances. Because of this, she feels it’s wise for her to stay in her current job with healthcare benefits instead of going out on her own.

But what happens if her employer decides in the next six years to stop providing benefits? Will it finally open a door for her she wasn’t able to open herself? More importantly, will she look back and wish she’d started investing full-time into her freelance business sooner? Luckily, she’s already started freelancing on the side. But like Seth and Megan, she won’t see full income results until she either decides, or is forced, to go full-time with her side-hustle.

One day, you may find yourself working as your own boss and paying for your own benefits, even if you never planned to. There is no one right way to make this career shift. But wouldn’t you want to be prepared? Now is the time to start thinking about what this will look like for you, and how you should pivot when the time comes. paNASH can help you with this.

2. Get on the same page

If you’re married, make sure you and your spouse are in agreement with your career plans, because your decisions affect them too.

Even if you don’t plan to start a business together, you’re going to need your spouse’s support, especially in the beginning when business is slow.

3. Know what to expect

As Megan said, there are many hats a freelancer and entrepreneur must wear. You don’t have to have a business degree to start your own business. But you also must understand this:  a skill does not a business make.

Along with the service or product you’re skilled to offer, you have to have some basic skills to market your business and to manage the financials of it. These can all be learned as long as you maintain flexibility, discipline, and a teachable spirit. Just don’t let the learning curve of running a business intimidate you.

4. Don’t let fear intimidate you

I’ve been there. I know how scary it is to take the leap of starting your own business. I left my full-time job with benefits in August of 2008, right before the Great Recession hit. If I hadn’t left then, I would’ve been too afraid to leave my job once the crisis hit.

But I didn’t let fear or the the lack of experience running my own business intimidate me. Instead, I learned from various sources what I needed to know as I went along.

Having been through this career pivot myself, I’ve been able to teach my clients what I’ve learned. As a result, I’ve saved them a little time and energy in starting their own thing. I can help you do the same.

5. Make your product or services accessible

Like John, there may be a time when you have to shift how you deliver your product and services so they’re accessible to current and future clients. This is where your creativity comes in.

Look at what others are doing to see what works. Determine how you can tweak it to your own brand. If a necessary shift requires a re-brand, paNASH can help! We can walk you through the same branding process we taught John.

This service is useful for anyone having to make a career change, even if they’re not starting their own business, but just changing jobs or industries. Whether you work for yourself or not, your skill set is your product, and you need to make it as accessible for as many opportunities as possible to continue making a living.

Need help?

If you need help preparing for the future of your career, figuring out how to become a freelancer, or re-branding your skill set, email me. I’m happy to schedule a complimentary initial consultation with you!

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How Has COVID-19 Changed Your Career Plan for the Better?

Recently, one of Keith Urban’s guitarists was telling me, and several others, about how the forced shutdown of concert tours due to COVID-19 has changed his career plan for the better. Since being forced off tour, he said he realized how much more he wants to be home with his family.

He decided, once concert touring starts up again, he won’t be going back. This requires a bit of a career change, from touring musician on the road, to session musician in the studio. As a result, he’ll still get to pursue his passion for music, now while getting to go home to his family each night.

Another friend of mine, who runs a mulch company, has discovered how the changes he had to make to his offices to help stop the spread of COVID, have actually saved his company a lot of money. He’s realized he can continue the new adaptations after COVID to further cut unnecessary expenses, without violating his no-layoff policy.

He told me, “Lori, I’ve learned to never let a crisis go to waste.”

What’s your definition of a better career plan?

While coming off the road was better for the guitarist who now has a family, the young single guitarist who takes his place might also find himself in a better situation than before. He’ll now get to travel the world and play with one of the most popular recording artists.

So, what’s your definition of a better career plan? Has COVID changed your career plan or your definition of “better”? I’d love to hear your story, so please email me! I may even feature your story in some upcoming content releases.

Don’t let a crisis go to waste

On the other hand, if you’re in a situation where COVID has negatively impacted your career plan, and you need help figuring out what’s next, paNASH is here to help. We can help you sort through your career crisis to find a better plan.

Don’t let this opportunity go to waste! Click here to schedule a complimentary initial consultation. Any information you share will remain confidential.

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How to Know What Questions to Ask in a Job Interview

I’ve previously written on the importance of asking questions of your own when interviewing for a job. Not only do they help you make a wiser decision when it comes to multiple job offers, they also help you win the interview!

But with various interview processes, and the latest changes in the way we work due to the pandemic, there are more questions to consider asking in your next job interview.

Interview process-related questions

I’m currently working with a client going through a lengthy interview process. It includes tests, writing assignments, personality assessments, and several rounds of interviews. So far, she’s made it through every hoop to the final round.

But specifically, the personality assessment hoop can be a tricky one. While it’s not illegal for employers to require you to take a personality assessment during the hiring process, it does open the company up to potential liability. Even the creators of the popular DISC assessment do not recommend it for pre-employment screening. The reason is because it doesn’t measure aptitude, skills, or other factors critical to the position.

So, if you find yourself having to take a personality assessment in a job interview, I advise you to ask the same questions I advised my client to ask:

  • What is the test measuring?
  • How will you use the results in making hiring decisions?
  • What weight will it carry compared to other decision-making factors?
  • Are the results used to determine best fit for the company culture, or for the job role?
  • Are the results going in my file?
  • Will you share the results with me and interpret them?

Pandemic-related questions

The current pandemic has changed not only the way we work, but also the way companies hire. I’ve previously written about possible questions the candidate should expect in interviews during and after the pandemic.

Now I want to share questions the candidate should also ask during and after the pandemic. These questions include:

  • How has your company changed for the better since the pandemic?
  • How has it changed for the worse?
  • Which adaptations will you keep after the pandemic has passed?
  • What is the projected outlook for the company and this industry based on the effects of the pandemic?
  • How have you supported your employees during the pandemic?

These questions will help you determine more about the company’s culture and how it adapts to crises.

Conclusion

Never forget, the job interview is a two-way street. You should always have questions of your own prepared. Doing so shows your interest in the company and helps you make better career decisions.

If you need help preparing for your next interview, let’s talk!

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Your Next Job: How to Reduce the Time in Finding It

Most job seekers underestimate how long it will take to land their next job. Many find themselves six months into the process and say to themselves, “I had no idea it would take this long.”

The truth is, on average, the typical lifespan of a job search is three to nine months, and that’s in a good job market. Factor in the current job market, and you may be looking even longer.

This isn’t to say you can’t find something much faster. I’ve seen it happen many times. I’ve even had some clients find jobs after only a few sessions with me. So, like all rules, there are always some exceptions.

Current trends

Right now, because of the ongoing pandemic, most companies are hesitant to hire back much of the staff they had to lay off. This is despite the expectation the new vaccine will help the economy bounce back from the pandemic.

Recruiters are seeing this reticence from many companies. Therefore, you may be facing a longer job search.

6 ways to reduce the amount of time between now and your next job

While you have no control over the current job market, there are several things you can do to shave some time off your job search.

Below is a curation of those things I’ve previously written about, which you should find helpful if you’re currently looking for your next job.

1. Avoid looking desperate on LinkedIn

Are you doing the same things I keep seeing others do on LinkedIn that makes them appear desperate? It’s time to stop! Recruiters can recognize desperation in your profile, and they don’t find it attractive.

Instead, you want to show the confidence recruiters seek in candidates. Find out how in my post, “How to  Stop Looking Desperate on LinkedIn.”

How to Stop Looking Desperate on LinkedIn

2. Do what’s necessary to keep recruiters interested in you

Once you’ve stopped turning recruiters off with your desperation, it’s now time to keep them interested in you. Find out how in this post from September, “How to Keep Recruiters Interested in You,” which lays out two very simple ways to stay in the good graces of recruiters.

How to Keep Recruiters Interested in You

3. Give your elevator pitch an overdue makeover

You probably still think an elevator speech should be 30 seconds long and sum up all your skills and experience. This is probably because outdated info on the Internet still says this.

I’m here to tell you, there’s a better and more effective way to deliver an elevator pitch. A way designed to generate a more meaningful conversation and a real connection. And, it’s more effective for our current means of networking via phone and Zoom meetings.

Learn how to update your pitch in the post, “The Best Way to Write a Successful Elevator Speech.”

The Best Way to Write a Successful Elevator Speech

4. Don’t rely solely on online job boards

I know I’ve posted this article several times, but it bears repeating since this is the only strategy most job seekers take in their search.

You must learn to use your time wisely if you want to land your next job sooner than later. For a more successful strategy, read or listen to my post, “What Are the Best Alternatives to Online Job Boards?

What Are the Best Alternatives to Online Job Boards?

5. Invest in career coaching

I know money is tight right now, but if you can’t afford to go without a job for as long as nine months, it may be time to invest in some career coaching. Doing so could even result in the ability to negotiate a higher salary, giving you a much better return on your investment.

paNASH has several coaching options for improving your job search, and therefore lessening the time between now and your next job. Some are quite affordable, and also allow you to work at a faster pace.

If the thought of investing in career coaching seems a little overwhelming to your current budget, I encourage you to re-frame the thought, “I can’t afford this,” into the question, “How can I afford this?”

Re-framing your thoughts will prevent you from having to completely shut the door on the benefits of career coaching, and will provide room for the opportunity when it’s financially feasible.

To determine if career coaching is the next step for you, check out my post, “Get Unstuck! How to Know When It’s Time to Invest in a Career Coach.”

Get Unstuck! How to Know When It’s Time to Invest in a Career Coach

6. Learn patience.

After you’ve done everything you can to reduce the time between now and your next job, the only thing left to do is be patient. It’s not easy, but patience is a virtue you can learn.

For five tips on learning patience, read or listen to my post, “How to Be Patient When You’re In Between Jobs.”

How to Be Patient When You’re In Between Jobs

Parting words

Hopefully, this post has not only helped you manage your expectations about the average length of the job search, but has also given you some good tips to speed up your search.

Ask yourself,

“What’s at least one tip from these posts I can implement within the next 24 hours?”

I encourage you to be patient with yourself and with everything going on in the world today, be realistic, and use your time, money, and energy wisely.

paNASH is here to help.

Resources for your job search

On-demand video courses

paNASH provides an affordable on-demand coaching option that allows you to work at your own pace. These online video courses include:

One-on-one career coaching

Also, paNASH provides several one-on-one career coaching packages for various budgets. Coaching sessions are currently being held through the convenience of Zoom or phone, depending on your preference.

To schedule a free initial consultation, click here.

How to Revive Your Pandemic-Ruined Résumé

If the pandemic forced you out of your job and left you with a ruined résumé, you may be worried about the growing gap in your employment history.

Hiring managers certainly understand the reason for current résumé gaps. But, you’ll likely be the candidate to land more interviews if you show how you’ve spent your time wisely during the pandemic.

This means your 2021 résumé will look a lot different from your ruined résumé of 2020. You’ll need to include some sections and entries you wouldn’t ordinarily include.

Here are some examples to help you revive your pandemic-ruined résumé.

Salvaging a ruined résumé

Online courses

The pandemic caused my business to slow down a bit, so I’ve had some extra time. As a result, I registered for a nine-month course I’ve had my eye on. While the class usually meets in person, this year’s cohort is meeting virtually through Zoom.

I’m gaining so much from it. And I know in the long-run, it will positively impact my business and the clients I serve.

What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn? Is it something that can build your résumé and help you improve your skills?

Last week, I met with a client who’s interviewing for a new job. She said she’s spent time during the pandemic taking online classes on Udemy to learn some new skills. This is something she’s now including on her résumé to make her more marketable to employers.

There are several online platforms like Udemy which allow you to do the same thing. You can list any online courses you take under your education section of your résumé. Or, if you take enough classes to justify a separate section, then list them there. You can call this section, “Online Education,” or “Online Coursework.”

You can also include the projects or significant assignments from the classes.

Reading

Because of the extra time from slow business and the reading requirements for my class, I probably spent time reading more books in 2020 than I ever did in one year, including my final year of grad school!

Prior to starting my class in August, I finished reading nine books. And I’ve read 15 books since then. Between now and April, I have six more books to read for my class, plus all the ones I keep adding to my personal list.

If you’ve spent time reading, especially any non-fiction related to your career interests, include this on your résumé. You probably want to title the section, “Pandemic Reading List.”

Home projects

A lot of people used their time during the pandemic to tackle some of those home projects they’ve been putting off for years. It was a great time for some do-it-yourself renovations or landscaping.

Include these tasks on your résumé, and show the skills required to accomplish them. You can name this section, “Pandemic Project Completion.”

Homeschooling

If you had to homeschool your children, this is an important thing to include on your résumé! It tells hiring managers so much about you and the skills you developed during the pandemic.

I share the best ways to include this on your résumé in my post, “How to Protect Your Career While Homeschooling.”

Caregiving

The devastating reality of the pandemic is the number of people infected with COVID-19. Even if you didn’t lose your job, maybe you had to take time off of work, either to quarantine or to care for a very ill loved-one. Perhaps it was for longer than you expected, well past the allowed COVID leave or FMLA time.

Caring for a family member is a legitimate gap in a résumé. It’s better to be open and honest about this reason for your gap. This is so the hiring manager won’t think you’re trying to hide something less noble.

You can address it in one short line on your résumé that says, “Employment gap due to family caregiving responsibilities.” Or, you can address it in your cover letter if further explanation is necessary.

Skills gained

From all of the things listed above, and from the experience of living through a pandemic in and of itself, you gained a lot of skills in 2020.

Generally speaking, we’ve all learned to be more flexible, adaptable, and creative. We’ve also learned to budget our money better. And hopefully, we’ve developed more emotional intelligence and improved our E.Q. by being more empathetic and patient.

Personally, I learned a lot of new skills in 2020. I learned how to apply for government aid for my business, and how to apply for PPP loan forgiveness. Also, I learned how to put a valuation on my company. This helped me complete the process of selling a portion of my business to another company. I’m also improving my supervisory skills with the hiring of a certified professional résumé writer this past September. And in July, I learned the ins and outs of refinancing my home.

You’ve also learned additional skills if you did any of the above during the pandemic. What are they? Use them to fill any employment gaps on your résumé.

Organizing your résumé

There are several ways to organize all this information on your résumé. You may want a separate section for projects, homeschooling, etc.

Or, you may want an entire section called, “Pandemic Projects and Skills.”

If you need help organizing or re-writing your résumé, click here to request a quote.

As things start to improve and your career stabilizes, you can take most or all of these items off your résumé.

Here’s wishing you a better 2021!

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