Tag: Coronavirus


How to Improve Your Career During a Pandemic: 15 Resources

The COVID pandemic has had widespread effect, not just on our health and our healthcare system, but also on our careers and the way we work. Every industry has felt its impact, some in a positive way, and most in a negative way.

As a result, I’ve had to help guide my clients and readers through the impact the pandemic has had on the job market and on their work and careers.

I’ve spent the last several months sharing my insights on how workers and job seekers can adapt to the current job market. I hope my readers have found this information helpful in such uncertain times. I also want to make it easier for them to access this information.

Therefore, I’m compiling all of my pandemic-related posts here for you to catch up on, along with some “tweetable” nuggets from various posts (see below).

I’m also including a new blog category named “COVID info” so you can easily locate all future posts related to this topic. You’ll find it within the list of other categories on the right of your computer screen or at the bottom of your mobile device screen.

If you have any specific questions about conducting a job search during a pandemic, feel free to email your question to me. I’ll try my best to answer it for you, either privately or in a future post.

15 resources to help you improve your career during a pandemic

1. How to Improve Your Work Life With Coronavirus Prevention (published March 23, 2020)

How to Improve Your Work Life With Coronavirus Prevention

“…companies who adopt remote work will replace companies who don’t.” (click to tweet)

The above quote is what experts are predicting. If you work for one of the few companies that has the capability to adopt remote work but has chosen not to, then your job may be in jeopardy.

It might be time to start updating your resume so you can look for work that will be around in the future. To help you do this, check out the next post #2.

2. How to Gain Control Over Your Career Amidst Layoffs (published March 23, 2020)

How to Gain Control Over Your Career Amidst Layoffs

“If it’s been a while since you last updated your resume, now is a good time to do so. It’s definitely more productive than spending your time watching Netflix while quarantined!”

You may not realize it, but there are probably some things on your resume hurting your chances of landing a job interview. They need to go!

Find out what to keep, update, and delete on your resume in this post.

3. Are You Prepared to Be a Freelancer If Forced To? (published March 26, 2020)

Are You Prepared to Be a Freelancer If Forced To?

“If you lost your job tomorrow and couldn’t find another one right away, would you be able to pick up and start making some extra money?”  (click to tweet)

Check out this post to find out how to create multiple streams of revenue in the event of a job loss.

4. Getting Laid Off? The #1 Thing to Ask for When You Leave (published March 30, 2020)

Getting Laid Off? The #1 Thing to Ask for When You Leave

“If you’re getting laid off due to the coronavirus, and your company doesn’t offer outplacement counseling, ask for it! What do you have to lose at this point?”

And if your company does offer outplacement counseling or career coaching as part of your severance, take advantage of it! They’re paying for it, so use it.

5. How to Avoid These 5 Career Mistakes During a Time of Panic (published April 15, 2020)

How to Avoid These 5 Career Mistakes During a Time of Panic

“Now is not the time to panic or lose hope. It’s time to do what’s within your control, which includes making good decisions based on logic, not fear.” (click to tweet)

There are five common career mistakes I see people make when they find themselves in a bad job market and start to panic. Find out what they are in this post so you can avoid them.

6. How to Make Phone and Video Interviews Run More Smoothly (published April 28, 2020)

How to Make Phone and Video Interviews Run More Smoothly

“Companies are likely to continue using remote interviews even after the pandemic is behind us.”

To ensure things run smoothly on your end of your next remote interview, follow the tips in this post.

7. Your Job Provides You Security. Until It Doesn’t. Then What? (published May 6, 2020)

Your Job Provides You Security. Until It Doesn’t. Then What?

“While you have no control over the current pandemic or your company’s response to it, you do have control over your own career strategy.”

Companies will always do what they have to do to keep afloat for as long as possible, which means you need to have a strategy in place if you lose your job.

Think you don’t need a strategy? Allow me to share a few stories with you in this post.

8. It’s Time For a 2020 Do-Over (published May 27, 2020)

It’s Time for a 2020 Do-Over!

“There are now things we have to change, but also things we get to change.”

What’s one change brought on by the pandemic you or your family have benefited from?

9.  How to Set Post-Quarantine Goals When You Hate Goal-Setting (published June 3, 2020)

How to Set Post-Quarantine Goals When You Hate Goal-Setting

“Maybe you’re less of a visionary or planner, and instead are more of a problem solver.”

If problem solving is more your thing than goal-setting, check out this simple way to set goals from a problem-solver’s perspective.

10.  How to Stay Focused on Your Goals During the Remainder of the Pandemic (published June 10, 2020)

How to Stay Focused on Your Goals During the Remainder of the Pandemic

“Now may be a good time to start planning some future goals, even if you don’t yet know the full impact of the pandemic on your future plans.”

Even if the pandemic is preventing you from accomplishing some of your goals, you can use this time to put them in writing or update the ones you’ve already written down. You can start planning now, and then you’ll already have something to tweak if necessary in the near future. Learn how in this post.

11. How to Stop Procrastinating During and After the Quarantine (published June 17, 2020)

How to Stop Procrastinating During and After the Quarantine

“You won’t be considered a failure if you at least give your goals a try. It’s when you don’t try at all you’ll be seen as a failure.” (click to tweet)

Because so much has been put on hold due to the pandemic, it can be tempting to also put your dreams and goals for your life on hold.

But how many years have gone by where you never did what you said you wanted to do? How many more years do you want this to continue happening once we’re past this crisis?

The truth is, post-quarantine won’t be any different than pre-quarantine if you don’t make the choice to change. Learn how in this post.

12. How to Re-Direct Your Career in a Time of Uncertainty (published June 24, 2020)

How to Re-Direct Your Career in a Time of Uncertainty

“You always have the opportunity to re-direct your career, both in good times and in times of uncertainty.” (click to tweet)

If we’ve learned anything from the economic impact of COVID-19, it’s nothing is certain. And, there’s no such thing as job security. But you can take your job security into your own hands. And you can start now! This post shows you how.

13. How to Land a New Job With the Help of a Face Mask (published July 8, 2020)

How to Land a New Job With the Help of a Face Mask

“You never know who will be standing in line six feet ahead of you, or six feet behind you. It could be the person who works for a company currently hiring instead of downsizing.”

This post teaches a unique way of networking during times of social distancing.

14. LinkedIn Etiquette You Need to Know When Networking Remotely (published July 29, 2020)

LinkedIn Etiquette You Need to Know When Networking Remotely

“If you fail to follow proper LinkedIn etiquette, you’ll likely turn off the people you want to connect with most.”

Most job candidates only create a LinkedIn profile and do nothing more than “set it and forget it.” But there are more things you can and should do with LinkedIn if you want to find opportunities. And you have to understand the etiquette required on LinkedIn in order to be successful. Learn how in this post.

15. How to Answer These Important Pandemic Interview Questions (published August 12, 2020)

How to Answer These Important Pandemic Interview Questions

“What did you do with your time…during the pandemic?”

This will be a question you may have to answer in your next interview. Are you ready for it? Learn how to respond appropriately in this post.

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How to Handle the Most Pointless Interview Questions

In light of coronavirus times, one of my Facebook friends posted this the other day:

“So in retrospect, in 2015, not a single person got the answer right to ‘Where do you see yourself five years from now?'”

I commented:

“This is reason enough to retire such an overused and pointless interview question!”

Pointless interview questions

This common interview question is just one of many pointless interview questions hiring managers and recruiters continue to ask. I’m not sure they even know what to do with the answers to these questions when they get them. Kind of like how a dog probably wouldn’t know what to do with the car he chases if he ever caught it.

One article, written specifically to hiring managers to help them ask better questions, states these questions don’t make good use of the limited interview time, don’t reveal anything of value, and don’t impress the candidate. (Remember, they’re supposed to impress you too. Interviewing is a two-way street!)

Yet, interviewers continue to ask these questions. Maybe because it’s just how they’ve always done things. Therefore you still have to be prepared for them. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t give better answers than the average candidate.

And you should also be prepared for new alternatives to these questions. Just in case one of these interviewers happens to get a wild hair and try something new or different.

How not to sound like every other candidate

“Where do you see yourself in five years?”

When answering overused interview questions, always avoid using canned answers.

For instance, when answering, “Where do you see yourself in five years?”, don’t say, “I’d like to be working for your company, in a stable senior position, I’ve reached through steady progression.”

Instead, you can respond using your own personal vision and mission statements as the basis for your answer. You don’t have a personal vision or mission statement? You must’ve missed all my other posts about the importance of having a personal vision and mission statement.

These statements reflect the things most important to you, the values you possess, and the talents you have to offer. Therefore they’re unique to you. No one else will have a vision or mission exactly like yours.

And because they’re based on your long-term values, your vision and mission remain rather consistent. They evolve over time instead of changing on a regular basis. Therefore, at least you know whatever you’re doing in five years, it will be in support of your vision and mission.

To learn more about how to develop a vision and mission that are authentic to your values and talents, check out my book: Personal Branding: Why You Need to Know What Makes You YOUnique and AWEthentic.

“What’s your greatest weakness?”

Another pointless interview question is, “What’s your greatest weakness?” No one likes this question! But it’s likely you’ll still get it in your next interview. Again, don’t use canned answers when responding.

For instance, don’t say:

  • “I’m too much of a perfectionist.”
  • “I work too hard.”
  • “I’m a bit too passionate when it comes to my work.”

Instead, respond using the tips I shared in my post, “How to Answer ‘What Is Your Greatest Weakness?’“. These tips include:

  • Understanding why this question is being asked.
  • Listening to how the question is asked.
  • Not negating your strengths.
  • Never answering with a trait.
  • And knowing how to follow up with a positive.

Click here for more details.

“If you were an animal, what animal would you be?”

Personally, I love this question. I think it’s one of the easiest questions to help you communicate your skills and strengths.

To answer it well, just think of one of your best skills and what animal represents that skill. For example,

  • Strong leader = a lion.
  • Clear communicator = a dolphin.
  • Adaptable to different settings = a chameleon.
  • Wise decision-maker = an owl.
  • Good at conflict resolution = a dove.

You get the picture. Just don’t forget to include why you chose a certain animal! Then follow it up with one specific and interesting example of how you’ve demonstrated this particular skill in the past.

Alternative interview questions to be prepared for

Some interviewers have caught on to the pointlessness of these types of interview questions. Therefore they’ve come up with alternative ways to ask the same question in order to solicit a more honest response. As a result, you should be prepared for questions like:

  • “What annoys you?” (I personally know a recruiter who asks this in place of the “greatest weakness” question.)
  • “If I asked your references what your biggest weakness is, what would they likely say?” (This doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to ask your references this question, but you can never be sure.)
  • “How can you make an impact on this company in the first 12 months of the job?”
  • “Tell me what you’ve accomplished in the last five years.” (This is a better question because past behavior is a good predictor of future behavior.)
  • “What would your boss, co-workers, and staff all agree about you?”

If you need help determining how to best answer these questions, consider some of paNASH’s one-on-one career coaching services.

Conclusion

Old habits die hard. This includes interviewers’ habit of asking pointless interview questions. So make sure you’re prepared for the predictable. And be open to and refreshed by the occasional unexpected questions. Remember, the kind of questions an interviewer asks says a lot about a company.

Related sources

Your Job Provides You Security. Until It Doesn’t. Then What?

Depending on what industry you’re in, your job security may feel a little shaky right now due to COVID-19.

Even if you haven’t lost your job because of the economic impact caused by the coronavirus, or even if you’re able to return to work soon, you may feel less sure of your future career than ever before.

No one could’ve predicted six months ago the situation we’re currently experiencing world-wide.

This is why there really is no such thing as job security. Stuff happens.

The only constant is, business will always be business. Companies will always do what they have to do to keep afloat for as long as possible. Which often means downsizing.

This is why it’s important to invest in what I call “career insurance.”

What is career insurance?

Career insurance is basically another term for comprehensive career coaching. It’s designed to prepare you for any event that may arise in your career.

This includes the expected, like a promotion, voluntary job or career change, or starting your own business. It also includes the unexpected, like a layoff or a loss of business.

Think you don’t need career insurance?  Let me share a few stories with you.

The unexpected layoff

I’m often hired by companies to provide career coaching and outplacement counseling for the employees they have to lay off.

This service isn’t something all companies provide their pink slip employees. So don’t assume your company will do the same for you if you get laid off.

If they do, take advantage of it!!! It’s on the company’s dime and it can help you find your next opportunity much faster than trying to do it all on your own.

Many of the laid off employees I’ve worked with in this capacity were taken by surprise by the company’s decision.

Several have said to me, “I always thought I’d retire at this company. I love my job and the people I work with. And I had no intentions of ever leaving and never thought I would get downsized.”

Lesson #1:  Never assume you’re not at risk of losing your job. Even if your company is in a growing industry and promises to be loyal to you. Business is business and things change. If your company doesn’t provide you any outplacement services, you may want to invest some severance money into career coaching. This is so you can find your next opportunity quicker, and learn how to negotiate a higher salary. Learning such skills will pay for any coaching expenses, and then some.

The need for a change

Teresa* hired me for some career coaching services because she was very unhappy in the job she was in.

She wanted to look for something new, and also explore the possibility of being her own boss. So I got to work on helping her meet these goals.

After only three coaching sessions, Teresa found out her job was being eliminated.

When she got the news, she felt a sense of relief she’d already paid for a career coach and had begun the steps to a successful job search, making the news less of a blow.

She knew our sessions would help put her in the best possible position to find her next opportunity more quickly. She also knew the coaching would help position her for promotion the following year.

Lesson #2:  It’s better to already have some career insurance in place, if and when an issue arises, than to not have it and wish you did. Especially if you don’t receive a good severance package.

Prepare for the worst, and the best

I started working with Shane* at the beginning of the season. He chose my basic package of just a few sessions which we completed several weeks later. When I received an update from him, this is what he had to say:

“All of my worlds have been colliding since our last session, and I’ve only been able to handle it because of the great place we got to with our sessions. So thank you. I just had my interview for my promotion that was in the works earlier this season. Whatever shakes out, the confidence and clarity I gained from our sessions made the interview process really rewarding.”

Lesson #3:  Career coaching isn’t just for leaving your company. If you like where you work, coaching services can help you advance in your company if this is your goal. It can also prepare you for any career curve ball (good or bad) that may come your way.

How to increase your job security

While you have no control over the current pandemic or your company’s response to it, you do have control over your own career strategy.

paNASH’s career coaching services help you develop a strategy to leverage your skills and market them for new opportunities, providing career insurance and improved security no matter what happens with your career.

Is it time for you to invest in some career insurance? If not now, when?

Don’t wait until your current job security is gone. Click here to get started.

Related posts

*Names have been changed for confidentiality purposes. Click here to see client-submitted Google reviews.

How to Avoid These 5 Career Mistakes During a Time of Panic

Are you starting to panic a little about the future?

If so, be careful how you make any upcoming decisions about your career. Especially if you’ve lost your job due to the current economic situation.

You can end up making several career mistakes by letting fear or panic drive your decisions.

5 common career mistakes made in a panic

There are five common career mistakes I see people make when they find themselves in a bad job market and panic. These mistakes are:

1. Taking the very first job you’re offered

Allow yourself as much time as you financially can to find a job that’s the right fit. This prevents you from having to go through yet another job search six to twelve months later.

Learn more in my post, “What You Need to Know About Job Loss”:

What You Need to Know About a Job Loss

2. Not negotiating a higher salary or better benefits

Even in a tight job market, most employers expect you to negotiate before accepting the first offer. If you can’t negotiate salary, there are some other things you can negotiate, like better benefits or being able to work from home a few days a month. Either way, don’t make the mistake of leaving money on the table.

Learn more in my post, “How to Make Smart Investments in Your Life and Career”:

How to Make Smart Investments in Your Life and Career

3. Going back to school when you can’t find a job

I remember back during the recession of 2008, a lot of people who couldn’t find jobs went back to school to get their MBA. They thought this would make them more marketable once companies started hiring again. However, it doesn’t always make sense to get deeper into debt. Especially if you don’t know yet if an advanced degree will help you.

Learn more in my post, “How to Know If You Should Go Back to School”:

How to Know If You Should Go Back to School

4. Signing on to an MLM

Speaking of avoiding debt, don’t be tempted by empty promises of earning big money fast by signing up with a multi-level marketing company. This is probably the BIGGEST career mistake you can make. Don’t be swayed when someone you haven’t heard from in forever, all of a sudden wants to get together to discuss “a wonderful opportunity“. It will cost you money both upfront and in the long run.

Learn more in my post, “You Shouldn’t Have to Pay for Your Paycheck! How to Beware of MLMs”

You Shouldn’t Have to Pay for Your Paycheck! How to Beware of MLMs

5. Not taking advantage of career coaching and career resources.

Perhaps your hard-earned money would be better spent on career coaching to help you figure out your next step. paNASH was recently voted as one of the top eight coaching services in Nashville for the fourth straight year in a row.

But if you don’t have the money for one-on-one career coaching, there are several free and affordable resources here on the paNASH blog and in the paNASH video library.

Learn more in 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

…and my post, “How to Know When to Get Career Help”:

How to Know When It’s Time to Get Career Help

More resources

While the job market is uncertain right now, three paNASH clients have been hired for new jobs in just the past few weeks. One of whom who had multiple offers to choose from.

Now is not the time to panic or lose hope. It’s time to do what’s within your control, which includes making good decisions based on logic, not fear.

Here are some additional posts to help you:

3 Ways to Gain Control Over Your Career in a Recession

The past few weeks have been difficult for a lot of people. There are people who are sick from the coronavirus and missing their family members. Others have been working from home, or worse, been laid off. And we’re all facing a looming recession.

There was so much “white noise” on social media last week you may have missed my previous posts, including three different ways to help you gain some control over your career in these trying times. In case you missed it, here’s a compilation of those three things you may find useful now or in an upcoming recession.

How to gain control over your career amidst layoffs and a recession

Maybe you’ve been fortunate enough to continue working from home during this coronavirus quarantine. But perhaps you haven’t been so lucky.

Some folks have been told not to report to work. And since their job doesn’t lend well to remote work, they’re having to use precious vacation or sick days. Or worse, they’re being laid off.

If this is you, or could possibly be you in the near future, you probably feel like you have no control over your current career or job situation.

But, there are some things you can do to help you feel a little more in control, and can help you be better prepared in the event of a job loss.

1. Stay in control by updating your resume the right way

If it’s been a while since you last updated your resume, now is a good time to do so. It’s definitely more productive than spending your time watching Netflix while quarantined!

I’m sure there are several things you need to add to your resume since you last updated it. Which means you need to make room for those new things.

So how do you know what to get rid of to make way for the new info? I have several free videos, including one entitled:

What NOT to Share On Your Resume: 13 Things You Should Delete Immediately

You may not realize it, but there are probably some things on your resume that are hurting your chances of landing a job interview. They need to go! Find out what they are before you send your next résumé out by watching the video.

Once you’ve updated your resume, you have a chance of getting a free resume critique from paNASH. Details are available in the video.

2. Be prepared to become a freelancer during a recession

Even if you’re still able to work during the coronavirus quarantine, whether from your office or from home, let me ask you something:

Are you prepared to be a freelancer if forced to?

Think about it. If you lost your job tomorrow and couldn’t find another one right away, would you be able to pick up and start making some extra money?

Do you already have some other streams of revenue in place, like freelance work or a side hustle?

I’ve previously written about the importance of having multiple streams of income. You can’t rely on only one stream because it could evaporate tomorrow.

I’m not saying this to cause you to panic. Instead I say it to help you feel more productive and a little more in control of your current situation.

How to create multiple streams of income

Here’s what you have some control over. Sit down and make a list of skills you have that others would pay you to perform because they lack those skills. Also add to your list anything you own that others might want to rent on a short-term basis.

Decide which items on your list will take the least amount of time to start earning the most money.

Then, get the word out. Use your current social media profiles to do this. And join platforms you’re not already using. Start with the ones that make the most sense for your product or service.

You may be surprised what kind of response you get.

Forced to be a freelancer

Recently, my hairstylist’s husband was in between digital marketing jobs. Although he received several interviews and offers, the offers weren’t financially feasible based on his experience and the potentially long commutes.

While holding out for something more financially feasible, he took some home improvement jobs as a side hustle since he’s good at this sort of thing.

When one side hustle opportunity was completed, another one came along. Then it got to the point where he had so many side jobs to choose from it made more financial sense to make this his full-time gig!

He’s now making more money doing home improvement than he would’ve if he’d stayed in digital marketing.

Need help becoming a freelancer?

If you need help with the steps of starting a side hustle or work opportunity for yourself, let me know. I’ve successfully transitioned to working for myself and have helped several clients do the same.

3. Getting laid off? The #1 thing to ask for when you leave

Getting laid off is difficult and scary. It’s happening to so many people right now due to a recession caused by the coronavirus. It can make you feel like your career and your life is out of control.

On some occasions you can convince your boss or company that you’re worth keeping around. Such as when you’re able to show your past contributions to the company and the savings of letting you work remotely, using hard data. Hard data gets people’s attention.

But if your data doesn’t outweigh the data that supports letting you go, there’s still something you can negotiate.

Outplacement counseling

You can always ask your company to provide or include outplacement counseling in your severance package.

Outplacement counseling is simply another term for career coaching or job search assistance. It’s set up to help you find your next job more quickly, and to make a smoother transition to it.

Many companies already offer it in their severance packages. I know this because I’m often one of the people they pay to provide such a service for their employees.

Take advantage of outplacement

If your company already offers outplacement counseling, take advantage of it! I’m always surprised at how some people just toss this benefit aside. Their company has already paid for the service, yet some employees think they don’t need it.

Even if you don’t think you need outplacement counseling, use it! If you already have another job lined up, use it to help you prepare for your first year in your new job.

Career coaching isn’t just for helping you find a job. It’s also for helping you succeed in your next job and building your career. And everything discussed in your coaching sessions remains confidential. It will never be shared with your past employer.

Ask for outplacement

If you’re getting laid off due to the coronavirus, and your company doesn’t offer outplacement counseling, ask for it! What do you have to lose at this point?

If your company needs convincing, help them understand how it not only benefits you, but also their business. It protects the company’s brand and reputation. It mitigates the risk of litigation. And, it provides them the opportunity to do the right thing for their employees.

If your company agrees to pay for the service but doesn’t have anyone to provide it, tell them you know someone! Feel free to have them email me, Lori Bumgarner, at lorib@yourpassioninlife.com. I’ve provided outplacement counseling to hundreds of companies’ employees over several years, especially during times of recession.

Additional help when getting laid off

If your company says no to offering outplacement counseling, there are still some free and affordable resources here at paNASH, starting with paNASH’s on-demand programs and free career success videos. Click here to receive free access to the following videos:

Control what you can during a recession

Knowing what you can’t and can control means the difference between feeling panicked and empowered. Hopefully the tips and resources provided here will make you feel more empowered. I look forward to helping you navigate these uncertain times in your career!

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