Tag: COVID-19


How to Protect Your Career While Homeschooling

If you’re a working parent, you may have had to temporarily quit your job to start homeschooling your children due to COVID-19. This unexpected career disruption could have long-term negative effects on the remainder of your career. Especially if you had to leave your job completely with no options to return.

It’s always been difficult for parents to return to the workforce after having stayed home to raise their children. While this current period of homeschooling hopefully won’t last more than one semester, you may face some of the same challenges other parents have faced after being out of the workforce for an extended period of time.

But there are some things you can do now to reduce the negative impact of this disruption on your career. Things that will build your resume and keep you marketable, even during this time away from your career.

4 ways to protect your career while homeschooling

1. Document the skills you’re developing

Pay attention to the skills you’re learning in this new homeschooling job you have. There are probably more than you realize. But if you start paying attention, you’ll see you’re developing not just new computer tech skills, but also many soft skills employers look for in candidates.

These soft skills include:

  • Patience
  • Adaptability
  • Flexibility
  • Time management
  • Organization
  • Empathy
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Problem solving
  • Creativity
  • Stress management
  • Persuasion
  • Active listening

…and so much more!

2. Add your homeschooling experience to your resume

Add the computer skills and soft skills you’re learning to the skills section of your resume. Then, go a step further and add your homeschooling to your experience section of your resume. By doing so, it will explain to the reader two things:

  • Why you left your previous job…
  • …and why you have a gap in your traditional employment history.

3. Share it on LinkedIn

Don’t just stop with your resume. You’ll also want to add this information to your LinkedIn profile.

Then, make sure your LinkedIn network is aware of these skills you’re developing. To do this, you have to do more than just add it to your LinkedIn profile. You also have to share your experience and lessons about it in your LinkedIn groups and newsfeed.

Share posts on LinkedIn about the lessons you’re learning by homeschooling your children, your take-aways from the experience, and the best practices you’ve come up with. Not only does this show ingenuity and initiative to potential employers, it also makes you a helpful resource for industry colleagues who are going through the same thing. People will remember you for this, which will come in handy for when you’re looking to return to the workforce.

4. Write about your homeschooling experience

If you enjoy writing, you can take your posts on LinkedIn and develop them into full-blown articles. You can either write articles directly on LinkedIn, or in a blog, or both!

When doing so, don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and talk about how hard the adjustment has been for you. This vulnerability is what will draw readers to your writing. It’s okay to be vulnerable, even if future employers see it. This shows them you’re authentic.

But also talk about how you’ve found ways to deal with or overcome the obstacles you’re facing in these unprecedented times. This shows readers, including potential employers, your resilience.

Conclusion

If you need help with your resume or LinkedIn profile so they will be ready when it’s time to start looking for work again, paNASH can help! Click here to fill out the paNASH intake form and schedule an initial consultation.

Don’t wait to get started. The average job search takes three to nine months, even in a good job market. If your goal is to be back at work as soon as you can stop homeschooling, now is the time to start working toward this goal!

Click here for more posts to help you manage the impact of COVID-19 on your career.

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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Why You Need to Be Ready For Anything in Your Next Interview

Last week I wrote a post about possible questions you may face in your next interview. If you’re looking for work during the pandemic, you need to be ready to answer such questions. The questions I covered included:

  • What did you do with your time while laid off or furloughed during the pandemic?
  • Did you draw unemployment when you could’ve found work?

Some readers felt the second question was what they called, “off-putting.” I agree it’s a very blunt question. But it’s not illegal, nor is it inappropriate.

In fact, it’s a valid question for any company spending five to six figures in salary on a new employee. Especially if you consider how many people opted for unemployment in the early months of the pandemic, instead of taking job offers.

If you’re able to show you’ve spent your time wisely during the quarantine, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. But for those who haven’t, can you blame the company for wanting to ask such a question?

Anything can happen in an interview

Job candidates have to be ready for anything in the interview. This includes:

  • Questions to test how you handle stress or how quickly you can think on your feet
  • Behavioral interview questions
  • Illegal questions the interviewer should know better than to ask but still does
  • Impromptu presentations or projects
  • And more

In fact, in my own past job searches, I’ve ran into some of the above situations.

Early in my career, I had an interview where I was given 45 minutes to come up with a program that could be implemented in the company. Then I had to present my idea to the interviewers. I was not told before the interview this would be part of the screening process.

On another occasion, I was asked an interview question that didn’t seem odd at first, but quickly turned odd. I was asked, “If I were to go to your list of bookmarks in your internet browser, what web sites would I see listed?”

I answered, “You’d see bookmarked sites related to my work, such as good resources for clients, and professional association sites related to my industry.”

Then the interviewer said to me, “Well, if you went to mine you wouldn’t see any, because I don’t spend my time playing on the internet!”

I figured it was best not to react to her statement. Instead, I smiled through the awkwardness, and quietly waited for the next question.

In addition, while observing other interviewers, I’ve heard C-suite executives ask candidates illegal questions, either because they didn’t know the questions were illegal, or they ignored HR’s recommendations on what not to ask.

And I’ve heard interviewers ask what I call “think-fast” questions like, “How would you describe the color purple to someone who was born blind?” I usually throw in a few of these “think-fast” questions when doing mock interviews with my clients to better prepare them.

Be ready for your next interview

Again, I say all this because job seekers have to be ready for anything in their next interview. Questions like the ones from last week’s post are going to become more common. HR experts encourage employers to ask them, and rightly so.

It’s up to you how you want to react to and handle these questions in your next interview. This can include the suggestions I made last week. And it can include asking questions of your own, which you should be doing anyway. Just make sure you yourself aren’t off-putting, even if the interviewer is.

Once you’ve done your research on the company, shown you haven’t wasted your time, gotten your own questions answered in the interview, and received a job offer, then you can decide if the company’s off-putting approach will be a factor for you when making your decision.

Related posts and sources:

How to Answer These Important Pandemic Interview Questions

If you’re interviewing for a new job due to a COVID-related job loss, you want to of course prepare for commonly-asked interview questions. But you also need to prepare for some new interview questions brought on by the current pandemic.

These pandemic interview questions could include:

  • What did you do with your time while laid off or furloughed during the pandemic?
  • Did you draw unemployment when you could’ve found work?

These are not illegal questions. My friend and colleague Cindy Beresh-Bryant, owner of HR Solutions by Design LLC, verifies these questions not only are legal, but are also very good questions for employers to ask. Therefore, you should be ready for them. Here’s how to answer them.

Answering pandemic interview questions

1. Be honest

First and foremost, always be honest in your answers to these and any other interview questions. Just don’t be too honest. If you didn’t use your time as wisely as you’d intended, you don’t need to go into detail about what you did. No need to say you sat on the couch eating chips and watching Tiger King on Netflix.

But if you’re in an interview, you obviously did something to help you land the interview. And if all you did during your time is conduct a job search, then discuss the efforts you took to help you land the interview. This includes updating your resume and reconnecting with your network through Zoom conversations.

If you have a valid reason for choosing to draw unemployment instead of finding work, be honest and briefly explain. For example, maybe you wanted some time away from work to upgrade your skills by taking online courses. Or you wanted to explore a new career and plan for a career change.

You can even talk about any personal development things you did during quarantine. For example, maybe you worked on a passion project or side hustle, volunteered in your community, exercised more, ate better, or spent quality time with friends and family.

When discussing this, you want to avoid sharing anything too personal that employers legally aren’t allowed to ask you about, or make hiring decisions on. For example, you don’t necessarily want to indicate which organization you were volunteering for, the amount of weight you were trying to lose while exercising, any health issue you were trying to eat better for, or the number of children you have and were spending time with.

2. Show results

In addition to showing how you’ve spent your time during quarantine, you want to show how those activities have made you a better person or better employee.

For instance, have the skills you’ve learned made you better prepared for the job? Have your improved eating and exercise habits given you more energy for work? Have you learned to be more creative and productive from the overall experience?

Results are always of most interest to employers, especially if you can quantify any of your results. Showing your positive results from your quarantine is the same concept I’ve previously discussed about emphasizing the results of your work in your past jobs.

3. Tell your story

These results make you stand out even more when you can tell the story that goes with them. Stories are what make you memorable to the interviewer, because no one else has the same stories as you.

Yes, “we’re all in this together,” and many people are experiencing job loss because of it. But everybody’s stories are different. It’s your unique stories that set you apart from the other candidates and burn a memory into the interviewer’s mind.

To learn how to put your results into a story format, check out my post, “The Secret to Answering Behavioral Interview Questions.”

Conclusion

These are unusual times we’re living in, especially in regards to work. The way work is done is changing fast, and will probably never be the same. The same goes for the hiring process. There will be new interview methods, your job interviews will be remote, and you’ll probably get questions you’ve never had to answer before.

Be prepared for questions like those above, and be aware of the illegal questions you shouldn’t have to answer (i.e. “Have you had any recent health issues?”). (Click here for a complete list of interview questions currently considered illegal.)

Follow the tips outlined here and in the resources below, and you’ll improve your chances of acing your next interview.

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How to Know If It’s Time for a Career Change

It felt so good this past Saturday to eat in a restaurant again after two months of quarantine. To sit down at a table, face-to-face with a friend not contained inside a square on my computer screen. To have someone else cook for me, wait on me, and clean up after me. I made sure to leave a generous tip for the waitstaff who’ve gone two months with no pay.

The restaurant was only at 50% capacity, so it wasn’t a full move back to the old normal. But it was a nice change from the new normal of shelter-at-home life.

However, in experiencing a return of some freedom, I still sensed some fear and hesitation in the air. Any kind of change can cause feelings of fear and hesitation. This is true for career change.

But change can also be good, even in the most uncertain of times. This is also true for career change. I know this from personal experience when I left my full-time job with benefits to start my own business in 2008, right around the time of a recession.

Some people may think this is not the time to make a career change. They assume if they still have a job in the midst of everything happening, they should hold onto it. This may be true.

Or it may not. Instead it may actually be the best time to consider a career change. This could include changing jobs within your industry, changing industries all together, or starting your own thing. Let’s explore which is true for you.

Is it a good time for a career change for you?

A career change within your industry

Are you currently in an industry that’s booming due to the current state of the world? For instance, are you currently in healthcare? Or are you in an industry that manufactures, markets, or sells high-demand products like cleaning agents? In other words, does your industry meet a need now, and will it likely continue to meet a need once things settle down?

If this is the case, you probably want to stay within your industry but do something different. This could mean making a lateral move to a different department, or advancing to a higher level in your current area. It could mean shifting from one function to another, like moving from HR to management, sales to market research, or vice versa.

Make a list of the results you’ve accomplished in your current role for the company. Use this as leverage to help you advance, or to show how your skills can bring new perspective to another area of the company. Don’t be afraid to have a conversation with your supervisor and with other department heads about your desire to continue contributing to the company in other ways.

A career change to another industry

Perhaps you’re in an industry that’s struggling right now. But you have the transferable skills to change to an industry in need of more employees due to the current crisis. For instance, you may currently be in HR in the travel and hospitality industry. But, your skills may be more needed in the HR department of a grocery store chain.

Start doing as much research as you can about the industries you’re interested in. Make a list of your transferable skills and add them to your resume and LinkedIn profile. Start connecting with people in those industries via LinkedIn, email, and phone.

Starting your own thing

Perhaps you’ve been thinking for a while about starting your own thing. Could now be the time to do so? Maybe, especially if you’ve been laid off due to COVID and can’t seem to find another job working for someone else. Or you may have some extra time on your hands because you’re currently working from home.

Spend your extra time writing down your skills, along with some current needs you’re noticing. Look to see how your skills match up with the needs. Then brainstorm some ways you can deliver a solution to those needs. You may also want to use your time to read the book, Will It Fly? How to Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don’t Waste Your Time or Money, by Pat Flynn.

Conclusion

Don’t let the current market make you fearful or hesitant when considering a career change. And don’t let bad news or ominous predictions keep you stuck where you are. Instead, pay attention to the needs around you. Then, ask yourself how and where your skills and talents fulfill those needs.

This process may not be easy to do on your own, but paNASH can help! Get started by completing the paNASH intake form to schedule a complimentary initial consultation.

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