Tag: COVID-19


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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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.

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

How to Make Phone and Video Interviews Run More Smoothly

I have a few clients who’ve done video interviews in recent weeks due to COVID-19. While phone and video interviews are nothing new, at least not to first-round interview screenings, they’ve temporarily replaced all in-person job interviews during the quarantine.

Companies are likely to continue holding remote interviews throughout the different “re-entry” phases. And they’re likely to continue using them even after the pandemic is behind us. This is simply because it saves the company a lot of money, especially in travel reimbursement expenses for non-local candidates.

Job interviews are already stressful. Throwing into the mix a technology platform that doesn’t always work perfectly can make it even more nerve wracking.

Here are some tips to help make your next remote interview run more smoothly, so you can focus on landing the offer.

Tips for video interviews

When undergoing video interviews, you’ll want to:

  • Have a strong internet connection. Make sure you’re computer is close to your router. For an even better experience, you may want to use an Ethernet port to hardwire your computer to the router.
  • Close out any programs or apps running in the background. For the best experience, I suggest using Google Chrome as your browser.
  • Have everything set up and ready to go well before the interview time. This includes having already downloaded any necessary software for the given platform.
  • Use a headset or earbuds for clearer audio.
  • Look directly at your webcam instead of your screen. This allows you to maintain good eye contact and reduce distractions from other things popping up on your screen. Practice this with a friend prior to your interview.
  • Use the “share screen” option when showing samples of your work from your online portfolio. Make sure you don’t use this option for too long, and ask for permission first before sharing your screen.
  • Get comfortable with any silence caused by a delay or lag time in the connection. Waiting it out instead of trying to fill the silence will keep you from interrupting or talking over the interviewer.
  • Be mindful of your background. Make sure it’s not distracting and doesn’t reveal anything the interviewer may consider questionable.
  • Keep a notepad next to your computer so you can take some notes. Just don’t take so many notes you forsake too much eye contact.
  • Let family members know not to interrupt you, and put pets in another room.
  • Silence your cell phone.

Tips for phone interviews

Many of the above tips can apply to phone interviews as well. I this situation, you’ll also want to:

  • Use the interviewer’s name more frequently in your conversation. This is especially necessary when you have more than one interviewer on the line.
  • Smile, even though they can’t see you. They’ll still be able to hear your enthusiasm for the job when you’re smiling as you talk.
  • Get comfortable with silence and pauses. They may take notes and need some time between your answer and their next question to finish writing down those notes. When you’re done with your answer, stop talking and resist the urge to fill the silence. Wait patiently for them to respond.
  • Disable your call waiting in your call settings.
  • Reduce all chances of background noise if using your phone on speaker. This means disabling any alarms or Alexa devices that could possibly go off during the call.

Conclusion

By taking the steps above, you’ll be better prepared, less stressed, and more focused. For other interview tips, see related resources listed below.

Related resources

Blog post: What You Need to Know About Job Interviews of The Modern Era

Free video: The Most Common Job Interview Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

On-demand video course: Steps to Acing the Interview and Reducing Your Interview Anxiety (free e-book included)

 

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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