Tag: job search


5 Ways to Network Effectively in a Post-COVID Job Market

There’s no doubt the pandemic required a major change in how we network with people. Any and all methods of networking not already virtual were forced to move online.

But now, people are craving face-to-face connection again. Especially since many jobs are still remote, and will likely stay this way.

People are burned out on two-dimensional networking interactions via Zoom and a computer screen. They want to get back to some kind of normalcy, and network in a more meaningful and effective way.

This raises questions such as:

  • Which normal networking methods will still work post-COVID?
  • What methods developed during COVID will carry over post-COVID?
  • Which methods will become the “new normal”?

I’ll provide some answers to these questions in this post. Read on!

How to network effectively post-COVID

1. Continue to make it relational

Networking has always been and always should be relational in nature, not transactional. Unfortunately, a lot of people still don’t get this. They wonder why their networking attempts aren’t fruitful.

It’s because they’re not being realistic about networking. Click here to learn how to be more realistic.

2. Reconnect

To maintain your current relationships in your network, you want to reconnect with anyone you haven’t talked to since before the pandemic. Now is a good time to follow up with them.

Ask them how they’ve managed during this turbulent time. Ask if they’re continuing to work remotely and if they like it. Or ask if they’ve joined the “Great Resignation” or decided to retire early. Then, really listen to their responses.

3. Show empathy

It’s been a difficult year and a half for everyone, and even more so for those who’ve lost loved ones to COVID.

Don’t forget to show empathy and compassion (with appropriate boundaries) to your contacts when given the opportunity. Practice and demonstrate the emotional intelligence employers seek in job candidates.

4. Give options

Even if you now feel more comfortable meeting in person for networking conversations, don’t assume everyone else has the same comfort level.

When trying to schedule networking conversations such as informational interviews, always give your contacts an option. Even if they’re tired of Zoom, it may be more convenient for them to meet over the computer. Or, perhaps their eyes need a break from the computer screen, so offer the option of an old-fashioned phone call.

But when in agreement, try to meet in person, while being open to new or different meeting places (see the next section).

5. Find new places to meet

Physicians and psychologists suggest we break up our work-day to include both some exercise and some social contact. The pandemic motivated a lot of people to get outdoors, which is very healthy! And with more people still working from home by choice, the more likely they are to take a mid-day walk in their neighborhood or at their local park on their work breaks.

To fulfill the need for social contact, offer to meet people at their favorite trail or nearby dog park to join them for some fresh air. Doing so helps them better manage their time since they can walk their dog, get exercise, and meet with you, all at the same time. Helping them free up their time makes it more likely they’ll say yes to your invitation.

Bonus tip: Don’t forget your pants!

Now that you’re making your way out from behind your webcam, you have to remember to change out of your pajama bottoms and into real pants!

In all seriousness though, you should plan to put forth a little more effort in looking presentable than you were probably used to during the pandemic. Even if you’re planning to meet for a walk or a run, don’t show up looking sloppy.

More post-COVID job search tips

COVID has changed the way job searches are conducted in a lot of ways. I’ve added new handouts to the on-demand video tutorials, which include specific tips on how to succeed in a post-COVID job search. This includes:

  • Things you need to add to your resume, and things to remove from it.
  • New kinds of interview questions you need to be prepared to answer.
  • And new questions you should be asking the company in your interviews.

These programs also include the never-changing tried-and-true job search advice, along with numerous “out-of-the-box” job search tips designed to help you stand out above the competition.

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How to Find Guidance and Stability for a Successful Job Search

Recently, I was interviewed for a podcast on the topic of career guidance. One of the questions I got was, “What’s one object that reflects your passion, and in what ways?” The object I chose was the fin from my standup paddle board. If you’ve spent any time reading this blog, you know how passionate I am about paddle boarding!

So how does the fin from my SUP board also reflect my passion for my work as a career coach?

If you ever try paddle boarding without a fin, you’ll quickly realize something isn’t right. Instead of your board going in a straight direction as it should, it twists and turns in every other direction.

This happened a few years ago when I gave my late uncle a paddle boarding lesson, and the board he borrowed from his friend didn’t have a fin. I could tell his board was all over the place and he was struggling. I told him to trade boards with me so he wouldn’t have to struggle so much while learning.

Once I got on his finless board, I could feel just how out of control it was. It was nearly impossible for me to get the board going in the right direction, despite my advanced paddling skills from several years of experience.

This is how many job seekers’ job search looks and feels. They start their job search by applying to any and all job ads they might be qualified for, without focusing on the direction they want to take their career. This is especially true if they want to make a career change, but haven’t yet determined what kind of change it might be.

Stability and guidance in the job search

Career coaching acts much like the fin on a stand up paddle board. The fin doesn’t move your board for you. You’re the one who has to use the paddle to do so. But the fin does help stabilize and guide your board to keep you going in the right direction, while also allowing for exploration of your surroundings.

Career coaching doesn’t find a job for you. You’re the one who has to go on the interviews and land the job. But career coaching helps guide your job search and keeps you going in the right direction based on your skill set, experience and passions. It gives you the space to explore different options without spinning around and losing focus on your professional goals.

Does your job search feel like it’s all over the place with no real guidance or focus? If so, paNASH can help! Click here to complete the paNASH intake form and schedule a complimentary initial consultation.

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Reverse Job Search: How to Deal With Unsolicited Job Opportunities

In last week’s post, I discussed ways job seekers can take advantage of the current job market created by the “Great Resignation.” As a follow-up, I want to illustrate how being honest about both your strengths and weaknesses, and developing good salary negotiation skills, can make a difference in a post-COVID job market, specifically in dealing with unsolicited job opportunities.

Meet my client

A client I began working with in the spring was looking for a slight career change. During our time in working together, she received a couple of job offers, but turned them down because they weren’t exactly what she wanted.

We agreed it would be a good idea for her to hold out for something more in line with her career goals, especially since she already had a job providing good income.

Therefore, she took a step back from the job search. In doing so, she started enjoying her current job more.

Fast forward to September, and she, like many other people right now, was being recruited for unsolicited job opportunities three to four times per week. This is because of the “Great Resignation” and employee shortage many companies are facing this fall.

My client stuck to her guns, and said no to the opportunities not in line with her career goals. Then came a recruiter calling with a job, still not exactly what she was looking for, but it had potential. So, she agreed to an interview.

When I had my follow-up session with my client, she told me everything that happened with her interview. And it was so awesome how things played out for her.

This next part of her story goes to show how anything can happen in a job search, especially during a job seeker’s market. It also shows how important it is to be transparent in the interview process.

Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses

My client shared with me how when it came time for the interview, she’d completely forgotten about it. She was 30 minutes late, and the recruiter called to see why she wasn’t on the Zoom call. My client apologized profusely, figured the company probably no longer wanted to talk with her, and was okay with it if they didn’t.

But when it’s a job seeker’s market, companies are much more forgiving, and they still wanted to conduct the interview with her. (Note: please don’t take this to mean I’m saying it’s okay to be intentionally late for an interview, even in this current job market!)

In an ordinary job market, it’s best to downplay weaknesses and play up strengths in an interview. But because my client wasn’t feeling the typical nerves and pressure she’s felt in past interviews, she decided to take a different approach to this interview.

This time around, she chose to actually emphasize her weaknesses as much as her strengths. She wanted to be completely authentic so she could guarantee the right job match for her. Because of this approach, she said the interview felt more like a conversation, and therefore more comfortable and freeing.

I’ve always told my clients this is how an interview should be. It should be a meeting or conversation about determining a win-win scenario for all parties involved. This includes both parties asking questions of each other so everyone can make the right decision.

The benefits of authenticity in unsolicited job opportunities

As a result of my client’s more authentic approach to the job interview, and despite being half an hour late for it, she got a second-round interview! But there’s a twist to this story. The second interview was for a different role, which was a step above the job she originally interviewed for. My client’s interest increased.

She continued to be transparent about her abilities and weaknesses in the second interview. Following this second interview, another twist occurred. The company called my client to tell her they were creating a role just for her, based on her skills. This role was two steps up from the original job, and three steps up from her current job title!

My client was flabbergasted! They told her to expect an offer after they were done running the required ad for the new role.

Develop good salary negotiation skills

When my client received the offer, she contacted me, wanting to use her remaining session of her career coaching package to prepare her for salary negotiations.

Despite the fact this is the same client who taught me how to negotiate with car salesmen, she was nervous when it came to negotiating salary. She attributed her anxiety to the dip in her confidence caused by the dynamics of her current job. But she admitted her confidence was improving due to the career coaching I’d provided.

This time, I coached her on how to negotiate what she wanted, which included $5,000 more than the offer, and an extra week of PTO.

She still had some concerns that if she asked for what she wanted, the company might rescind the offer. This is a common fear, especially among my female clients.

I reminded her they recruited her, so she has more control in these negotiations. And I reminded her they had created a role tailor-made, just for her! No company would do this, and then rescind the offer.

She responded, “I think I just needed to hear this from you Lori.” She accepted the offer and is very happy with it!

Her biggest lesson from this experience is captured in what she said next:

“I learned I was only going to find the right job and the right company if I was being my true and authentic self.”

If she hadn’t been so open and honest, the company might have only offered her the original position, which was two steps down, not as good of a fit for her, and not as much money.

Handling unsolicited job opportunities

From this experience, my client understood the point of the homework I gave her, specifically, the personal branding homework. She realized it takes discovering your authentic and unique differentiators, plus learning how to articulate them to employers, to find the right fit for your career goals.

This is true whether you’re actively looking for a new job, or if you’re being recruited for unsolicited job opportunities. Other tips for handling unsolicited job opportunities include the following:

1. Know exactly what your career goals are

If you’re not clear on your career goals when recruiters come calling, you could end up trading one bad job experience for another. Writer and educator James Quigley says,

“If you’ve already gone down the rabbit hole of unfulfilling work once, do your best to avoid a repeat journey by considering factors like work-life balance and daily routine, as important as salary and benefits, when assessing possible job leads.”

The homework my client did can also help you with this. In addition, I always suggest making a three-prong list of what you’re looking for in a job.

The first column of your list should include your “must haves.” The second column should list the items you’re willing to negotiate or compromise on. And the third column should include what I call “icing on the cake” items, those things you don’t expect but would be thrilled to have.

2. Don’t let the flattery of being pursued be your only reason for taking a job

If you take the time to complete the first item, it’s less likely you’ll take a job for the wrong reasons. You don’t want to accept a job just because a company shows interest in you.

I’ve seen so many people make this career mistake. They’re so excited someone’s interest in hiring them, they feel obligated to accept the offer.

But if there’s ever a time to be picky when it comes to a job, now is the time. This current job market is your advantage in finding more of what you want.

3. Be open-minded and listen

Although you can now be picky, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be open-minded when approached with unsolicited job opportunities.

Take the time to listen to the details about the job. Then, ask as many questions as necessary to determine if it meets at least 60 to 75 percent of your “must haves” on your list.

4. Be honest

As you saw in the story above, being honest about your strengths and weaknesses can make a difference in finding the right fit for your next job.

Some resources to help you be authentic to your goals and your gifting include:

5. Be courteous

Finally, if you’re recruited for unsolicited job opportunities, provide the same courtesy you’d want in the job search. If you’re not interested in the job, say so graciously. And don’t ghost companies, even if companies have ghosted you in the past.

Showing courtesy makes you memorable for the next time you’re looking to make a career change.

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It’s an Employee’s Job Market. Here’s How to Take Advantage of It.

The “Great Resignation” is in full effect due to the disruption of the pandemic, which has dramatically changed the job market. Workers, especially mid-career employees, are re-evaluating their careers. This re-evaluation has led to many employees resigning from their current jobs for various reasons.

The biggest reason is due to burnout. Other reasons include organizational changes, under-appreciation of employees, insufficient benefits, and no support of well-being or work-life balance.

In fact, I’ve been working a lot lately with clients looking to leave their current job. This is because they don’t want to lose the flexibility they had when working from home. They’re looking either to start their own business venture, or to join a company continuing to allow remote work.

As a result, the jobs people are leaving are now coming open to other people looking for something new or different. Because of this, job seekers and potential employees are in more demand. Therefore, they can demand more from potential opportunities and contract negotiations.

Taking advantage of the current job market

Because of the Great Resignation, you may have noticed an increase in the number of recruiters reaching out to you for job opportunities. Perhaps even for ones in which you have no interest or qualifications. Because it’s an employee’s job market, you can decide which ones to give consideration to and which ones you don’t.

Whether you’re seriously considering recruiters’ offers, or are actively looking to make a career change, here are some tips to help you take advantage of the job market created by the Great Resignation.

1. Re-assess your personal and professional goals

It’s important to take an inventory of your personal and professional goals to see how they’ve changed since the pandemic. You can do this by going back through the 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan.

If you haven’t already used this plan, you can receive a free download of it by subscribing to the paNASH newsletter. Clarifying your goals can help you to know which opportunities are worth pursuing and which ones aren’t.

While working through this plan, discuss your thoughts with your family. It’s important to have their input and support when considering any kind of career change. This is especially true if you determine your own resignation is part of your goals.

For tips on leaving your current company, check out my post entitled, “How to Plot Your Escape From the Golden Handcuffs.”

How to Plot Your Escape From the Golden Handcuffs

2. Update your résumé

I’ve always said it’s important to update your résumé every six months, even when you’re not looking for a job. It’s much easier to remember your results and accomplishments from the past six months, than waiting until you need a résumé to try to remember them.

But now especially, you need to update your résumé to reflect the skills and adaptations you’ve developed during the pandemic. These skills might include crisis management, remote teamwork, digital collaboration, and process development.

I recently added a bonus downloadable handout entitled, “Post-COVID Résumés: What your résumé should look like in a post-COVID job market,” to the online video tutorial on résumés. This tutorial is a great resource in helping you bring your résumé up to current standards, and getting it through résumé filtering software.

3. Brush up on your interview skills

Specifically, you’ll want to be prepared to answer questions about how you adapted during the pandemic, and perhaps even how you spent your time if you lost your job due to COVID. I address how to answer such questions in a previous post entitled, “How to Answer These Important Pandemic Interview Questions.”

How to Answer These Important Pandemic Interview Questions

Also, you’ll want to update your own list of questions to ask the employer in the interview. In addition to the questions I’ve previously suggested, you’ll want to ask:

  • How has your company changed for the better since the pandemic?
  • How has it changed for the worse?
  • Which pandemic-related adaptations have you kept in place?
  • 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?
  • What is your company’s definition of company culture?

This last question is becoming increasingly important. One of my clients who’s gone on several interviews lately, has noticed when she asks about the company’s culture, the employer asks her to clarify what her own definition of company culture is.

The reason they ask for clarification is because they’ve seen a trend where job seekers are defining company culture as being able to work from home. But companies don’t see work from home as a cultural aspect. They see it more as a logistic.

So be ready to explain what you mean by company culture, and then ask what their definition is, to ensure you’re both on the same page.

4. Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses, and 5. develop good salary negotiation skills

It’s these two tips I want to discuss at greater length in next week’s post. Stay tuned for “Reverse Job Search: How to Deal With Unsolicited Job Opportunities.”

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Do You Want to Keep Working Remotely Now That COVID Is Ending?

In recent weeks, I’ve had several people contact me to begin a new job search. The reason they’re now looking is because their current company no longer needs to enforce remote work, due to the decline of COVID. Therefore, employers are now requiring employees to return to the office. For those who’ve enjoyed working remotely, they’re considering a career change to a company that embraces this type of flexibility.

Of course, some people are looking forward to getting back to the office full-time. They’re not cut out for working from home. It’s definitely not for everybody. However, even those who are looking forward to returning to the office have said they’d still like to work remotely, at least one or two days a week.

I had a feeling this would happen. I get it. Since I started working from home, I’ve never had a desire to return to an office setting.

This is why I wrote a post at the beginning of the pandemic, about how you can use a temporary remote work situation, as an opportunity to convince your company to continue offering flexible work locations, even after the pandemic.

What I didn’t anticipate, and neither did anyone else at the time, was just how long required remote work would last. Remember when the idea of being in lock down for two weeks sounded like an eternity? Who would’ve thought it would last for over a year?!

How to keep working remotely

If you’re someone who’s grown accustomed to this new way of working and don’t want it to end, you can still try some of the tips I previously shared to convince your company to continue offering remote work options.

Let’s see what this looks like in a post-COVID work-place.

Point out the obvious

Companies have no doubt seen the positive impact remote work has had on their bottom line. This includes:

  • Savings from lowered overhead, such as reduction in operating costs, rent, utilities, travel, etc.
  • Expanded talent pool, since geography no longer limits their access to good workers.
  • Better employee morale.
  • Less attrition.

Remind your employer of this! Sometimes you have to point out the obvious to be heard. And you don’t have to do so in a way that sounds like you’re being insubordinate. Instead, ask your employer what the positive impacts have been. And ask if those things outweigh the negative impacts. Getting your employer to say out loud what’s working reiterates it for him or for her.

Point out the not-so obvious

It may not be so obvious to your employer the positive impact remote work has had on an individual level. You’ll need to show how the positive impact you’ve personally experienced also impacts the company’s bottom line.

Can you show how you have:

  • Become more productive?
  • Had less distractions and therefore had less errors in your work?
  • Been less sick and therefore have reduced your absenteeism?
  • Had happier clients and customers due to a better work-life balance of your own?

If you haven’t tracked this as I previously suggested at the beginning of the pandemic, try your best to go back and look at anything quantifiable, to see if your numbers have improved since working remotely. Put this into a report to share with your higher-ups. The data will speak volumes!

Consider other companies

Even if you don’t succeed at convincing your company to continue remote work, there is some good news. Several other companies are now likely to offer remote work options, based on the benefits they’ve seen in the past year. Therefore, it may be time to look into changing companies.

However, before doing so, I suggest getting some career coaching. This will help you sell yourself in interviews with other companies. It will also teach you how to get the truth about a potential company’s culture, before you change jobs.

Click here to schedule a complimentary initial consultation.

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