Tag: pandemic


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.

Related resources

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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Could You Pivot to Become a Good Freelancer if Necessary?

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

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

Rafael Espinal, President & Executive Director of Freelancers Union

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

Freelancer Story #1

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

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

Freelancer Story #2

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

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

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

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

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

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

Key take-aways

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

1. Prepare for the future

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

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

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

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

2. Get on the same page

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

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

3. Know what to expect

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

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

4. Don’t let fear intimidate you

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

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

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

5. Make your product or services accessible

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

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

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

Need help?

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s your definition of a better career plan?

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

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

Don’t let a crisis go to waste

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

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

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