Tag: quarantine


How to Improve Your Career During a Pandemic: 15 Resources

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

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

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

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

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

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

15 resources to help you improve your career during a pandemic

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

How to Improve Your Work Life With Coronavirus Prevention

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

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

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

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

How to Gain Control Over Your Career Amidst Layoffs

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

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

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

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

Are You Prepared to Be a Freelancer If Forced To?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Make Phone and Video Interviews Run More Smoothly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s Time for a 2020 Do-Over!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Stop Procrastinating During and After the Quarantine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LinkedIn Etiquette You Need to Know When Networking Remotely

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

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

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

How to Answer These Important Pandemic Interview Questions

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

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

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How to Market Your Side Hustle on Your Resume

The past several months I’ve written numerous blog posts covering topics related to doing a job search during the pandemic. This includes topics on how to create additional income streams when furloughed or laid off.

It also includes topics on how to show employers in your next interview that you’ve spent your time wisely during the quarantine. But before you can even land an interview, you’ll have to communicate this on your resume.

You may wonder how you can include a side hustle or other projects on your resume, or if you even should. Well, I already answered this question in a post from May 2018 entitled, “Should You Include Your Side Hustle on Your Resume?

Should you include your side hustle on your resume?

The short answer to this question is YES. And there are certain ways to market your side hustle experience on your resume.

To learn how, I invite you to either read or listen to my post from 2018. From it you’ll find out:

  • How employers view side hustle experience.
  • How it makes you marketable.
  • And how you should market it on your resume.

Stay tuned for more relevant job search topics designed to help you be as successful as possible during these uncertain economic times.

Related posts

Additional resources

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.

Related posts

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

Regardless of your feelings or beliefs on wearing a face mask during the pandemic, you might want to consider it as a potential networking tool during these uncertain times. Especially if you’re currently in the market for a new job.

We know networking opportunities have been limited due to months of quarantine. But as I share in my on-demand program The Secret to Successful Networking, networking can happen any time, any place. Even at the essential places like the grocery store, the drug store, or the curbside of your favorite restaurant.

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 person may know the hiring manager where he or she works. This is the perfect person to start a conversation with to begin the path to a potential new job.

But how do you do so when wearing a face mask?

A face mask is a creative conversation starter

The idea of using a face mask as a networking tool and conversation starter first came to me as a funny thought. I didn’t really take it seriously. But then, as I started thinking more about it, I thought, why not?

Why not have a little fun with a face mask and perhaps open a door to a new contact who can lead to your next job offer? It could be something worth trying, kind of like an interesting social experiment.

So what exactly does this look like? What if you were to write your elevator speech on your mask?!

I know, this may sound strange, but hear me out on it. If you follow the rules I give on how to write a better elevator speech than the outdated recommended rules, it could actually work as a creative conversation starter.

How to write an elevator speech like none other

Keep it short and create opportunity for dialogue

Most career experts will tell you your elevator pitch should be 30-60 seconds, as if this is considered brief. If you’ve ever listened to someone go on for 30 seconds or more about their work, you know it feels very long. Especially if you don’t have a clue what the industry jargon they use means.

Other career experts will also tell you your elevator speech should be a statement about your skills. This is not the way to start a conversation or pique someone’s interest in what you do.

Instead, your elevator pitch should just be one simple question about other people’s common problem. Specifically, a common problem you have the skills to help solve.

Why a question? Because it opens the door to a dialogue, a real conversation, instead of a sales pitch monologue.

And, you should be able to ask your question in seven seconds or less! You never want it to be so long or confusing they have to ask you to repeat the question. In other words, it should be so short you have the space to write it on a face mask in letters big enough to read from six feet away.

Make it relatable and create curiosity

So how do you come up with a concise yet clear question?

When thinking about the typical problem or challenge of your market (this can include the employer or the employer’s customers), what words do they usually use to describe it?

For instance, I’m a career coach who specializes in helping people make career transitions to work they’re more passionate about and cut out for. But this is not what I use as my elevator speech.

Instead, I take into consideration the words my market uses when they first reach out to me. Typically what they say is, “I feel stuck.”

Almost everyone can relate to this feeling at one time or another in their career. Therefore my elevator pitch is,

“Have you ever felt stuck in your career?”

This question is simple enough to resonate with most people, short enough to write on a face mask, and thought-provoking enough to lead to a dialogue. And even in the rare chance the other person hasn’t felt stuck in their career, it’s likely someone close to them has.

When the person responds to my question with a “yes,” I say:

“Well, I help people get unstuck.”

That’s it. That’s my whole elevator speech. It’s at this point most people are curious enough to want to know how I do this.

So when they ask me how I help people get unstuck in their career, I now have their permission to tell them more about my skills and experience. Then, I continue to ask more questions to better understand their concerns. This keeps the conversation going.

Face mask or no face mask

Writing your elevator pitch on your face mask may or may not be the best idea. But the point is, having one that’s simple and short enough to do so, is a good strategy. It’s the first essential piece in networking your way to a new job.

And it’s a much better approach than forcing people to listen to a monologue. You’ll stand out as refreshing and interesting, compared to the job seeker who bores everyone with their cookie-cutter elevator pitch.

Related sources: