If you're recently unemployed – you're not alone. In fact, there are many others experiencing this same anxiety and stress due to COVID-19, questioning “what now?” Today on the Love, Happiness and Success blog we have Online Career Counselor and Life Coach, Markie Keelan, M.A., LPC sharing encouragement and tips for those looking for answers in what feels like a very unpredictable time.
Find Your Focus: 7 Simple Steps to Your Dream Career
Be Prepared…Even In A Crisis
As an Online Career Coach, Clients are asking me, “Are companies hiring now?” The answer is definitely, Yes! Companies are still hiring AND it is true that the future of the job market is a big unknown right now. If you want to get ahead, you need to find your focus now.
The truth is, many companies and a lot of industries will suffer, while others will still grow and continue to hire. As people begin to recognize the thriving companies, competition will drastically increase. It’s important to find your focus now and get ahead of the competition.
To assist you on this journey, I have put together my 7 Simple Steps to Your Dream Career, but first, I want to discuss how to find your focus while job searching, working from home, and preparing for your next career move.
Find Your Focus – While Job Searching
The best thing you can do is be proactive. To find your focus while job searching, here are 3 key things you can do to get ahead and take charge of your job search.
- Target industries and companies that are growing despite the outbreak
- Be proactive by leveraging Linkedin to increase visibility and network online
- Be polite and persistent with your follow-ups and show empathy during the interview process
Find Your Focus – While Working From Home
If you are working from home and adjusting to a virtual work culture and wondering, “How do I get motivated and stay productive?” My answer is, “First, give yourself some grace, as you adjust to a remote work environment, which requires flexibility and adaptability.”
To find your focus while working from home, recreate your day by breaking it into three blocks of time. For example, Morning (from the time you wake up until Noon), Afternoon (Noon – 5pm), and Evening (5pm until the time you go to bed).
Focus on managing only one block at a time by identifying your work responsibilities as well as your personal needs. Do your best to pace yourself and create balance. If you don’t get something done, let it go so you don’t fall into the habit of carrying it with you for the rest of your day or week.
If you would like more advice on working from home, read: Working from Home: Be More Productive & Meet Your Deadlines!
Find Your Focus – While Preparing For Your Next Career Move
Here is how you can find your focus if you are unemployed, laid off, furloughed and wondering, “What do I do now?”
My answer is, “Once you have secured your unemployment benefits, turn your attention to the things that are within your control.”
Focus on things you can control right now in your job search, not on the things you can not.
Things You Can Control:
Take action. Continue to develop and manage your job search action plan. Don’t yet have one? Now is the time to create one. Assign activities and for each day/week and work to address them systematically leaving room for adjustment as needed.
Prepare. A robust job search revolves around preparation. Take advantage of quieter times to reassess and update career tools, do research, or make virtual outreach with connections.
Commitment. No need to take your foot off the gas, unless of course, circumstances warrant it (you fall ill or have other pressing family needs). Avoid distractions or an urge to sit back and wait. Remaining on top of job search tasks and outreach may put you at an advantage.
Emotions. If you are starting to feel overly anxious or overwhelmed, reach out for help. Speak to a licensed therapist or career coach about how you are feeling and take a break. It is healthy to build breaks into your job search activities (go for a walk, read a good book, listen to music, take a nap).
7 Simple Steps To Your Dream Career
Regardless of the unique situation you find yourself in, we are all dealing with a heightened level of stress, anxiety and uncertainty that not only impacts our livelihood, but also our health, safety, and general well-being.
There’s a TON of information circulating in the media – some good, some bad, some true, some false and it can feel overwhelming to say the least. When overwhelmed we can easily become paralyzed and do nothing, or do things that just aren’t productive or helpful in caring for ourselves and our future.
As a licensed mental health professional and online career coach, I am not immune to the stress and anxiety that is fueling many of our reactions and decisions during these uncertain times. However, I am grateful for my coping skills and career tools to help me channel this frenetic energy into creating resources for my clients so that they can THRIVE!
With that said, I have compiled 7 Simple Steps to Your Dream Career that I hope will boost your spirits, help you take charge during this time of crisis, and find your focus again.
Slow Down, Re-evaluate, And Find Clarity
This pandemic is forcing us to use the resources we have in a creative way as we are pushed out of our comfort zones. This can bring to light new opportunities and ways of doing things that are more aligned with our strengths and values.
Get clear on the value you add (think outside the box). This is the BEST time to plan to be on top once the crisis is over.
Reframe Worry And Concern As Opportunity
Getting involved in serving others can boost your spirits and be a healthy distraction from the constant state of worry and concern.
How can you look for opportunities to support others (businesses, communities, and industries)?
What do they need right now and how can you provide value at the greatest time of need?
Invest In Yourself
This is one of the best times to invest in yourself. Learn new skills, take online courses, start projects, listen to podcasts, and focus on strengthening your mindset.
Stay positive and keep your head up!
Keep Your Options Open
Do not leave jobs out of desperation and do not take jobs out of desperation. Uncertainty can lead people to do things they may not normally do.
You may feel as if you have to take a job that you aren’t happy with or a job that pays significantly less. Keep your options open and think about what is best for you long term as you are making decisions.
Reallocate Your Time
Are you buying back time since you no longer have a commute? The job market is evolving rapidly, if you want to get results you have to act now.
Define your job search process, create a daily schedule and stick to it, update your resume, optimize your LinkedIn profile, and create a list of contacts that you want to network with.
Be Adaptable, Flexible, And Patient
Know that job searching almost always takes longer than you think.
Putting together a great resume can take a professional resume writer a whole week; putting together a well-researched target company list can take days; setting networking appointments can take weeks and that’s under normal circumstances!
Stay Relevant And Prepare
If you’re preparing for an interview you’ll want to feel confident in talking about how you’re thriving through this situation.
For example, “What did you do to control your “controllables?” “How did you handle the things you couldn’t control?”
Be prepared to have your phone and video conference interviewing skills honed. Make sure you know how to use the equipment to conduct the interview. Do a test run with a friend.
Be prepared for a longer than normal hiring process as employers have to base their data through the camera lens versus in-person. They may want to bring you into the office to meet you and that may take time.
Find Your Focus – Prepare But Don't Panic
I get it, everything is so uncertain right now and it can be very nerve-wracking! I would caution you to filter what information you are consuming and if you notice your anxiety level increasing, take a break and catch your breath.
Setting your phone down or not checking the news for a couple of hours offers a much-needed reprieve from the stress of current events.
During this time prepare but don't panic. Think about what you need to do now to find your focus and give yourself security and peace. Maybe that’s managing your mental health, supporting your personal growth, designing a career plan, updating your resume and LinkedIn profile, connecting with recruiters in your industry, amping up your online networking efforts, or engaging more with your current connections.
You don’t want to be blindsided and it’s not disloyal to your current employer to take the necessary precautions to manage your own career.
Please know that professional support is available to you! You don’t have to figure it all out on your own and having a career coach can help you gain the clarity you need to move forward and plan for a bright future.
Whether you are transitioning your career, starting over, or experiencing new challenges working from home, Online Career Coach and Executive / Leadership Coaching Expert sharing her 7 Simple Steps to Your Dream Career. Find Your Focus!
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