If you are like many in the United States, you have had your employment negatively impacted by this pandemic. It is difficult at any time to lose your job, but during an unprecedent situation like we faced this year, has made it especially challenging. The Federal Government, in an attempt to ease the pain somewhat of job loss established a $600 unemployment premium in addition to what was provided by NY State.
This additional flat $600 had the unfortunate effect of motivating many to delay their job search in order to receive this benefit. Employers further negatively impacted the situation by not posting positions that are open because of the belief that people are not really looking for employment.
This week’s column is designed to outline the reasons why the time is now to begin your job search and immediately kick it into high gear. Waiting, while it may allow you to maximize your unemployment benefits, is not the best long-term move for you.
- Less Competition Means Better Chances: It is a given that some people will stay on unemployment until any additional stimulus money is done. When it does end, the market will be flooded with applicants re-entering the workforce (or trying to). Why wait until the moment you will have the greatest competition? Start your job search now, so that you can find your next job before they enter or, at the very least, be well into your search.
- It Can Take Time to Find New Employment: Even in a booming non-pandemic economy, it can take some time to find new employment. The interview and testing process can often take weeks, even when you are the preferred candidate for the prospective employer. Knowing that the stimulus money can’t last forever, and it may take you some time to find a new job, it makes perfect sense to get started on the process now.
- Limit Your Resume Employment Gap: Now I will say that Recruiters will not be surprised at all to see 2020 employment gaps when reviewing resumes. There is, however, value to having as little gap as possible in your resume not only for your current status, but when you seek other positions in the future. I am always an advocate that you want to be positive and “sell” during your interviews, but employment gaps require you to play defense and “explain”. “Sellers” have a huge advantage when seeking a job.
- Protect Your Current Salary Range: We will see if this plays out like usual with the pandemic, but traditionally the longer someone is out, the more difficult it is to find a new job at similar or higher wages. Hiring Managers begin to feel doubt creeping in about your candidacy and a job seeker starts to become less confident in their negotiation stance in terms of salary due to needing a job.
- Gives You a Selling Point: As mentioned earlier, you want to sell yourself to the Recruiter and/or Hiring Manager. Diving into your job search, rather than taking time to recharge your batteries or collect unemployment, is impressive to a person doing the hiring. It reflects positively on your work ethic and initiative and will give you a “selling” point to distinguish yourself from others.
- Land With a Solid Company: The companies primarily hiring now are those who are in industries that are solid in relation to the pandemic. They may also be a company of such strong financial footing, that they also need to hire during this time when many companies lack the resources to fill open requisitions. In other words, most of the companies hiring now are preferred employers in strong “pandemic proof” industries, all of which should be very appealing to you.
- Keep Your Skills Sharp: Most candidates tend to be their most confident early in their job search process. As things progress and finances become more difficult, nerves will often come into play, causing poor communication and questionable decision-making by the candidate. By jumping right into your search, you stay current and sharp.
Losing your job is never an easy thing, and many employees who poured their heart and soul into their organization found themselves without employment due to this pandemic. It is certainly understandable that, in this situation, a person may have needed a few weeks to get control of their emotions and course correct themselves back towards their career and finding a new job. If you have not, however, begun your job search by now, you are long overdue and it is encouraged that you start ASAP unless you have an unavoidable situation like a medical concern that prevents you.
As always, best of luck in your job search.