During an economic downturn, one of the first things companies do to cut costs is reduce staff. The financial impact of the new coronavirus is being felt globally across industries as many companies and small businesses are forced to close either temporarily or permanently. If dealing with a global pandemic isn’t enough, how do you bounce back from a career setback at a time when the entire world has come to a screeching halt? While your job prospects at this moment may seem bleak, you can still take steps to improve your chances of landing your next role.
File for unemployment immediately
If you’re out of work because of the coronavirus, you’ll want to file an unemployment claim immediately. While you might think your circumstances won’t qualify you for benefits, the government and financial institutions announced new guidance around flexibility to offer assistance to workers impacted by the coronavirus. Make sure you check on eligibility for employee benefits including UIF.
Don’t be afraid to get creative
Depending on your financial state, you may have more or less leniency on what you can afford to do. This may look like taking a temporary job while you continue to apply for new jobs, or it may look like building the side hustle you always wanted. While it may feel hopeless to hear the news updates and ongoing pandemic, recruiters are still hiring or looking to build relationships with individuals for the future. Evaluate your skill set and pursue opportunities at the companies that are still hiring.
In the midst of a crisis, the connections we have with others often make all the difference. Now is the ideal time to set up meetings with colleagues to ensure you’re reinforcing the professional bonds you’ve built. These days, that means hopping onto a one-on-one video chat instead of grabbing lunch. But you should use your remaining time still employed to explain your situation, share your plans, and explore ways you and your connection can help one another, now or in the future.
Rebuild your personal brand
In the middle of a professional setback, not to mention a global pandemic, your response will say a lot about you. While a layoff can understandably feel like a blow to your career narrative, facing adversity and setbacks are an opportunity to redefine your personal brand. What actions will you proactively take to bounce back? What contributions will you make to others in need? Use this as a time to reinforce qualities like persistence, proactivity, and positivity that may be attractive to your future employer.
Though finding yourself unemployed is never easy, it can feel all the more stressful amid a global pandemic. By following these recommendations, you won’t find immediate success in your career, but with enough effort, you can absolutely pivot to something new despite these challenging times.
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