By Mary Ann Faremouth,
The current job market is experiencing a Revolution! Millions of people globally have lost their jobs, sources of income, or been furloughed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. While this widespread, unprecedented crisis is happening through no fault of our own, that may be of little comfort when you’re stressed about paying bills and putting food on the table.
Losing your employment is one of life’s most challenging and stressful experiences a person will endure. Aside from the obvious financial challenges it can cause, the stress of losing a job can also take a toll on your mood, the people in your life and overall mental and emotional health.
Making a living isn’t all our jobs do for us. They influence how we view ourselves and how others see us. Our jobs provide a social outlet and give structure, meaning and purpose to our lives. Suddenly being out of work can allow one to feel depressed. You might be asking yourself, “Who am I now?” You might even be going through a grief process and feel very confused about what the future will hold.
As a recruiter, sitting on my side of the desk and seeing what has and has not been working for people in this New Work World, I want to share what I have been experiencing with my candidates. I’m more or less on the “front line” of this job situation and in my 30 years of doing this job, I’ve never seen the job market like this. I’ve been through five significant downturns in the market but this one is very different and what may have worked in the past isn’t working now. Every situation is different but I see some underlying themes that are getting some applicants the good job offers.
More than ever now, our mindsets are of crucial importance to stay upbeat and positive. There are ways to help you better cope with what you may be dealing with at this time. This is not the time to sit back and wait for things to happen. Take the time to re-evaluate the steps you have been taking and the ones I am suggesting to see if a bit of “tweaking” in your methodology might work well for you. Perhaps these suggestions will bring you more success where you will come out on the other side with a renewed sense of purpose and a mindset programmed to stay positive no matter what!
1. Give yourself time to mourn or grieve your loss
Any type of loss in our lives causes us emotional upheaval, and that includes the loss of a job and paycheck. Being out of work also comes with other major experiences, some of which may not be what we want to face. This job loss may cause:
- Concern about how you will manage your life
- Your professional identity crisis
- Your self-confidence and “who am I” signature
- Your work-based and friend social network
- Your daily routine and purpose
- You and your family’s sense of well-being and security
If you feel you need to see your minister, priest, counselor, etc., for some support during these tough times, don’t be afraid to do it. Sometimes a wise relative you respect can be a good support person or even a trusted friend. The main thing to remember through this entire process is that your “self-worth” is really not tied to your “net-worth.” Just like the fabulous quote from Henry David Thoreau, “What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.” You have an amazing skill set and creative ability within you. Hold on to those positives these days and know that with the right mindset and determination you will be able to turn this around. I’ve heard from numerous clients lately that if the candidate is not coming into the interview with a positive attitude, their chances are not as good as they could be if they present themselves in a more upbeat and positive manner.
2. Consider other areas to define yourself:
Some recommend that writing is a good outlet during stressful times to help us heal. Several years ago, I did just that. Taking a writing class opened up new doors and the writing itself proved to be a very healing exercise. It gave me another identity as “a writer” during challenging times.
Losing a job might allow you to do something different to define yourself in a new way. Maybe you like to garden, cook, paint or make jewelry. Studies have found that using our creative ability allows us to heal and can have a huge effect on our self-esteem and identity. Solid self-esteem is very important in the interviewing process. I have gotten feedback recently from clients telling me when candidates come across too down in the interview or report they have been on numerous interviews and have not had any offers, that puts a negative mark on their chances with the hiring authority. Companies themselves are treading rough waters right now and don’t need to deal with any additional negativity. A positive mindset can go a long way in advancing your chances to make the second round of interviews.
3. Create a Job Search Plan
A famous quote I refer to often in my consulting practice to candidates is a quote by Benjamin Franklin, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Avoid getting overwhelmed by breaking big goals into small, achievable steps. Instead of trying to do everything at once, set priorities. If you are not seeing success in your job search, take some time to rethink your goals. One of my candidates this past week had not heard back from the hiring authority for over a week. He decided to see who he knew who could benefit from the products this company sold and made a phone call to them even before he knew he had the second interview. He then called my client and told him he had done some research on his own and had made calls to his contacts in the industry and knew he could bring these possible leads to this company. He did a spreadsheet with the products these companies had purchased in the past and how this company could be instrumental in servicing their needs. My client called me after receiving this spreadsheet and told me how impressed they were that he took the time to research and put this spreadsheet together. They told me it demonstrated to them how beneficial he would be to their team. An offer was made, he accepted and he starts this new job very soon. By planning for a possible good outcome and putting an actual plan together on his own time with efforts that had no guarantee of success, it secured a new job for this candidate in a tough market. These creative efforts are very important in this New Work World. Just interviewing and demonstrating your accomplishments and what you have done in the past isn’t always enough. Going over and above to bring out WHY you would help the company grow or make a difference on the bottom line is what companies are looking for these days.
Recently, I placed an oil and gas systems analyst applicant into a real estate related company due to transferable skills. In the interview, he bonded with the person he would be working for because of a common interest in hunting and fishing. This invoked the human element between the applicant and the client and secured a job offer.
4. Do daily exercise – even if it’s just a long walk.
A quote I’ve always liked is by Friedrich Nietzsche, “All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.” I believe that to be true. I’ve gotten some great ideas on my walks in the early morning. If work demands prevented you from exercising regularly in the past, make the time now. Exercise relaxes tense muscles and relieves tension in the body, releasing powerful endorphins to improve your mood. Trimming a few inches from the waistline and improving your physical presentation may also give your self-confidence a boost. I can’t express enough how your positive presentation on the interview is so important. I’ve had candidates with exact backgrounds for a job get beat out of offers by others who have only transferrable skills. You have to show how you can contribute to the task at hand and make a difference in a positive manner.
5. Reach Out to Stay Empowered
Your natural reaction during these challenging times may be to withdraw from friends and family out of shame or embarrassment. Don’t ignore the importance of other people when you’re faced with the stress of job loss and unemployment. I have heard it said that “social contact is nature’s antidote to stress.” Nothing works better at soothing your shattered nerves than talking face-to-face on ZOOM with a good listener. That person doesn’t even have to have solutions. Just having someone to listen without judgement is what is needed. It can be very healing and makes one feel supported. Some people are afraid to reach out for support out of pride but opening up won’t make you a burden to others. In fact, most people will be flattered you trusted them enough to ask for their ear and it will strengthen the relationship in many cases. A candidate I was about to send on an interview wanted to cancel the appointment because his child had become ill and he felt he needed to be there. We talked for a good while about how we could orchestrate him getting another family member to come over and sit with the child for a couple of hours so he could have a chance at this interview. After we talked about his options in the situation and having someone to listen, he felt more ready and calm to do the interview and he did end up getting the job. If I had allowed him to cancel the interview in these very challenging times, I’m not so sure I could have been able to reschedule the appointment because of the surplus of good candidates available.
The Covid-19 Pandemic of 2020 has spurred the evolution of how the New Work World has revolutionized the job market. When you take the time to plan your NEW strategy in this New Work World, you can allow yourself to stay positive with a new mindset and power up yourself to reach success. There are as many avenues to success as there are successes. Old methods of finding employment are no longer working as we now adapt to new protocols. Most importantly is a positive mindset and a willingness to go the extra mile to show ourselves and our skill set in the best light to new employers. In order to change on the outside, we have to start by changing on the inside and truly looking at what we have to offer that we might have overlooked in the past. Success is at hand with positive and persistent effort.
Mary Ann Faremouth is the founder and CEO of Faremouth & Company and a highly regarded recruiter, career consultant, speaker and writer. She has been a placement specialist and a leader in the national recruiting community and has placed thousands of employees since 1982. She was the 2016 president of the Houston Independent Personnel Consultant Group and is a board member of the NASPD (National Association of Steel Pipe Distributors) and Authors Marketing Guild. She specializes in recruitment of professional, clerical, and temporary placements, with a variety of industry specific positions in various fields. Her expertise is in matching quality applicants with the right job, serving companies ranging from thriving independents to global conglomerates, tailoring each engagement to the client’s needs.
Mary Ann holds a CPC (Certified Personnel Consultant) credential, was certified by the Board of Regents of the National Association of Personnel Consultants in Washington, DC, and was awarded an Advanced Communicator Bronze, Advanced Leader Bronze Awards by Toastmasters. She cofounded Jobs: Houston magazine in 1997. Mary Ann maintains affiliations with professional organizations in various other industries, including oil and gas, financial, construction, IT, and structural, mechanical, and civil engineering. She has a keen understanding of the marketplace and its specialized needs and requirements.
Mary Ann brings a wealth of expertise to clients looking for the right individual to maximize and empower their team. As a consultant she is available to assist both the applicant and the client to quickly adapt to the New Work World. She also offers virtual and in-person workshops to guide individuals through personalized self-discovery to find new career paths. She continues to build her affiliations with recognized leadership organizations to best serve her clients and applicants by creating a network of highly professional contacts throughout the world. She utilizes her platform as a writer and speaker through her articles and affiliations to reach those in need of help, offering hands-on guidance to navigate this uncharted territory. (More information on www.faremouth.com)
Mary Ann’s award-winning first book Revolutionary Recruiting has been listed by Book Authority as Number #1 of the Best 100 Recruiting Books; #1 Best Seller, Non-Fiction by Amazon (2019); Top 20 Recruiting books by Recruitics; Readers’ Choice finalist (2019) by Houston Literary Awards; Best Non-Fiction (2018), Best Cover (2019), and Best Self-Help (2018) by Authors Marketing Guild. Her books support individuals and corporations, teaching them how to tap into each candidate’s unrealized potential to find the right person for each job, maximizing both employee satisfaction as well as the employer’s bottom line. Mary Ann also showcases her expertise of the recruiting world on a monthly podcast for The Price of Business and weekly articles for USA Business. Mary Ann lives in Houston, Texas.