During an economic downturn, one of the first things companies do to cut costs is reducing 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 you’ve been laid off or had your hours reduced due to the coronavirus pandemic, you’re not alone.
So in addition to concerns about your physical health amid the global COVID-19 outbreak, you’re most likely experiencing additional financial stress worrying about how to make ends meet after your sudden loss of income. Again, though it’s little comfort, you’ve got plenty of company.
After you take a deep breath, consider the following tips to help you navigate your next steps, in the middle of an unprecedented crisis.
Do Something About Your Current Expenses
While you wait for your benefits to begin, I recommend that those who are out of work, contact all of their service providers, from landlords or mortgage companies to utilities, and let them know they have been either laid off or had their hours reduced.
Banks and other service providers will work with you through this time. A few banks could offer assistance to their customers, impacted by COVID-19 that they can have monthly service fees waived and won’t be penalized if they need to withdraw from an account before it matures or may even have certain other services for such customers
Recognizing that staying connected through the pandemic is crucial.
While these may offer a bit of relief, it’s still wise to consider cutting expenses where possible during times of financial uncertainty. If you can cancel non-essential bills, such as subscription boxes or any services that aren’t crucial, that will allow you to save money for other important items, like groceries.
Take Care of Yourself
“The initial anxiety and panic are natural,” says a certified personal development coach, and organizational development consultant. “Recognize it and give yourself a couple of days to let it process and to collect yourself. There is no need to rush into problem-solving and creating more stress immediately after the life-changing event occurs.”
Taking care of yourself and managing the stress that comes from coping with unemployment amid a global health crisis is key.
“Now is a great time to get your exercise routine in line,” Johnson says. “Do a few squats while watching Netflix, run on a treadmill if you have one at home, whatever it is, get moving to feel better. Do the things you love to do. Rediscover your passions. Find new hobbies,” he adds. “The more action you take that makes you feel good, the more prone you will be to identifying opportunities.”
Consider Your Next Move
Once you’ve taken a moment or two to process this event, consider where you are and where you want to be.
Sit down and create a list of both what you like/loved about your job, and the things you disliked/hated about it. This will give insight into what your next move could be. You want to find more of those positive experiences in your next career move.
Especially in light of world events, some days you might not feel inspired, and that’s OK. Do what you must to get through the hard days. On those days you feel good...carpe diem!”
Get Some Help
Millions of people are following stay-at-home mandates. Just because they’re not in their office environments, that doesn’t mean they aren’t ready and willing to help or offer career advice to someone in need. Find a mentor. Right now a large portion of the population has downtime. Reach out. You will find that people are much more willing to help than we typically assume.
Ask your [former] employer if they have any formal or informal outplacement or job coaching resources available. This could be in the areas of resume development, interviewing, and negotiating an offer.
Follow the Demand
If you know you could be facing a long stretch before securing a full-time position in your previous industry, you may be considering a temporary job to make ends meet in the meantime. COVID-19 has substantially increased the need for employees in certain sectors.
Other new opportunities may arise as a result of coronavirus such as IT, and virtual operations support, which are expanding quickly. In the medical industry, look for jobs related to health care, emergency services, diagnostics, pharmaceutical, medical supplies, and personal protective equipment. Depending on trends, as time goes by, some government agencies could seek an overwhelming amount of new workers.
But Also Keep Up Your Search for Your Ideal Role
Employers are in fact still hiring—even in the markets that look uncertain right now, such as the finance, hospitality, construction, and retail industries—which is why continuing to apply and network online throughout the coronavirus crisis.
Looking for companies that are still actively hiring during the pandemic?
Trying to gain employment in your core occupation may be tough, but you should still keep your resume fresh and circulating, and devote a portion of each day to job seeking.
Of course, in light of social distancing, the job search process is changing, so be prepared for the hiring process to look a bit different from what you’ve previously experienced. For example, you’re likely to have to do more phone and video interviews so you can also start preparing and practicing to present your best self in those mediums.
Boost Your Skills
If you find that you have a skill gap or you’d like to move in a different direction, take advantage of this downtime to gain what you need through online learning. There are hundreds of free courses online. You can also take advantage of YouTube.
No matter what your short- and long-term plans are, gaining new skills can help. It will make you a stronger candidate if you’re looking for a role in your previous industry. And, if you’re looking to make a switch and have a background in fields related to those that are in higher demand, you can boost your skills through online learning and may be able to find a new position more quickly than you anticipated.
Though finding yourself un- or underemployed is never easy, it can feel all the more stressful amid a global health crisis. Once you’ve taken a beat to process your new situation, use these tips to help you file for your benefits, assess your skills, and job search—and look forward to finding your footing in a new position.