These are uncertain times. Many companies have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic — some have even gone out of business. Certain industries have been devastated. Unemployment is at its highest since the Great Depression. Economists believe there will be a recovery, but no one knows what that will look like or how long it will take. You may feel lucky to have a job, but what if you’re not quite happy with it? So if a recruiter has contacted you about an opportunity, do you listen? Is it wise to make a move during such an uncertain time?
Absolutely! There are many factors in this market that tell me that now could be a good time to take stock of your current job/employer and consider a move.
First, the competition (or lack thereof).
According to a recent Harris Poll survey of nearly 1,000 employed Americans, roughly 78% said they would not consider a job change during the COVID-19 pandemic. With so many people sitting out, your resume can shine through. But, what about all of the people out of work? Experience has shown that even though a job posting may receive a large number of applications, the number of candidates that actually match the requirements is still very low.
Second, most people have more time and freedom in their schedules.
During this pandemic, more people than ever are working from home. Because of this, it’s easier to network with others or even take a call from that recruiter who has been chasing you. Overall, many people find this new way of working more conducive to taking time to assess where they are and where they want to go in their career.
Lesson: Now is a great time to take a shot at that dream job.
More people than ever feel disconnected. All of those video calls with colleagues are fun, but are not the best way to connect. In general, people want to hear how other people, other companies, and other industries are making it through this time. People want to connect at this time and are much more likely to accept a LinkedIn connect request or offer to hop on a call. Because so many people are at home during the pandemic, they can take the time to pick up the phone, talk with someone and offer advice.
Lesson: It’s actually a good time to network so take advantage of it.
Talk to a Recruiter
Hearing out opportunities allows you to assess what companies are looking for. By doing this, you are able to gain insight into the market and your value in it. How do your skills and salary expectations match up? You may find out you are being underpaid; that your advancement opportunities are being held back by the lack of a specific skill set you can’t obtain while working for your current employer; or that there are companies out there who offer a better work life balance, benefits, or flexibility. You may find that there is more value for you at another company. What do you have to lose by talking? Nothing!
Lesson: By talking to a recruiter, you only have context and valuable insight to gain.
Determine Your Goals and Your Value
It’s also a good time to take stock of your career direction and your value in the “new” workplace. With less travel and fewer coworkers and managers looking over your shoulder during the pandemic, it’s a great time to think about where you are and, importantly, where you want to be.
In this unique environment, there are different skill sets that seem more important. There are different priorities in people’s lives. There are different industries and employers that seem more desirable. This is an interesting moment, and it seems that so many I speak with are reevaluating what’s important. People are getting a new perspective—maybe a new take on their own goals and their value—and it’s causing them to reevaluate their career direction.
Lesson: Even if unemployment numbers remain high, this seems to be a time when many people are actively reevaluating their current job.
You have networked, talked to a recruiter, and determined your new goals. Now you are seriously thinking of making that change. How do you know if this is the right opportunity?
Ask questions! Here are a few key factors to consider:
- What does this job/company have to offer that my current job does not give me?
- How has the company fared from February through now?
- How has the role been done before now? Did someone leave? Is this a new role?
- What are the projections for the remainder of the year? Next year?
- Is there a career path? Establish the possibilities for growth and advancement.
- How will the company onboard and work while the pandemic is still present? Will this affect your ability to have success?
The bottom line: Do your due diligence!
Now is not the time to hunker down and play it safe. This is a time when interesting opportunities might knock at the door. A time when some people are open to new connections and career directions—and have the time to explore them. Use these unique circumstances to your advantage. My advice, don’t get left behind. Use this time to listen. And, if the opportunity is something you are interested in pursuing, make sure you ask the right questions.
About the Author
Pam Clawson has worked as a recruiter in the San Francisco Bay Area and Utah. Pam loves connecting with people and developing long lasting relationships. Through her extensive network, she finds the best talent for Accounting and Finance, HR, Marketing, and Executive level positions. Pam has gained respect from peers and clients by always bringing a friendly, professional attitude to each engagement.