Since the start of the pandemic, over 44 million Americans have been out of work. Now that states are opening back up again, there may be new jobs out there for the taking. MSNBC anchor and NBC News senior business correspondent Stephanie Ruhle, recently laid out five ways to get ahead while looking for new opportunities.
1. Highlight your soft skills
Put aside a few hours to spruce up your resume. If your industry is heavily impacted by coronavirus closures, think about how your skills might transfer across different sectors. It is especially important with soft skills like relationship and time management, prioritizing and teamwork; make sure to highlight them on your resume. “Demand hasn’t disappeared, it’s re-shifting. […] Think about your skills, think about the new businesses, the new needs because of corona, and try to pair the two,” Ruhle says.
2. Learn something new
Brush up on some new professional skills. There are lots of free ways to learn online. If you have the time and ability, use tools like LinkedIn Learning, Coursera or even YouTube videos to expand your knowledge. In times like these, it’s easy to feel like your situation is out of control, Ruhle explains. In addition to helping you learn something new, “getting yourself on a schedule, with a program, helps you regain that control,” the anchor says.
3. Consider your short-term and long-term career goals
Ask yourself this question: Do you need to put food on the table right now or are you trying to take a step forward in your career?
If you need to earn money right away, that might mean working for a company that is deemed essential, like grocery, pharmacy and big box stores. If you can’t take on that risk, try looking for remote work. Many different industries are still hiring and many are now accepting remote workers. Ruhle also suggests doing freelance work to stay afloat.
For the long term, look at where you can start targeting potential opportunities, even if those companies may not be hiring.
“If there’s a company you know you’d love to work for one day, see what they’re hiring for immediately and maybe take that short-term position,” says Ruhle.
4. Don't forget to network
“Network more than ever,” Ruhle stresses. If you have a little bit of time on your hands, reach out to the people you've been meaning to contact. Now, you can grab that coffee to pick someone’s brain without even leaving your couch: “People are looking at their phones a lot more, people are answering calls, they want to help, so reach out.”
Ruhle also points out that you’re not alone in your search and there are people out there looking to lend a helping hand, so don’t be afraid to talk about it. “If you need help, ask for it. If you can give help, give it,” she says.
5. Keep your head in the game, and be kind to yourself
Stay persistent and be patient. “Everything is taking longer, everything is a process, it’s not you, it’s the time we live in,” Ruhle says. There’s a lot of uncertainty out there right now, and you are doing the best that you can. Keep up the good work.