How to Navigate the Job Market during COVID-19

Key takeaways:

  • Maintain a positive frame of mind
  • Sharpen your skill set
  • Expand your network

One of the things that we all seem to be reminded of on a daily basis is the number of people who, suddenly and through no fault of their own, find themselves out of a job due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. 

Every night on the national news, we are regaled with more numbers as to the total amount of new unemployment claims filed in the past month, the number of businesses temporarily (we hope) that have closed down and the potential long-term impact on the economy.  It makes no difference whether you are a white- or blue-collar worker, a middle manager or C-level executive.  Pretty much the entire work force has been impacted. 

I have heard and read about people sending out hundreds of resumes without having received any responses whatsoever.  So, with the current opportunities being at a temporary all-time low, and the current list of applicants being at an all-time high, how does one best approach this situation?

If you find yourself in this temporary dilemma, there are a few things that will have a profound impact on your success in rectifying the situation. First,  keep your mental frame of mind in a good and positive place, the second is that you keep your skill set as sharp and as professional as possible and the third is that you continue to tap into and expand your personal network. There is a relatively easy way to ensure that you do all three that is almost universally overlooked by people in this situation.

While there are many avenues by which to accomplish these three mission critical items, I can’t think of any better way to achieve all three of them then to volunteer your services to a nonprofit group of your choosing.  Here in the greater Northeast Ohio area alone, we have the Youngstown Business Incubator, the Akron Bounce Innovation Hub and JumpStart Cleveland just to name a few.  While each of these 501(C)(3) organizations are all business oriented and focus on helping early stage startups, any non-profit will serve your purpose. 

Look at it this way: Just about all 501(C)(3) groups have all of the same business challenges a for-profit companies. They have to expand and grow their mission, they have to have effective marketing and outreach campaigns, and they need to be successful with fundraising programs, etc. 

Here’s a simple formula to remember: The best way to keep your current skill set as sharp as possible is to use it!  Find a non-profit that you believe in, have some passion for and get involved by offering your services. 

By being actively involved in a non-profit of your choice, you will ensure the following:

You will maintain a very positive attitude because you will remain productive by applying your skill set to a cause you believe in. Being productive is the best way to keep yourself in positive frame of mind. It can also be helpful to review your own resume to remind yourself of all of your accomplishments and just how good you really are!

You will keep your skill set sharp as you will be applying it on a daily basis to help achieve the organizational goals. The adage of “use it or lose it” applies to all skill sets.  You should also offer to help in areas new to you.  Don’t have any marketing experience? Offer to help the marketing team and pick up a new skill set along the way. 

By finding and working with a non-profit while you navigate through the minefield of finding a new job, you will be expanding your personal and professional network. We all know that most jobs, especially in the environment we find ourselves in, tend to come through contacts. The more contacts you have, the better.

Once last question for you: Which of the following candidates do you think will get the job?

Interviewer: So, tell me what have you been doing since your last position?

Candidate A: “I have been sending out resumes every day, I have been actively searching for opportunities on Indeed and LinkedIn, and I have reached out to people in my network.”


Candidate B:  “In addition to sending out resumes and searching for opportunities on Indeed and LinkedIn, I have been contributing my time and expertise to helping the XYZ nonprofit as chairman of the sponsor committee.  In this role, our team has created and identified a more effective marketing strategy, we have fully implemented it and have increased donations to the program by 35 percent in our first six months.”

Think about it…

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