If you have recently lost your job, you are probably already thinking about your next career step. You are not alone, as over 30 million Americans have applied for unemployment since the middle of March, according to CNN. With so many people out of work, you may be tempted to wait a few weeks before exploring the job market.
While taking time to think over your next career move is wise, you do not want to wait too long. Taking preemptive steps to prepare for the next employment opportunity can help you secure an interview before others. With so many workers unemployed, the competition for jobs could be fierce in the upcoming months. Get ahead of the game, and be ready to apply for a job if the right opportunity comes along.
Decide on a Field
Do you want to continue in your last field of work, or do you plan to switch career paths? These are questions you want to decide now. If you aren’t sure what the right move is, make a pros and cons list. Consider whether you are willing to work a job that requires nontraditional work hours (such as many healthcare fields). Also determine your minimum acceptable salary, the salary that will help you pay all of your bills while leaving some extra for savings and entertainment.
Look up sample job descriptions of jobs you might be interested in so you have a better understanding of the duties. Brainstorm a list of potential companies and organizations you would like to work for. You can reference this list when scanning job postings.
Revisit Your Resume
Chances are, you have some extra down time these days. Utilize this time to look over your resume and update it to reflect your most recent employment. Do not sell yourself short on your resume but also refrain from “embellishing” details.
Tailor your resume to the specific job that you want. For example, if you are applying for an administrative position, be sure to include details about any software, programs, or apps that you may have used in your previous jobs. Resume length should be limited to one page in most cases but using two pages has become more acceptable in recent years.
Prepare for Interviews (Including Virtual)
Take a look at your closet’s contents. Do you have interview clothes that still fit or are appropriate for the types of jobs that you are applying for? If not, go ahead and order some new clothing online. If a sudden interview opportunity presents itself, you don’t want to be worried about trying to put a rush order on a clothing shipment at the last minute.
Additionally, be prepared for changes to the traditional interview process. Some employers may utilize online interviews in lieu of attending an interview in-person. Make sure you are familiar with the latest versions of programs like Zoom and Skype, and also identify a place in your home you could potentially use as an interview space. For virtual interview tips, view this article on Indeed.
Remember that the hiring process can be tedious, and you can sometimes find yourself going through multiple interviews and waiting several days (or even weeks) before hearing back from a potential employer. Start your search early, and by having all your interview tools in place ahead of time, you will be a step ahead of other applicants.