It’s the reality for millions right now: globally, employment opportunities have vanished during the pandemic, leaving people trapped in a psychologically and economically challenging cycle of unemployment and hardship. This begs the question: Is there an exit strategy for those of us sitting idle at the moment?
First, let’s recognize that those out there who are out of work deserve our empathy and concern. We have all been there, and we encourage these folks to not give up. Oftentimes, job hunting is a painful process that leads to frustration and a maddening amount of dead ends.
As we all know, hunting for work in today’s world seems that much more daunting because the lockdowns wiped out many industries. Service industry workers have been especially affected by recent events, and these jobs are extremely important to millennial pocketbooks, meaning the pandemic has disproportionately devastated opportunities for young people everywhere.
If you’re looking for a job, the good news is that generous unemployment support can help cushion the dismal economics of being unemployed in the short-term. Take the support from the government to cover your bills for now, and understand that finding and securing a job is your full-time job.
The path to gainful employment isn’t easy, and it is a game that we all are forced to play unless we run our own business. Beyond the basics of updating your resume and getting yourself back out there through virtual networking and casting a wide net, you have to be prepared for rejection, or even worse, total ghosting from nearly every job you apply for online.
I have little explanation as to why potential employers don’t send automatic rejection letters, but somehow this is totally normal these days. Beware of the psychological pitfalls of filling out an application at expecting a response. I get it. It honestly feels rude to take your time, present your resume, write a great cover letter, make it personal, then sit and wait for days, weeks and finally months only to get no response back. I believe the least employers can do is send a rejection letter. As someone on the other side of the coin today, I always make sure to write something back to prospective candidates. It only seems fair and something I hope will change as brands realize the reputational damage they are causing when they ghost potential candidates.
Next, if you are weighing several options, congratulations, but don’t jump too quickly. I spoke with Vicki Salemi, a career expert at Monster, and she told me that you should never accept a position too quickly. I know you may have been unemployed or are just really excited about the possibility of working for a company or person you admire. Still, pause and consider if the position is really for you. Plus, you may be able to negotiate a higher salary! You have to build up your confidence in yourself and your work and ask for more money. Chances are, the employer will expect you to negotiate and will have more money just sitting there waiting for you to take it.
Right now, we’re all in this employment mess together. When it comes to getting back into the world, send out resumes and set up interviews. Just remember to be kind and respectful. We’ve all had a tough year. But, also be kind to yourself. Ask for more money, and look out for red flags as you lay the groundwork for your unemployment exit strategy.
David Grasso is the host of the Follow the Profit Podcast, where he shares simple ideas for financial success and lessons learned the hard way. He is also the CEO of GenBiz, Inc, a non-profit media company dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship and financial freedom.