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Career Change During COVID

If you’ve found yourself out of work because of COVID, you are likely searching for something new. You may be doing some soul searching. You want to figure out what you should have been, or what you’d like to be in the future. You may even wonder if you’re living in the right city.

I’m an advocate for major career change. Switching industries, job function, and city can open up so many new possibilities. It can lead you to a better career, potentially more fulfillment, and sometimes, more money. Although the process is scary, it can be worth the effort.

Pre-COVID, I would have advised you to be daring. Take risks. Search for your perfect career and perfect city. Argue your case for more money. It may take time and be a little painful, but it will be worth it. Today, my feelings have evolved with the times.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated the May unemployment rate to be over 13 percent. And, some estimate this number is low.

What this means is that you need to take your risk tolerance into perspective when you decide what you want to do next. As a general rule of thumb, the more things you are changing in your career, the longer your job search will take.

Think of it this way, if switching everything about your career would mean an investment of one year, are you prepared to wait that long? Are you someone who has saved an emergency fund for just such a time?

If not, consider making fewer changes at one time. For example, keep the same kind of job, but look in a new city. Or, change industries in your existing city – while keeping the same job function. Or, switch job functions within your industry and your current city.

Taking your career change in steps can help you to mitigate risk, and it should shorten the time it will take you to get to the next job. This can be especially helpful during a time when hiring has slowed, and available job candidates have increased.

If you’re feeling especially strapped for cash, or your stress level is very high, you may want to consider looking for something similar to what you did before – near where you currently live. It will give you an opportunity to stabilize and you can go from there.

Remember, no job has to be permanent. If you don’t like it or if it’s not quite what you wanted, you can start looking again soon. But, stabilize yourself first. The more time that goes by, the harder looking for a job can be emotionally — and employers will have more questions about why you’re out of work. And, if you’re in a pinch financially that burden will only grow with time.

Don’t get me wrong. Career fulfillment is important. But, so is having stability during this unprecedented time.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

Better Times Are Ahead

A friend said something to me this weekend that took me by surprise. They said, “Better times are ahead of us.” What took me by surprise was less the statement than my own reaction to it. In the moment that it was said, I had a realization as to just how tough the last few months have been – on everyone.

Can you believe it’s been more than three months since the lock down started? It’s been three months since things felt “normal.” The pandemic, although maybe obvious to some, seemed to come out of nowhere in mid-March. Suddenly, everything in our lives was very different. Travel plans were put on hold. Learning was no longer an in person school activity. And, if you were one of the lucky ones, you were working from home.

Now, the end is very unclear. States are beginning to reopen. But, the news is mixed on whether or not this is a good idea. No matter what your opinion is, chances are this time hasn’t been easy.

Some people have lost their jobs and are barely hanging on. Others have experienced significant life events, such as weddings or funerals or birthdays, while socially distanced. Many are either locked in a home with too many loved ones or too few. No matter how you slice it, it has not been easy.

On top of everything else, the job market isn’t great. Whether you’re out of work or stuck in a job you hate, this is not the best time to be looking. It’s especially difficult when you compare today’s market with the great job market of 2019.

But, if I can reflect again on the words “better times are ahead,” now is the time to prepare for those better times. Eventually, things will go back to normal. Eventually, companies will hire again. Some companies are even hiring now.

If you haven’t done it, update your LinkedIn profile. (Yes, people really do use LinkedIn for hiring.) Update your resume. I know it’s hard, but your resume is an important part of landing your next job. And, start networking. With so many people stuck at home, you’d be surprised at how easy it is to get time on someone’s calendar. Instead of an in person coffee, have a virtual coffee over Zoom or on the phone.

Above all, keep applying. Don’t assume that just because the job market is bad, you’re doomed. That’s not necessarily the case. Don’t get me wrong. Getting a job won’t be easy. But, if you don’t try, you definitely won’t find one. I have personally seen companies that are still hiring and onboarding new employees virtually during this unusual time. It is happening. So, if you’re looking for a new job, keep trying. At the very least, you’ll be completely prepared when new jobs start to come available. You’ll be ready for the better times that are ahead.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

How much do you make?

One of the hardest parts of the job interview process comes in the form of a very simple question: “How much do you make?” The question typically comes up in the first screening call with the human resources recruiter. It is also asked on the online job application.

The problem is, answering the question “how much do you make” or “how much do you want to make” can put you at a disadvantage as a job seeker. Sites like Glassdoor have shown us that there are a huge range of salaries offered for roles. Salaries aren’t standardized across industries or even within companies.

If you answer this question off by almost any amount at all, you can be (and often are) eliminated from consideration. In other words, the company has a pay range in mind. If you don’t correctly guess a number in that range, you’re out. If you’re too low, they may consider you to be underqualified, and too high, they’ll assume you’d say no to an offer. If you’re inside of the range, but on the low end, you will be paid on the low end in the future.

If you ask a recruiter why they need to know this information, they’ll tell you they just want to learn if you’re in their budget. But, we aren’t products to be bought and sold. We’re humans. The company knows the value of the role. They ought to share their number, and allow the job seeker to determine if it’s a fit.

The good news is, the laws around salary are evolving. In a number of states and cities, companies can no longer ask for salary history. In California, if you’re in a job interview and you ask for the pay range, the employer must share it with you.

Beginning in October, Maryland is going to join this trend. The legislature has passed HB123 that keeps employers from asking for your pay history – verbally, in writing, or by any other means. In addition, if the job applicant requests the pay range for the job, the employer must provide it.

This is a huge step in the right direction. Long term however, what I’d like to see is the pay range posted for every job. It shouldn’t be a secret game that you need to know the rules of. Plus, as a job applicant, asking for this information can leave a negative taste in the company’s mouth.

On top of that, I’ve found many companies aren’t aware of the rules. Even in states where the laws are very clear, the company will ask these questions. That puts the job seeker in a very awkward position.

If you’re currently looking for a job, research the rules in your area. No matter what they are, check out the salary data for the company on Glassdoor, Indeed, and LinkedIn. This will help you to be prepared for anything.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

Job Search in a Pandemic

Thinking back to last year, we were all considering that the great job market might slow down at some point. But, who could have imagined the screeching halt of the economy would have come in the form of a global pandemic. If you’ve lost your job through all of this, my heart goes out to you. You may wonder when in the world you’ll be able to look for jobs again. When will companies be hiring?

There’s good news and bad news. The bad news is, many companies have put hiring on hold until things settle down with the pandemic. However, the good news is that many companies are still hiring.

I have personally seen companies that are continuing to interview and hire candidates in the last few weeks. This is especially true for two categories: essential workers, and companies that are able to fully work from home. These are two very different ends of the spectrum, but they both present opportunity.

In a COVID-19 update, LinkedIn has shared that the current top ten most in demand jobs in the United States include store associate, system operator, certified public accountant, healthcare specialist, construction worker, warehouse manager, psychologist, vehicle mechanic, academic advisor, and delivery driver. The top ten companies with the most open jobs in the U.S. are 7-Eleven, Army National Guard, KPMG, Amazon, Genentech, Lowe’s, HCA Healthcare, Intuit, Whole Foods, and Sherman Williams.

If you need to look for a new job, try to keep going. Don’t stop. There are two places to focus on first: your resume and your LinkedIn profile. Update your resume to include your current work experience, your past work experience, your skills and strengths, and computer software that you know. Update your LinkedIn with similar information, but be sure to include a photo. You want to show employers that you’re a real person! And, if you can, get former colleagues to leave reviews for you on LinkedIn about your work.

Once you have these pieces together, it’s time to apply! One of my favorite sites to look for job postings on is LinkedIn. You can sort them by when they were posted, including as recently as the last 24 hours. That will give you a good idea of what is really open. When you apply, apply online. Then, try to look up the hiring manager on LinkedIn, and send them a note too. It can often help to put you ahead of the line.

And, you would be surprised. Despite everything, companies are interviewing candidates by phone, Zoom, and Skype. Companies are also giving job offers remotely these days. And, they’re onboarding new employees from home.

Not every company is hiring, but you may surprised at how many are. Companies have goals too, and they’re preparing to move full steam ahead once the pandemic is behind us. Now is the time to get started so you’ll be ready when the dust settles.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

Military Transitions

One question I hear often from readers is about military transitions. Many members of the military devote the first twenty years of their career to the US Military. Around age forty, they’ll retire and start entirely new careers in the civilian world. I receive questions about how to successfully make this change.

The number one thing I see that trips up people transitioning is this. They don’t realize just how hard it is. And, neither do those around them. The military will often help people who are transitioning by offering a class about how to get a job. Many of the people I’ve met who have attended this class assume that the transition will be quick, painless, and easy. They also assume that they will be compensated the same or more than they were in the military.

To make matters more complex, their loved ones also believe the transition should be easy. Unfortunately, this is a problem not just with military folks, but with anyone looking for a job. Your family can never understand what’s taking you so long. This can leave the job seeker feeling lonely and deflated, as if they’re the only one who has ever had to work this hard to find a job.

If we can agree that job searching is hard, then what? The people I’ve seen with the smoothest transitions have done three things well. First, they’ve started early. They didn’t wait until they were out of the military to begin looking for something new. Second, they put their fears and limitations on hold. In other words, they were willing to step out of their comfort zones to explore jobs they may not have considered. And, third, they kept their personal expenses low. In the civilian world, a paycheck is not a guarantee. Especially in the beginning, if you can keep your costs down, it will be less stressful if your search takes time.

Beyond that, listen to yourself. When you are job searching, you’d be surprised at how many people come out of the woodwork with advice. Your great uncle Bob who you barely know will suddenly have an opinion on what you should be doing with your life. If you’ve spent your entire career in one field, this guidance can feel good. But, don’t fall into the trap. Great uncle Bob probably has no real experience in the work he’s advising you on.

Start early. Form a support group. Reach out to people who have been through this transition before. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people you don’t know through networking site, LinkedIn. And, be on the lookout for companies that specifically recruit transitioning members of the military.

Last, but not least, be patient with yourself. You’re starting an entirely new career. This is hard for anyone – military or civilian. It takes time. It’s going to be hard. But, in the end, it’s worth it.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

The Last Straw

When is the best time to leave your job? Have you ever wondered when you should look? Most people wait until things are painful. Change is hard. It hurts. So many people wait until the daily pain at work outweighs the pain of change.

Here’s the problem with this idea. When you wait until the pain is too much, you’re letting someone else control your outcome. You’re waiting for the very last straw. You’re waiting for the last thing to go wrong. You’re allowing external factors to drive an internal decision. You’re allowing someone else to decide when you should leave.

And, on top of that – if you wait until you’re at the last straw, your entire outlook changes. You’ll be running away from the things you hate rather than toward the things you love. You’ll be impatient. You may be stressed in interviews. You might be willing to take less money or less vacation. If you’re not careful, you may even share your work sob story with your future hiring manager or future colleagues.

If you wait until things are bad, you may also risk being laid off or even worse, fired. As attractive as some company buy out packages may be, the stress of looking for work when you don’t have a job is much higher than when you do. Just recovering from a layoff takes time.

So, when should you look for something new? I’d argue that you should always keep your eyes open. In today’s job market, you cannot assume your job is secure.

But, the topic of when to leave makes me think of a friend — and social parties. Years ago, a friend shared to me that she likes to leave a party while things are still fun. Most people wait to leave until the very end. They wait until it’s winding down. But, by then, guests have potentially had too much to drink. It’s later than you might like. And, the party has typically gone downhill in some way. But, if you leave on a high note, you have a wonderful time with no bad memories of the party’s aftermath.

The same applies at work. Leave while you still have a positive relationship with your colleagues and your boss. Leave after you’ve done a great job on a project. Don’t wait until things are spiraling down. Don’t wait for the last straw.

Looking while things are good also allows you to find a job that you want. You’re not desperate. You need to be paid fairly. You have requirements around benefits, such as vacation. You may want a job that’s considered a promotion. Perhaps you want to work in a new part of the business.

When you aren’t at the final straw, you can take your time. You can evaluate options carefully to find something that’s the right fit long term – not just the right fit right now.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach