I catch myself sometimes, in the aisle of the grocery store, in utter amazement. Watching people with such care and attention to their surroundings. Waiting for others to finish grabbing the carton of eggs before reaching in for themselves. Masked up and following the arrows on the floor. Which way do I go now? What do I need to get me through the next few weeks? Carts are piled high with essentials like pasta and flour, canned veggies and meat. And still, for some reason unknown to me, everyone has a package of toilet paper! Occasionally, there is someone who pushes ahead, walks the wrong way down the aisle and is oblivious to their surroundings. They are focused solely on getting that one next thing. I see them frustrated and anxious and as they bop all over the store, filling their cart with whatever’s at hand.

To me, it all looks so surreal. It looks and plays out like some kind of low-budget movie. The apocalypse that slowly brings the entire world to its knees. The first time I caught myself watching people line up for paper products and saw the line-up weave its way through every aisle of the store, it was minutes before I realized I had tears rolling down my cheeks. What has happened to us to bring us here to this moment? Why had everything turned upside down? It was like I was trapped in an episode of “Stranger Things”.

 

 

The Landscape is Changing

 

Over the last few months, I have realized though, how adaptable we are to change. How we can actually make situations we have never encountered before, into something valuable and worthwhile.  We are all still learning to live with this virus and I think the majority respectfully understand we are not the most powerful creatures that inhabit this planet.

If I have learned anything in the last 6 months, it is that I get to choose how I show up in my own movie.

I don’t need to tell you there have been massive changes in the workforce lately. Unemployment numbers jumped by 10% in Canada and the US from January 2020 to April 2020 topping the charts at close to 15%. That’s almost 2 million unemployed in Canada and over 23 million in the US.

With those kinds of numbers being reported, many who are looking for work or looking to change their jobs are now having second thoughts.

But as the world adjusts to a new normal, it is a perfect time to pause and reflect on what it is you want your next move to be. Once you know what that looks like, start your journey. There are things you can do to mitigate the risks and capitalize on the opportunities.

Set It Up for Success

Here are ways for you to start discovering what your next move might look like.

 

Connect to your purpose

This isn’t about your “great-big-purpose”, or it doesn’t have to be. It is about connecting with your “right now” what and your “right now” why.

Ask yourself:

  1. Dig into your “right now” why! Your purpose and connection to your jobs change over time. What are you hoping to get from this next opportunity? What is it that you really want? What am I looking for in this next opportunity? Security? Growth? Flexibility? Control? Benefits?
  2. Find your strengths! There are many free strength finder assessments out there (there are a few links on my website) but the purpose of these assessments isn’t just getting to know yourself, it is about understanding your strengths and the type of environment you thrive in.
  3. Tap into your joy! What is it that you really love about work you have done in the past? Lean into the things that light you up. When you understand what connects you to the things you do, you start to formulate what career would serve you the best in. 

Build your skills

This is a very intentional and purposeful step you can be doing while looking for that next opportunity. Your local library, LinkedIn Learning and many universities and colleges offer free, open-source courses and training. Try out the free stuff before spending money on something you might not like or need.

  1. Upskill or re-skill once you know where you want to be. If there are gaps in your skills, now’s the time to upskill. Upskilling not only improves your knowledge, but it also shows employers your desire for self-knowledge and growth.
  2. Practice your job search skills. Regardless if you are looking for a different job or getting back into the workforce, job searching is constantly changing. How long has it been that you were seriously looking for an opportunity (and not just aimlessly searching the job boards). Start practicing your and perfecting your job search, resume and interviewing skills. It is what makes the difference between finding that next path and staying stuck in the mud.
  3. Learn how to leverage your network. 70% of new opportunities are found through your network connections. That means 70% of your time should be used to work your network. Let people know what you are looking for and leverage LinkedIn to tell people what you are all about.

 

Learn how to communicate

Learn as much as you can about yourself and practice telling people about it. One of the biggest obstacles people have is talking about the value they bring and the impact they make. Many people have a hard time “tooting their own horn” but being able to effectively communicate your value is key to employers quickly understanding that you are the best choice. Being confident and self-aware means you are able to communicate your value, worth and benefit to the new company or organization. At the end of the day, employers have a gap in their workforce and you’re the bridge.

It isn’t impossible to find work right now. It is about intentionally standing up and out amongst the crowd. It is about being focused and knowing what you want. I help people every day learn to lean in and stand out. It starts with focus and a belief in yourself.

 

That’s how I get through my grocery shopping.  I stay focused on what I want; get it without being distracted. And I know that I am doing the very best I can to be respectful to others and to the virus. I know what I want, I know how I want to show up and I know how to get it.

 

With a list and a plan, you do too.

Start Your Career Renovation

Not sure if it’s a coat of paint or a complete remodel? Gain a different perspective before you spend any more time wondering where to start.