The COVID-19 pandemic left millions of Americans jobless, and Business Insider’s list of major companies that have announced job cuts suggests another round of layoffs is underway. If you’re feeling stressed about your own job security or unmotivated as you search for a job during the holidays in today’s highly competitive job market, this probably isn’t what you want to hear. However, the good news is that plenty of employment opportunities open up in a wide range of industries toward the end of the year, so it’s important to stay motivated during your job search.
It’s vital that you continue your job search during the holidays. A lot of the people who feel disheartened right now don’t realize that companies have budgets they haven’t spent yet. As the CEO of an industry training platform, I’m encouraging job seekers to become competitive and use their drive to their advantage as the year ends. Many big companies with lots of departments managed to rebound after the initial shock of the pandemic. They’ll be looking to spend their capital on hiring and training.
Holiday hiring is in progress, so now is the time to double down on your job search efforts. If you lost your job or feel uncertain about your current position, there’s no need to panic. You can make your search more manageable by breaking down your to-do list into smaller tasks. Here’s how to stay motivated while job searching throughout the holiday season:
1. Emphasize your transferable skills.
Don’t limit your search to only industries or roles you’re familiar with. Employers are looking for candidates who are adaptable. After all, COVID-19 forced many companies to quickly pivot their processes and offerings. On your résumé and during interviews, highlight transferable skills that will help you add value to an employer with potentially changing business objectives.
Transferable skills typically fall into 1 of 3 categories: systems-oriented, people-oriented or self-oriented. Systems-oriented skills are linked to your expertise in a particular discipline, such as supply chain logistics. Try generalizing and adjusting these skills to fit the position for which you’re applying. For example, a degree in accounting (aka your “financial acumen”) makes you a valuable asset to any company’s finance department. Similarly, list people- and self-oriented skills that apply to the COVID-19 era, such as “virtual task delegation” or “self-motivation.”
2. See chaos as a ladder.
In the midst of every crisis lies great opportunity. When COVID-19 first arrived, relatively new startups in the fintech, e-commerce and software spaces saw success as they solved pandemic-related problems. Even corporate giants like Nike and Ford pivoted their production lines to begin making face masks and ventilators. New processes and equipment have led to a need for new types of roles in the workforce, so be on the lookout for opportunities that might not have existed before.
There’s always opportunity out there—even while searching for job in the holiday season. You just need to remain positive and spin things differently. You have a unique skill set and background, so align how you present your expertise and experiences with each job’s requirements. Show employers how you fit into the new business landscape. You might find yourself in a role that you’d never imagine would fit you perfectly.
3. Focus on digital hiring touchpoints.
In a socially distanced world, virtual interviews have largely replaced in-person ones, and email has become even more important during the initial hiring stage. After each interaction with a recruiter or hiring manager, try to evaluate your communications objectively. How are you coming across on video? How might your words be interpreted via email? By optimizing your communication style for specific channels, you can make the most out of every interaction.
Also, take note of the skills you’ve learned while operating remotely and highlight them if the opportunity arises. Zoom and Gmail aren’t used only for hiring—you’ll likely use them in your job as well. Considering that “nine out of ten organizations will be combining remote and on-site working,” in the future, according to a 2021 McKinsey report, employers will want to know you’re comfortable using digital tools.
4. Never stop your job search, especially during the holidays.
The business landscape is changing fast, and it will continue to shift even in the post-pandemic era. In the past, you’d settle into whatever job you landed in. Now, you don’t have that luxury. You’ll always need to be updating your résumé and scanning your network for opportunities. The average employee changes jobs about every four years, and that transition pace is likely to accelerate in the coming years.
You might end up in a role you love, but you can’t assume your job is secure. If another employer reaches out with an offer and you’re happy where you are, you don’t have to take it. But you should always be looking.
If you’re searching for a job during the holidays, you’re not alone. And if another wave of layoffs is indeed on the way, the job market will become even more competitive. Follow these tips to learn how to stay motivated during your job search. You might hear “You’re hired!” much sooner than you think if you continue your job search during the holidays.
This article was published in December 2020 and has been updated. Photo by GaudiLab/Shutterstock
Isaiah Hankel, founder and CEO of Cheeky Scientist, helps people with Ph.D.s transition into meaningful, high-paying industry careers. Isaiah is also a Ph.D. and an internationally recognized Global 500 consultant.