Careers and Coronavirus!
There is absolutely no doubt! These are unique and unprecedented times.
Much like many other historical events, such as the death of Princess Diana and 911, this will go down in history as one of those experiences in life where you will always remember where you were living, working, studying or travelling when this all went down. You will never forget the significant people in your life and the changes and sacrifices you had to make to get through it.
This situation is going to have a significant impact on all our lives, and the biggest impact will be financial.
Small businesses are likely to suffer the brunt of this, with fewer resources and minimal cash flow, they will struggle to survive. That is quite a disheartening fact when small businesses are the primary drivers of our economy. Did you know that over 90% of all Australian companies are small businesses? Small businesses account for billions of dollars circulating throughout our economy. There will be a significant reduction in demand for services for those businesses offering non-essential products and services and a massive rise in unemployment. Many companies will close their doors permanently.
How did this situation come to be? Are we overreacting or underacting? Is it really that serious? I don’t know the answers to some of these questions. I don’t want to get caught up in political debates. It’s not the time! Irrespective of the answers to these questions, this past month has shown us the impact an event sprouted by the media, can have on our lives.
It was sudden and without warning, and many of us had little time to prepare our homes, our finances, our work situations and take measures to protect our children and loved ones.
Without warning travel plans have been cancelled, major events (both private and public) have been canned, people's livelihoods are under threat, superannuation funds have crashed, and the mere fact that we cannot socialise the good-old-fashioned Aussie way is having a considerable impact on the way we live and do business.
So, what does this mean for you and your career?
What does this mean for us as a small business operator?
What does it mean for your employer and your financial security?
Here are some handy tips for you, on how this situation can be turned into a positive. And accompanying those suggestions, we will give you some insight on how our business can help and support you through this crisis:
Is now the time to job hunt? Absolutely! Yes, granted that face-to-face interviews may be challenging, but most businesses will put alternatives into place such as telephone and Skype interviews. Given the rising panic, I think it’s safe to say most people have dropped the ball on their job hunt, meaning you could have an advantage with fewer candidates to compete against. Even IF an employer puts recruiting on hold, you can bet that once this all dies down, they will be back on their game and advertising again. Wouldn’t it be great if they just happened to have your super-amazing resume on file before they publish their job ad? You might save them the trouble and move straight to the top of the list.
Will this situation create new job opportunities? Long term? I am not so sure. But short term, it already appears these opportunities are arising. There will be some industries which ramp up their recruitment drive in response to the crisis. Take Coles for example! They have advertised, calling for help to restock their shelves amid the panic buying. The response has been incredible, with over 36,000 applications for 5,000 jobs. There may also be a need to provide essential services to those in self isolation such as home deliveries. Yes, these are short term opportunities, but cash flow opportunities none-the-less. We need to get creative!
Should you put your studies on hold? No way! Classes might be cancelled; however, your training institute would have had their discussions and implemented alternatives. You can join online tutorials, submit assignments via email and discuss issues via phone. If you are not able to attend your workplace, you can also take advantage of this extra time to knuckle down and study. We just need a good internet connection. Let's hope most of us have this available!
What happens if I lose my job? Sadly, this may happen. Some industries where job security was once never questioned, are now facing the vast unknown. If you or someone you love has experienced a job loss, or feel this situation is likely to occur, we can offer support. We recommend seeking emotional support and financial assistance, such as career and financial counselling. Looking after your mental health is imperative. Organise your career documentation now, before things become too overwhelming. Rewrite your resume and cover letter to ensure it is industry-specific and formatted to suit the position you are targeting. Putting things into place, such as a competitive resume and cover letter and putting yourself out there as soon as possible is also critical in ensuring you keep moving forward. By the way, before any major financial decisions are made – such as withdrawing from your super or cashing in your shares, please seek financial advice!
How do I manage if my employer reduces my hours? If you are employed by a small business operator, you may find your hours are reduced, and this can have a devastating effect on the family budget. But believe me, most small business owners don’t want to let their staff go. We will need you when things get better. Chat to your boss and negotiate hours and wages. Something is better than nothing. Perhaps you need to find alternative employment. If you have a good relationship with your employer, you may be able to discuss this and find a happy medium. Asks for support or see if your employer can fund some career support to help you get back on your feet such as resume writing, career counselling and interview coaching. Don’t forget to offer your employer support if you can. It’s a two-way street. Small businesses work hard to provide employment opportunities and do so on a shoestring budget.
What happens if I remain unemployed for a significant period? Plan for the worst, but please stay positive and hope for the best. On average it takes around 12 weeks to find a new job. That is from the time you are fully committed to submitting job applications, attending interviews, following up and finally receive a job offer. It takes time, and it can be a daunting process. If you know your time frame for your worst-case scenario, you may need to find an alternative income source while you search for your preferred job. When writing your resume and filling in the gap, we can support you on how to best frame this period in your career trajectory. Looking into the future most employers will understand if you were made redundant as a result of this health crisis, but filling the gap is important. It demonstrates perseverance and adaptability.
What are we doing to support our clients? Firstly, we have heightened our hygiene procedures, thoroughly cleaning our office. We have also given our staff the option of working from home. For the first time, we have ceased all face-to-face consultations. We are offering Skype and telephone interviews to ensure our service delivery continues. We are working hard to minimise the impact this crisis has on our clients, particularly during this time when careers are impacted, and our support services are needed the most. Secondly, we continue to provide career development support services and are doing so remotely wherever possible. Some services where we can support you include Resume Writing, Cover Letters, Career Counselling, Interview Coaching and addressing Government Selection Criteria.
Please look after yourself and take care of your family and friends.
Thank you for your continued support of our small business.