By Wanda “Sistah Soldier” Petty, President & CEO
The Department of Labor recently announced that unemployment experienced a 27 percent increase during April, which means over 26 million Americans filed claims. Americans are still trying to figure out how to maneuver through the difficult times of unforeseen circumstances. Even though 44 states have begun reopening without having a safety plan for workers, most employees had to make decisions that can mean risking their health or income. It’s not the picture anyone could have expected our economy to face.
Small businesses are still trying to stay afloat and having to adjust with less staff. For those that received the SBA grant opportunity, the stipulations were so high that one employer described it as a grant that could become a loan if their establishment couldn’t meet requirements or standards.
Besides, businesses are required to minimize the amount of staff and patrons inside their establishment based on their square footage, which means serving as little as four people at one time in one location using the six-foot distance rule.
Restaurants need fewer servers because there’s a reduced capacity for dining-in tables. So, I’m sure you can see how one reduction causes a trickle-down effect, and the list goes on. Our economy, as we knew it will not be the same. So, jobs and their availability will shift along with the reduction. But wait, there’s still a chance for opportunity.
What should employees do while waiting to return to work, and is there a guarantee that they’ll return to a job?
Since employers are now faced with millions of applicants possibly applying for the same job during the same period, candidates should have a strategic plan of action when approaching the job search to stand-out, such as, revising their resume to include updates listing any training, volunteer work, or certifications acquired during the last three months.
Be generous and list as many tasks as you’ve learned while being on unpaid leave, or working remotely. Nothing is too shallow or grand, considering it’s something that will help you relate to the position for which you are applying.
Think outside the box and research the search engine for terms that describe the subject in the best professional way possible. Create various versions of your resume. Instead of having only a one-pager, produce a two-and- or three-pager just in case an employer asks for more information during the initial process. It’s better to be prepared than having to return to the drawing board.
Understandably, your financial status has changed. However, it’s advisable to find free or affordable courses available online such as the She Virtual Academy (currently offering a strategic planning course for all registrants to understand the necessary strategic thinking).
It would help if you also looked for training designed to help expand your knowledge base and obtain certification. In any case, you should consider any way possible to ensure you have new recommendations, or training to add on your updated resume. You’re displaying resilience by showing your productivity during one of the most difficult periods Americans have faced in the last 90 years.
Employees should prepare for the unexpected.
If you’re unsure when your job may call you to return, actively consider what steps are available for you to enhance your skills. Attend free webinars. Utilize as many free training sessions as possible offered by significant software corporations to help you continuously develop your professional qualifications (e.g. Zoom training) to help you understand how to incorporate computer skills with your current abilities. Trust me, you will need them in the new workforce, and it’s a requirement if you want to become competitive in the marketplace.
Although complimentary webinars are well worth attending, it’s advisable to invest in some form of certification training. Since we’re now moving into a remote work economy, it’s imperative for you to understand what’s required for you to remain employable.
If you’re a business owner, it’s even more vital to know how to utilize technology to keep your business afloat. Be sure to read next week’s article when I’ll share creative ways to generate revenue for your business until you can create a revised plan of operation.
In the meantime, stay positive and know that everything is working for you and not against you
Sistah Soldier is an inspirational leader who helps veterans, women, and minorities step into the call of God for their lives using their creative skills. She’s the CEO, Host, and Executive Producer of SHE VET iNSPIRES Television Show and the Executive Recruiter for SHE MediaTech.™