I read on a major news site today that there’s a football stadium-sized asteroid hurtling towards earth. Upon seeing the headline, I actually rolled my eyes as in, “Good grief, what the %$#@ next…”.

It seems the past 3 months have brought us a level of unrest the world has never seen, at least not in my lifetime. A global pandemic, plummeting markets with talk of another Great Depression, hordes of locusts not seen in 30 years ravaging parts of Asia, and hundreds of thousands of people partaking in daily demonstrations and riots in almost every major US city.

So why is now a great time to look for a new job or change careers?

Concerning corporate America, one thing has become abundantly clear the past few months: how we do business has been changed forever. The fallout from recent events, especially COVID-19, will have a ripple effect that will be felt for years, and probably decades down the road.

However, for the change agents, opportunists, and (calculated) risk takers in today’s business climate, this can spell O-P-P-O-R-T-U-N-I-T-Y.

Here are some reasons as to why NOW is the time to make your move:

1- Some industries have been hit a lot harder than others. The US unemployment rate at the time of this writing stands at 14.7%. This is a figure not seen in my generation. Though most all industries and occupations have been affected to some degree, the reductions in workforce has been disproportionate as some have taken the brunt of the crises. Food service, transportation, hospitality, and oil and gas have all seen the biggest hits. Outside of these industries, hiring may have slowed but it hasn’t stopped. And…

2- Some industries, occupations, and businesses have actually benefited from the global pandemic. Video call technology, work from home (new acronym to learn: WFH) applications, certain retail establishments, logistics, courier pick-up and delivery, healthcare, biotech, fintech, and companies that manufacture sanitary and cleaning supplies along with PPE products have seen a big spike in their business. This creates opportunities for expansion, head count, and jobs–and hiring for you. More revenue means growth and reinvestment which means more jobs. These are the companies and industries to target if you’re thinking about changing careers or jobs.

3- The vast majority of workers who are presently employed are in “play it safe” mode and staying put. This means even if they’re unsatisfied in their current position, they’re staying put for now. But smart companies continue to advertise for and fill mission-critical positions. So even though the actual number of available jobs has fallen the past few months, the number of job seekers who are employed and are actively looking to make a move has almost stopped. This means your competition can be greatly reduced for any open position you apply for—especially if it’s in an industry or with a business that’s benefited from the events of the past few months.

4- Use your A+ LinkedIn game—because most job seekers don’t. Now is the time to become a LinkedIn wizard. Upgrade to a Premium account. I recommend the Business level for $59.99/month. Go month-to-month for now as you can always drop down when you land your new gig. As a 20-year career coach, I can confidently say the average job seeker has average to poor LinkedIn skills. This means opportunity for you. Ensure your profile reads like a professionally-written resume—clear, concise, impactful, and all areas have good content. Use a professional picture (no fish, no Broncos jersey) and no “cute or funny” headlines. You are a business pro and your profile should reflect this. Bolster your connection count with high-quality people. Then, assemble a target list of companies you want to work for whether they’re hiring or not. Because…

5- 80% of all jobs go unadvertised during good economic conditions which means this figure is a lot higher right now. Use your target list of companies and search for the company page on LinkedIn and then sort and filter for your probable hiring manager at that company. Write them a brief, succinct, but impactful InMail asking 10 minutes of their time by phone or Zoom. Your response rate will be 30-35% if your InMails are good. I can provide samples if you’d like to email me at [email protected]. Over the years, we’ve had numerous clients land a new position by this one technique alone. Others have been sent to the head of the line by a hiring manager because of the extra effort, gumption, and persuasiveness the job seeker exhibited by way of their InMail message.

6- Now is the time to finish that degree, get a new degree, or gain some certifications. The higher education model will be forever changed by the COVID-19 pandemic. No one will pay $50,000 to sometimes more than $100,000 a year for tuition—just to take classes online only. I’ve already seen discounts and deals for (mainly) certifications and courses, but expect the cost of getting a degree from a bona fide college or university to drop significantly in the next 12-24 months. In the meantime, to better your chances at landing that next career gig, bolster your skills and knowledge base by taking courses and training online. I plan on enrolling in the University of Denver’s Organizational Development Certificate Program in the fall as I’ve always has an interest in the subject and it will assist me as I work with executive decision makers and clients.

As I read further in the article about the asteroid, I see it will miss earth by about 3 million miles. Whew, we won’t be going the way of the dinosaurs, for now anyway. Make sure you don’t turn into a “career or job dinosaur.” Keep your skills sharp, relevant, and up-to-date and plan your move now to a “Post-COVID-19 Economy” new industry or career.

The workplace and how we do business will be forever changed. Stay on the cutting edge and always see yourself as an ongoing project. You’ll maintain much higher levels of motivation, find more enjoyment and fulfillment in what you do, earn more money, and get promoted faster.

So now as I glance down the page on the same news web site, I see yet another story about another asteroid that will “only” miss earth by 1.8 million miles. Wow, another cosmic close shave. I’d be better read on in case I need to order more zombie apocalypse supplies.

Be safe, well, and mindful.

Don Strankowski | [email protected] | 877-212-3310