7 Most Important Things to Do As Unemployment Rises
Australia’s unemployment numbers are going through the roof. So far, nearly a million Aussies have lost their jobs because of the coronavirus shutdown. Melbourne’s second lockdown is likely to cost the government between $10 to $12 billion with the unemployment rate going up to 10 per cent according to Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, recently.
Naturally, everyone is worried about their jobs today. But there are strategies you can take to stay employable in a difficult recession.
Here are seven of the most important things to do as unemployment rises:
1. Work harder and better
One of the most important advice I give my clients now is to show interest in your job. Working from home is challenging and the last thing your boss wants is a difficult or tardy employee.
To make it easier to balance professional with family life, try creating a schedule that you and your family can follow. Have clear guidelines about when you have to dedicate time to work and let other members of the family know. Your boss understands that family disruptions can occur because you are at home, but they still expect you to put in a decent amount of time for your work. You cannot use the family as an excuse for not getting the job done.
Keep your composure. Stay engaged and be productive to recession-proof your job.
2. Set up an emergency fund
If you lose your job unexpectedly, an emergency fund will help. An emergency fund is a savings fund you have set aside for a rainy day. When you are unemployed, you don’t have a steady income in your bank account. The money you have put aside for emergencies will become a lifeline to help you pay your bills and put food on the table for the family.
If you don’t have any savings, now is the best time to prepare a budget so you can put aside some money for rainy days.
When the pandemic is over, don’t be tempted to spend this money on an extravagant holiday or on trivial items you do not need. Leave the money in the bank. You never know when you may need it again.
Do you need help with budgeting? I find this free downloadable template from moneysmart.gov.au quite useful.
3. Take on resume-worthy tasks
In a crisis, employers appreciate staff who are not afraid to step up and take on extra responsibilities beyond their normal job scope. If you want to stay employed, you must start showing how valuable you are to the organisation.
Resume worthy tasks are achievements you have in your current workplace that you can use as bullet-point features in your resume. Take the opportunity now to identify all the tasks you can do that will add value to your organisation. It can be something as simple as coordinating the weekly Zoom meetings or arranging team building activities.
Be smart with your approach. Don’t jump into projects just because you want to impress. Take on roles that you know will deliver results, not tasks that will only show you in a bad light.
4. Show leadership
Instead of looking at working from home as a problem, why not try looking at it as an opportunity to show-off skills that your boss did not know you have. Taking on a leadership role does not mean you have to start bossing others around. It is about the ability to demonstrate teamwork, solve problems, suggest improvements, communicate effectively and show empathy towards your colleagues (and your boss).
5. Build a network
Business networks can help you solve a problem, simplify processes, boost sales and even, find you a job if you need one.
As a career coach, I teach my clients to build positive relationships with a lot of people including people who are not directly related to their field of work but who may be on the peripherals. The more networks you have, the wider your reach. And one day, you may need to use them.
Online platforms are a great way to network. Facebook and Instagram are not used in professional circles. You will be better to stick with a strong LinkedIn profile and some expert Tweets. Beyond these platforms, you can also expand your network by joining webinars and forums with like-minded professionals.
Remote working from home means you have more time to start sending emails to your contacts so create a list of people you want to connect with and start today. You don’t have to discuss professional matters all the time. You can use these networks to create friendships and online interactions that are meaningful to you.
6. Reskill and upskill
Some industries are more adversely affected by the pandemic than others. If you are working in an industry that you know is on the cusp of collapse, now is a good time to consider a career shift.
Changing careers could mean going back to university or TAFE to get qualified. It can also mean learning new skills – particularly the skills that will help you take on new responsibilities in your current job or apply for new positions in the future.
I recently wrote an article on the top 5 skills every manager is looking for in a pandemic. These skills are:
- Creativity and innovation
- Tech savviness
- Time management
How many of these skills do you think you possess? There are numerous online courses you can take to develop in-demand soft skills.
7. Tidy your resume
When was the last time you did a spring clean of your resume? If you cannot remember, now is a good time to start.
When things are going well at work, updating your resume is counterproductive. Now that things are not moving so smoothly, updating your resume is a smart move. The worst thing that can happen to you is to find yourself suddenly without a job and with an outdated resume that will not help you get another job.
As a career coach, I have seen my fair share of badly written resumes. Writing a resume does not come easily to everyone. It is not a list. It is a compelling document that sells your skills, abilities, and potential. It tells the prospective employer that you are the best person for that job. And they can stop looking elsewhere. Not easy right? But not impossible either – if you have the right coaching.
Curious to see what your professional resume could look like? Try our free resume builder here.
Rising unemployment rates are scary. Instead of sitting around waiting for misfortune to strike why not take this time to reinvent your professional self with education and skills training? If you are lucky enough to keep your job and the economy recovers, you will find yourself with new knowledge and skills that you can use to find a new job or gain a promotion.