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Job Hunting during the Covid-19 Pandemic? Part 1

Head of digital content at Investec, Tim Spira quoted leading labour expert Andrew Levy saying: “The State President switched off the economy with a flick of a switch. But it can’t start again the same way. It’s going to be a long, slow, staggered process”, in an *online article published 15 April 2020.

In these uncertain times both the job seekers as well as employers face new challenges. Around the world current job markets are shifting due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Some people are experiencing layoffs or retrenchments and several companies are using the remote work approach all in an effort to stop the spreading of the coronavirus.

This is the first part of a series of 3 articles where we will discuss 3 things:

  1. How to secure your job better during this Pandemic
  2. How to find a new job through this time
  3. The 6 top soft skills employers look for during Covid-19

Many people who have to look for a job now, quit before their job search has even begun. They think that it is a waste of time because of business closures, job losses and downsizing, the unemployment rate skyrocketing and the crash of the SA Economy. Although the future is uncertain, there is a saying “where there is a will there is a way”. Therefore, the one thing that remains constant and best explained by Tony Robbins is: “Expect change. Analyze the landscape. Take the opportunities. Stop being the chess piece; become the player. It’s your move.”

Part 1: How to Secure your Job Better During this Pandemic

We will have to learn to live with Covid-19. Whichever way we look at the business world and the global economy, this pandemic already changed our lives and will contribute to the unemployment rates.

Whilst physical offices and business premises are closed or slowly reopening during the levels of lockdown, it does not mean that there is no work being done ‘backstage’. Many employees were able to work remotely and many had creative ways in applying technology to assist them to combat the challenges that came with doing business during lockdown. However, the harsh reality is that there might be downsizing on the horizon. Businesses might only feel the tremor only months after reopening. Industries are being reshaped. Some companies that will survive will realise that various approaches for future business efforts and methods of employment will be necessary.

No one’s job is guaranteed and that was actually never the case. As Covid-19 proved, every single person’s work-life can literally change in an instant. However, don’t give up just yet. Fight till the end. Here is what you as an employee can do to try and keep your job during these times:

  • Be able to adapt to change – Be open-minded when it comes to change. Show management your willingness to be flexible, and that you can easily accept and adjust to changes.
  • Be patient and empathetic – this is a ‘new normal’ for everyone. “Uncharted waters” mean that no one really knows what to expect. Have patience with your management and show your empathy with what they have to deal with during this time.
  • Remain positive and optimistic – managers want team members who will inspire and motivate their co-workers. It is hard, make no mistake. Roller coaster rides do have their ups and downs, but negativity is contagious and this is the last thing management needs now.
  • Show leadership skills – in a time of adversity, leaders need to stand up and show up. Show management you are ready for any challenge. Demonstrate leadership qualities like trust, emotional intelligence, authenticity, open-mindedness, controlling of chaos, helping others adapt to change, communicate effectively, practice active listening, and resilience.
  • Sustain your productivity – enhance your performance level and give continuous feedback throughout the work that is being done in reaching your objectives. Don’t lose focus just because you work remotely. Work even harder and you will impress management. They will also trust and respect you for it.
  • Manage your mental health and stress – whether you are back at the office or still working remotely, management needs to see that you can cope. Manage your mental health, personal wellness and stress levels. Management needs calm and level-headed employees, especially now.
  • Never stop developing your skills – upskill yourself in critical soft skills. Management wants eager-to-learn employees who are not afraid to learn new skills. It shows your dedication and ambition.

Companies throughout South Africa are trying to cope with, and minimalize the massive financial impact this virus made on businesses and the South African Economy. Although they might do their utmost best to secure jobs, if you are forced to join the job-hunting process at this stage, make sure you read our second article “Part 2: How to find a new job through this time” which will be published during the coming week.