By mid-May, the coronavirus pandemic had created a devastating 36 million jobless claims. While many of those previously receiving benefits have since resumed work at their former places of employment, there are many who have been left out in the cold with little hope of finding employment in the near future — especially if they’re struggling with their mental health.
Keeping a Level Head in the Job Hunt
It’s currently estimated that a staggering 17.6 million of those who were displaced from work by the COVID-19 crisis will ultimately never return to their pre-pandemic jobs.
If you find yourself in the ranks of the unemployed even as the country strives to phase in reopening efforts, you may be feeling the need to panic. The urge may be particularly exacerbated if you already struggle with a mental health concern like stress, anxiety, or depression.
The good news is, you don’t need to stress out about your lack of employment — not yet. There’s still plenty of time to overcome those qualms, collect your wits, and dominate the job market.
So, relax that grip on your chair, stop clenching your teeth, take a deep breath, and follow these tips to help you calm down, gather your thoughts, and ultimately land the best job you can find.
Nearly 45% of American adults have admitted that their mental health has suffered due to the coronavirus pandemic and the unfolding catastrophe that it has created. This isn’t surprising, but it also shouldn’t be treated as an inevitable state of mind, either.
Remember that stress isn’t bad, it’s normal. Rather than trying to eliminate it, it’s important that you find ways to cope and at times even accept it (more on coping mechanisms further down.)
It’s wise to start this shift in perspective, thoughts, and overall mood by accepting the fact that we’re now living in a new normal. Instead of simply looking for the same kind of employment that you had in the past, make an attempt to look for jobs that are “COVID-proof” — i.e. work that is considered essential and allows for remote work situations in the event of future shutdowns.
Take Your Mind Into Consideration
If you’re feeling genuinely dragged down by your mental state, it’s important to take that into consideration in the context of your job hunt. For instance, if you’re struggling with stress, anxiety, depression, or any other mental ailments, you can:
- Look for coping mechanisms that help you manage your mental wellness, such as exercising, practicing yoga, or talking with a confidant.
- Take steps now to relax, spend time outside, avoid mind-altering drugs, and generally care for your mental health.
- If your mental health is a significant concern, consider getting professional help now, such as seeking out a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist who can help you better understand how your mind functions.
If you create strategies now to help you cope with mental stresses and strains in the future, you’ll be able to weather the ups and downs of the job hunt as you go along.
Prepare Your Job Hunting Toolkit
Finally, take steps to prepare your job hunting toolkit before you start applying. if you already struggle with a mental health condition, organizing yourself beforehand is even more imperative. A few suggestions for ways to prepare include:
- Identifying what you’re looking for in a job.
- Polishing your resume and looking up how to properly write cover letters, follow up letters, thank you letters, and even acceptance letters.
- Considering unconventional options, such as the gig economy.
- Creating an interview plan that includes resting well the night before, researching the company first, grooming yourself, and generally making sure you put your best foot forward.
- If you have a diagnosed mental disorder, deciding if you’ll disclose it to your potential employer or not — this isn’t legally required but may be beneficial to communicate depending on the scenario.
Preparing before you’re faced with applications and interviews is an excellent way to stay calm and come across as a confident, organized candidate.
Keep Calm and Carry On
And there you have it. The blueprint for job hunting success during the COVID-19 era:
- Start by gaining perspective and putting yourself in a “new normal” mindset.
- If you struggle with mental health, gather coping mechanisms and other strategies to help you as you look for employment.
- Prepare your job hunting toolkit to help you come across as calm and organized to potential employers.
If you can go into the job hunt with a level head and everything you need at your fingertips, you’ll be able to set yourself up as a valuable employee that stands head and shoulders above even the most intense competition that you may face.