What to do if you’re uncertain about your job during COVID-19

Article Seldon-Rosser-What-To-Do-If-Uncertain-About-Work-Coronavirus

How you respond in times of change and uncertainty can define you. This is when your true colours are revealed – in both personal and professional settings. Right now the COVID-19 crisis means that it is inevitable that everyone will experience change and uncertainty.

This article isn’t the place to give the one-on-one advice required to answer everyone’s questions, each person’s journey and situation are unique. However, here are some questions we are responding to for candidates worried about their job security.

I am worried I might lose my job, what can I do?

Lack of control and ambiguity can be hard for some people. These times of change will likely mean that there are going to be several months of uncertainty about the exact direction your employer is taking and how this might affect your career path.

Remember everyone else at your business is probably feeling the same way and commercial business decisions will need to be made. If the business fails then no-one has a job, so if you can offer flexibility then communicate this early.  Perhaps you could reduce your hours or take some unpaid leave. Presenting solutions puts you in the conversation and can create a transparent and beneficial outcome.

I was hired for a particular project that has been cancelled, should I leave?

As businesses restructure to respond to market forces, you might find yourself doing work that is driven more by business need than what you were hired for.

To survive and thrive in times of change become a ‘chameleon’ and turn your skills to whatever the business requires of you. This is not just a skill but also an attitude. Our advice is to take on the current challenge with positivity and determination to make it work.  Know that working for a business and delivering through periods of change is an important aspect of career development.

I was looking for a new job before COVID-19, should I stay now?

It can be easy to believe that every business is struggling in times of great market uncertainty; however this is not the case.  Professional services firms are some of the more secure businesses to be a part of during uncertain times.

Employers continuing to hire in this market have a solid business plan and the roles they need to fill are deemed business critical.  So, if you were already considering a job change before the impact of COVID-19, then you can continue with that plan and be confident that Seldon Rosser will support you in doing due diligence and asking direct questions about the viability of the role at interview.

I’ve been made redundant, what do I do?

If you are made redundant then give yourself time to regain confidence and properly assess what to do next. Don’t immediately start your job search by sending out meeting requests to everyone you’ve ever worked with before you’ve got a strategy, positioning and message right. You won’t be presenting yourself in your best light and you may close yourself off from a future opportunity.

Get on top of your personal budget and work out how much time you can remain out of a job and also the minimum you need to earn. We understand personal circumstances don’t always make an extensive break possible but carve out what time you can to breathe – apart from anything else, you probably deserve it!

We recommend considering contracts and interim work as an alternate option to  jumping into the next big career move right away. This can be a great strategy as part of assessing what next and diversifying your experience.

When you start your job search remember to focus on what the businesses you are applying to need in this market.  It is unlikely to be the time to be overly prescriptive about the type of work you prefer to do.

How can I interview for a new job if everyone is working from home?

Our clients are adapting quickly to the new, enforced remote working conditions but it is not unusual to secure a new job without ever meeting your new colleagues in person.

We have been hiring roles like this for over a decade as many of the jobs we have placed have gone to candidates located in a different location to the hiring managers.  However, it is now much easier than it used to be as video conferencing (where a candidate had to attend a special facility in a city location) has been replaced by laptops.  So you can interview from the convenience of your own home.

We are working closely with our Australian clients on how start dates will be managed as we navigate this period.  Having worked with our clients in Asia during their shutdown period, we have a couple of examples from that market of candidates starting new jobs remotely.  And, already some of our Australian clients are planning remote starts for new hires.

Jobs like mine didn’t come up very often before this crisis, so what can I do to give myself the best chance to get hired?

While this is a challenging time remember that change leads to opportunity and, even though it may be hard, staying open to new job ideas and possibilities can end up being very rewarding.

Perhaps now is that time to move overseas?  Our Asia clients are briefing us on new roles and actively considering talent from around the world.  Even with everything which is happening we are actively managing relocations which will happen in the next couple of weeks (as essential travel).

It might also be the time to change sector or to re-train in an area which is currently business critical to firms.

There are always options you just need to allow yourself to see them.

I would love to talk this through to better understand what I can do.

We would love to talk to you as we understand that your situation is unique to you.  So let’s talk. We may not have a job for you but we can point you in the right direction and we can help with practical things like resumes and interview preparation.


Seldon Rosser has some other useful guides to help you find work:

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