A Different Perspective on a Job Search in the Time of Coronavirus

A year that began with the hottest job market in history quickly threw job seekers for a loop with an international pandemic. During the first half of 2020, MDL Partners’ clients have fared better than many. With several clients accepting new roles in the past month, we asked one client to share his perspective on current opportunities in the job market.

Luis Rodriguez initiated his first job search in two decades in October 2019, joining MDL’s network just a few weeks later. As is the case with many job searches, Luis had some great conversations and felt optimistic at the outset but despite a phenomenal job market, his conversations weren’t leading anywhere. Luis said, “Looking back, I didn’t know what bringing my A game really meant in these new times.”

By January, a new resume and LinkedIn profile in place and several networking sessions under his belt, Luis was ready and entertaining some great opportunities. Then Covid-19 changed the playing field. According to Luis, “First companies with an international presence pulled back. Then, as Europe began to struggle with Coronavirus, more companies paused. At the end of February there was still some optimism but by March the job market had all but stopped with many companies implementing hiring freezes.”

Beginning an executive level job search in a great market became a job search in unprecedented times. Thanks to the confidence gained through his interactions with his MDL Consultant, Ed Manning, Luis adjusted his approach. An expert in Industrial IOT, he engaged with gig consulting websites such as guidepoint.com, thirdbridge.com and alphasights.com which he describes as being like Uber for consulting. Many companies turned to these resources as a stop gap during temporary hiring freezes and for people like Luis, it offers an opportunity to stay current in the job market and bring in respectable fees. The more one works through these sites, the more one gets paid. The opportunities are high level and pay $150.00 per hour to start while people with return business garner fees in excess of $500.00 per hour.

Luis found that through his temporary consulting opportunities he gained significant insight as to what was happening in the industry and what Covid-19 meant in his space. “Staying active and working helped keep my discussions fresh when opportunities arose.” He believes this activity significantly impacted his ability to secure a permanent role, primarily by enabling him to impress his new employer with his assessment of current realities in his sector.

While consulting, Luis continued actively networking primarily within the MDL network but he did also reconnect with his past network at MIT. Development of his network was key to Luis’s success. He took advantage of every conversation to learn about his sector, other sectors, companies he may not have known about previously, their culture and needs, and the people he was meeting. Luis compared networking to the energy grid saying, “there is push in and take out. Sometimes you put more in than you take out but other times you definitely get more back. So the more you participate, the more likely you will gain something from it.” And Luis has been active in giving, frequently connecting those he speaks to with others who are in similar situations.

Interestingly, networking actually became easier as the world became more complicated. “In the fall it was embarrassing to be out of work in the hottest job market in history.” But by April, Luis found a new kind of camaraderie. “The stigma had disappeared and was replaced with open and honest conversations resulting in deepening connections and greater support among job seekers.”

In the end, Luis secured a position in a large company in the midst of a hiring freeze. The initial contact came from a colleague from his past but he credits MDL with preparing him to put his best foot forward when the call came. He was able to recognize and optimize the opportunity because he had a great resume, a strong concept of his strengths and a stronger network of contacts.

Luis has a few pieces of advice for fellow job seekers, “Job seeking is a full time job and what you put in directly correlates to what you get back. Network continually. As important is follow through. You never know where the important contact will come from. Use networking conversations to learn and to hone your target list. A good, solid target list is key.” Luis cautions against a shotgun approach, grabbing at every company on the planet, and encourages job seekers to be very thoughtful about the companies they target. Use your network to learn about their work and their culture. Chances are that if you are particularly drawn to a company, they will consider you to be a good fit as well. He found great value in temporary consulting work.

Luis found Hubspot extremely effective in managing his job search. Though it felt at times as though it created more work, as his network grew and opportunities multiplied, using a CRM tool enabled him to track his efforts and prevent important follow up from slipping through the cracks.

Now that Luis has secured a great new job, he is excited to continue networking, learning and helping others along the path to great new opportunities.