You may have heard in the news that there is a new virus strain, Covid 19, spreading around the world. It’s still early, but there appear to be three possible scenarios. First, the spread of the virus will slow and it will have a relatively minor impact. Second, the virus could spread rapidly and cause significant disruptions to people’s health and activities. The third possibility is that disruptions caused by the virus could trigger a recession which could affect you, the job hunter. This third possibility is more likely if the peak of the virus is in May or later according to some economists.
Here are a couple of things you might expect. For now, and the immediate future, plan on more telephone or video interviews. MDL Partners has recently initiated phone interview training sessions. Contact Melody in the Wellesley office for details. We can also expect canceled or postponed conventions, tradeshows, and networking events. More people will be working from home, particularly in technology and technology enabled businesses. Business travel has already been affected and more worst case scenario planning is currently taking place.
If the situation worsens, expect a general hunkering down, and some position openings will likely be put on hold. A major epidemic could have significant economic impact with reduced hiring and possibly layoffs.
If all of this comes to pass, there are some strategies you can adopt for your job search. First, focus your pitch on cost and crisis management capabilities. Second, highlight the kinds of recession related problems you are best at solving and re-orient your thinking from job search to problem search. Companies may not have job openings but they will certainly still have problems. Consider highlighting your consulting and interim leadership capabilities versus full-time. Consider targeting less affected sectors (technology mentioned above, among others) and geographies less affected by any downturn.
Work more diligently on building your network and helping others network. And, focus on building marketable skills and accomplishments. Of course, you can do these at all times, now, today even.
If you have been through the 2008 downturn, highlight your experience and successes during that time.
In any event, expect and be prepared for a more challenging search. Get professional help if appropriate. If you are an MDL Partners client, please keep in touch.
Finally, learn the elbow bump and foot tap greetings and try to keep your sense of humor.