Last week, we wrote about career options to consider for the next ten years. Now, it’s time to focus on strategy and tactics for career advancement in 2021. Next year is not just another new year from a career perspective. It is likely to be the beginning of the post-COVID-19 era.
Examples of things to consider as 2021 approaches include:
- New skills and accomplishments resulting from job restructuring in 2020,
- Layoff from your pre-COVID position so you need to job search now,
- Accelerated economic changes, and
- Whether you will still need resumes and cover letters in 2021.
Our current employer and the hiring teams representing our prospective employers are customers of our services. We have to recognize and act on the changing needs of our customers.
Our jobs probably changed in 2020.
Many of us were suddenly thrust into new business realities during 2020. For example, a job seeker I helped was hired in January, 2020 to plan and execute fundraising galas in three major cities. All three events were cancelled due to the Pandemic. She had to pivot the programs into virtual events requiring different skills to execute. For instance, she had to select, evaluate, and supervise video production contractors instead of renting venues and hiring caterers.
Fortunately, this fundraiser was able to hit her development targets with virtual events so her job continued. Her new skills will give her a competitive advantage in 2021
Reflect any new skillset on your resume and LinkedIn profile if your job was restructured in response to the events of 2020. New skills will add to your marketability even when the old skillset becomes valuable again later in 2021.
Many jobs ended due to the Pandemic.
Not everyone has been fortunate enough to be in a business or job that could pivot into the virtual world for the duration. A few weeks ago I spoke with another non-profit-sector executive that worked for an organization where fundraising fell off sharply when leadership moved to virtual events. About 17% of that organization’s staff were downsized.
Those that were thrust into seeking employment during the Pandemic have learned some traditional job search advice needs adjustment. For years, the vast majority of employment specialists and coaches, including myself, have taken the position that only in-person networking will work. Phone calls, emails, and LinkedIn connections are not engaging enough.
Networking means engaging business contacts in meaningful conversations. We can use Zoom and other online video conferencing tools for screen shares and video chats that are more engaging than conventional telephone calls, emails, and social media connections.
Job seekers can turn the problem of networking online into an opportunity. Online tools remove geographic limitations on networking conversations. Several weeks ago, for example, I had a conversation with an author of career books. Years ago, the process of conducting this conversation might have involved hours tracking down one of her books, flying to her city for the discussion, and then flying back. This year I ordered the book online in minutes, skimmed through it on my Kindle, and then had the discussion at no cost to either of us. We did not leave our desks. When I mentioned to the author that the discussion would have been more time-consuming and expensive in the 1980s, she said “no one will do business that way anymore.”
Economic change has accelerated during the Pandemic.
An economist speculated on TV last week that 10 years of business change has occurred in less than one year. I agree. For example, I noted in a previous post that a report on economic changes expected by 2030 suggested, among other things, that employers would search the Web for talent instead of reading resumes.
This has already happened to an extent. Some recruiters search LinkedIn instead of soliciting resumes. So, your LinkedIn profile should be ready for prime time in 2021.
Resumes and cover letters are evolving, not disappearing.
Although recruiters are searching LinkedIn for “passive” candidates—those that are not actively sending out resumes—this does not mean the World has evolved beyond the traditional resume and letter. In fact, they may be even more important than ever.
First, I have not spoken to any recruiters this year that insist on a one page resume. I’ve even been told more than two pages can be okay. Given the volume of material hiring teams receive, I doubt anyone will read beyond the second page, especially in the early part of the process. There is probably too much detail on the resume, in my opinion, if the story takes more than two pages.
It is logical to wonder why we need resumes at all if recruiters are searching LinkedIn. The resume is still essential, I’ve been told, because it is more “confidential” than the LinkedIn profile. It is a communication between the job seeker and a specific employer, and not a public document like a LinkedIn profile.
Cover letters are still needed, too. A recruiter I spoke with this week said almost 70% of HR professionals she surveyed still want to see cover letters.
It’s not a problem if the employer’s online application does not have a space for you to upload a cover letter. You can “sneak” it into the system by including it as an extra page of your resume upload. Of course, be mindful of an employer’s instructions. Some, like Amazon, specifically state they do not want cover letters with applications for certain jobs.Don’t make assumptions about what you need! I have found exceptions to nearly every rule for resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles. Contact us for a complimentary consultation to discuss ideas that apply for your specific situation. Look at our resume examples, and our services page, too.