No one is quite the same person or professional she was just three months ago and your LinkedIn profile, resume and elevator pitch should reflect new learnings, redefined goals and challenges met as you navigate the COVID-19 career landscape. “Power is shifting to employers in this volatile job market and how you present yourself is critical in positioning you for opportunities within your organization and others that will arise out of crisis,” says Lauren Barnard, executive talent advisor with recruiting firm Will Reed.
Further your career, expand options during covid crisis
Whether staying put or considering your next role in the Food Industry, you will likely be called on to share how you have grown throughout the pandemic and how the experience has helped prepare you for greater leadership.
“It’s more important than ever for employees to present themselves clearly and to stand out from the crowd,” explains Lauren Barnard, Dallas-based executive talent advisor with recruiting firm Will Reed. That process happens through candid introspection, revisiting of professional goals and then careful crafting of a narrative that demonstrates how your experience translates to new opportunities.
For starters, think about whether this is the right time to sit tight in a secure position or whether you see appealing opportunities in other segments of your organization or the industry poised for growth. If the near-perfect position is not available right now, it can make sense to consider an in between role that exposes you to a new set of skills or segment of the business.
Put it into words
As you refine the key career accomplishments you want to highlight, start with LinkedIn. “Your LinkedIn profile is your personal brand statement for the world to see,” Barnard says. “It is the first place colleagues and hiring managers look because it’s quick and much easier than wading through a detailed resume.”
Be succinct. Start with a compelling and descriptive headline of who you are as a professional and then follow up with a few well-chosen bullet points that explain key accomplishments. “Quantify your contributions with metrics, actions and results so readers can easily see your success,” Barnard adds. She specifically advises capturing unique strides you may have made during the pandemic, such as working autonomously, developing creative plans to serve customers or participating in a COVID-19 planning team.
If you are interested in changing roles or transitioning to a different part of the industry, Barnard advises reviewing relevant job descriptions online and tailoring your experience to those roles. “Mirror the language employers use in describing competencies and duties,” she says. “Using the same jargon helps the employer feel that you already fit in their world.”
Barnard also suggests highlighting self-directed professional development. “As the pandemic continues, it will become increasingly important to show how you are using this time to invest in your own development of both hard and soft skills and staying current.” Extensive professional development content is available to WFF members via WFF Connect
If your role has been eliminated or altered due to COVID-19, Barnard advises saying so up front so it’s clear that you are in the job market due to circumstances beyond your control and that you remain a strong contributor.
Make the resume work
Your resume is an adjunct to LinkedIn and should always be current for sharing internally as you advance through your organization and for exploring other options. Keep it clear, direct, well organized and brief.
“Poor formatting detracts so don’t be afraid to use a resume template,” Barnard suggests. Strive to keep it to one page by removing less relevant items, prioritizing just a few bullet points under key positions and even decreasing font size and increasing margins, she advises. Other details can be placed on LinkedIn.
Continue to cultivate networks
“Something employers learned during the 2008 recession is that a war for talent can occur very quickly as the economy rebounds,” Barnard observes. “Especially with the somewhat artificial nature of this economic slowdown, it’s wise for employers to keep in close contact with talent and for team members to keep their network active and even growing. You want to be ready to roll as soon as the crisis abates.”
Again, Barnard points to LinkedIn. “You can reach out to anyone on LinkedIn by sending a connection request that includes a brief explanation of why you would like to talk with them. That allows them to respond to your message even if they don’t accept the invitation to connect.”
“People are very open to simply being human right now,” she observes. “If you ask a smart, targeted question, many potential mentors and contacts will agree to talk with you one-on-one which is the most effective networking method, even when done remotely.”
“A lot of innovation will come out of this period of disruption,” Barnard adds. “There is reason to be hopeful and a positive attitude resonates with employers.