The Job Hunt

In a Health and Economic Crisis, Don’t Forget the Things You Can Control

Isaac Morehouse
March 2020

You can also listen to this article in audio form.

There is a lot going on right now, and most of it is not within any of our individual spheres of control.

We wonder, What’s going happen with companies hiring? What’s going to happen economically? What about the jobs that I’ve been trying so hard to win? What’s going to happen with my health or the health of those around me?

All of these things are in flux. There’s so much happening right now that’s out of our control.

What can you control?

Those things are a big deal. They affect you, all of us.

But the only things you can control are the things you can control.

When you’re worried about all these things—especially if you’re on the job hunt or your career goals are affected by this (almost everyone’s are)—here’s a reminder to bring it back to the things you can control.

It may be a small sphere of control. But you still have some things in your control. Focus on those. Make it a goal that every single day, you will make progress toward your goals by utilizing the things that you have control over.

A few things you can do if you’re on the job hunt during this crisis

Use your time at home to gain some skills and valuable knowledge.

You probably have more time at home, more time on your laptop. So brush up on things like using spreadsheets or common software tools. Learn how to build landing pages. Do demos of products like Notion and Webflow, and learn how to utilize valuable tools and software that are used in the workplace.

Add skills. Go through courses on Udemy, find free courses, or use YouTube to level up your abilities. Whatever your areas of interest might be, find things relevant to your leveling up your career.

Improve your documentation of your skills and learnings

Keep track, write blog posts. Create spreadsheets, make videos documenting what you’re learning and the progress you’re making.

Build a body of work so you can show what you’re up to. Utilize your skills to create something tangible.

Ideally, pick specific projects that are completable—like a pamphlet or a landing page, or a three-part podcast—so you’ve got a tangible end result. That project will show that you know how to do something that couldn’t have been done without a minimum level of skill with those tools.

Get creative with where you look for opportunity.

Think about who’s struggling right now because of all of this. How could you help in some way that would be really valuable to them, whether for pay or volunteer? Any of those small opportunities can lead to greater opportunities, both now and in the future.

What companies are probably growing because of this because there’s more demand for the things they do when people are on lockdown and a lot of businesses are closed? What companies aren’t?

Look for different opportunities than you normally would. There’s probably opportunity at companies that are growing but are kind of afraid to make big long term commitments right now because of all the uncertainty. It’d be amazing for you to go to them and say, “Hey, look, I know you probably have a hiring freeze. I would love to help you handle customer support inquiries or dig up sales leads for the next month and just on a contract. You could pay me $1,000 or $500.”

If you can gain valuable skills at a company that might be hiring soon, if they’re a company that’s potentially growing and not getting destroyed right now, offering them something like that to work for cheap or free for a project or two can be a great way to reduce their risk and just acknowledge, “Hey, I know you’re probably on a hiring freeze, but I would love to just help you out anyway.”

Life is not halting. And not only with the near term things like eating and driving and talking to people and getting online. There’s still an economy out there. Even if it’s reduced dramatically, it’s still there. And it’s not going to be indefinite, either. So you can be planting seeds for further success and growth, as well as making it happen now.

Be more flexible and open with your ideas of what progress and success look like

If in normal times you would only consider it a success to get an offer for $50,000 a year with a certain job, with a certain title and benefits, in a certain city, in the next couple months, that may not be on the table. It may be, and you can keep looking for that, but it may not be.

But what if you can get $2,000 a month to do something remotely at a cool company like one of these? If it’s partially what you’re interested in, that is always better than nothing. Or what if you can get a job, and they tell you they’ll hire you starting in June instead of starting in April, and it’s contingent on X, Y, and Z?

Being willing to flex and to see things differently could give you some huge advantages.

Now’s the time to create value—for yourself and for others

Now’s a great time to dig into some content, to stay encouraged, to build some content of your own, and to create a body of work. Learn some skills, research companies. Think differently about the types of companies and opportunities that are out there. Find others and help others along the way.

If you’re good at one thing, offer to do that for some people for free who are struggling, whether they’re companies or not. Build up that good rapport and social capital with people that you care about. It’s going to be valuable to you. It will make you feel more productive in the near term, but it will also be good for you in the long term—to have been somebody who stayed active, who stayed positive, and who added value to yourself and others even during a time when things seem frustrating.

Bring it back to what’s within your circle of control as much as possible. And every day, just do something to stay productive and positive and make progress on what you can control.

And if you are on the job hunt right now, sign up for a Crash account and shoot us a message at info [at] Crash [dot] co. We’ll give you a Pro account for free. We want to help anybody out as much as we can on the job hunt.

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