Should I Halt My Job Search During Turbulent Times?

Any job search will have its arduous moments. Those could be the hours submitting applications, self-doubt over your qualifications, or that perfect offer you came this close to landing.

Turbulent times

When times are good, such moments can be outlived by aspiration and confidence. You know you’ll land a job eventually; you just have to keep on keeping on.

But during turbulent times, such buoyancy can be difficult to muster. Fewer companies are hiring, the competition is fiercer, and larger social and political troubles can seep into other facets of life, making people susceptible to feelings of helplessness and depression.

Such times can lead many to wonder, “Should I halt my job search for the time being?”

Keep on searching

The short answer: Halting your job search is unwise.

Granted, turbulent times can put the search less in your favor. Such times can also make the effort feel taxing and hopeless. But if you halt your job search, you’ll render the chance of finding a job statistically zero and make a situation that felt hopeless into one that is.

Even during turbulent times, companies must keep operations going. Sometimes that means layoffs and hiring freezes, but other times that means filling critical positions. Because disasters and economic downturns affect industries differently, some companies actually increase recruitment if the demand for their good or service grows.

The only way to land your next job is to continue your job search, regardless of the current milieu.

Change up your approach

Is this a case of desperate times calling for desperate measures? Not at all. You simply need to adjust your strategy to meet the demands of the current labor market.

If you institute changes that are reasoned and realistic, you’ll not only improve your chances of landing a job; you’ll make the search emotionally manageable, as well.

Here are some suggestions to help you out:

1. Don’t apply for every job

Turbulent times can induce panic. We don’t know how things will play out, when they’ll settle, or what the new normal will be afterward. That can manifest as anxiety pushing us to shore up security where we can find it, especially job security.

2. Don’t let panic take control

Recruiters can tell the difference between someone motivated to excel in a position and someone looking for a paycheck. It’s a sixth sense they use to weed out the latter. You improve your chances significantly by only applying to jobs you desire and can perform competently.

3. Don’t box yourself in

With that said, your professional history and development have instilled you with skills and expertise valued by a wide range of industries.

If your industry is experiencing layoffs, consider shifting to one that is growing and where your skills are assessed highly. Consider getting extra training or education in that field, as well. Bonus tip: Try rewording your resume and cover letter to match that industry’s vernacular.

4. Locate thriving industries

As mentioned, turbulent times impact industries differently. While some stumble, others boom, and some seem to thrive regardless of economic conditions, the so-called “recession-proof industries.”

For example, the Great Recession clobbered the financial and real estate industries, but education tends to grow in recessions. Use resources like the Bureau of Economic Analysis to determine which industries are and aren’t thriving.

5. Find your search-life balance

Your job search is, ironically, a job, so you need to develop a work-life balance. Don’t overclock your system and spend every waking hour on the hunt.

Take time to rest, exercise, and indulge in your hobbies. Schedule non-search work, such as self-reflection and stress management. These will help you maintain clarity and health, especially important during turbulent times.

Navigating turbulent times

Job searches are difficult, and turbulent times are trying. Combining them makes both feel exponentially more daunting. But halting your job search only delays the inevitable and allows others to secure positions that could have been yours.

By changing up your strategy, you can make the job search, and maybe the milieu itself, easier to navigate.

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