Coping With Job Loss: Take Charge & Keep Going

Two-in-five Canadian households have already experienced some type of job loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Losing your job is stressful under normal circumstances but during this time of uncertainty it can be especially daunting.  But don’t give in to despair and anxiety.  Take charge of the situation and develop a plan for being mentally healthy and focused on your goal of finding another opportunity in due time.  

We would like to share some tips for staying on track and remaining optimistic as you find yourself stuck at home, isolated and/or frustrated, and with much more time on your hands than you were used to:

Keep job searching:  Stay positive and recognize that this is a temporary setback.  While getting back out there with an aggressive job search and networking agenda right now might be tricky due to office closures and social distancing, keep moving ahead and don’t stop looking for opportunities.  Hiring may have slowed in many industries but hiring managers and staffing firms are building a pipeline of talent at all times.  Reach out to them and pitch what you have to offer.

Hone your skills:  Use this time to update your skills as well as learn some new things.  Research which skills are most valuable to employers in your industry and sign up for online classes or free tutorials.  There are also many charitable organizations who can use a helping hand right now.  Volunteering is a good way to gain some hands-on experience in a different capacity and will help to fill the employment gap in your resume.

Grow your network: This might seem an impossible task in today’s world of social distancing and isolation, but growing your network is still achievable.  Join a webinar and interact with the participants and/or presenters, engage in conversations by email or phone, and connect with new groups on social media. Start with your existing network and devise a plan for how you can build out.  Because many opportunities go unadvertised, having a strong network is very helpful.

Connect with a staffing firm: We don’t bite.  In fact, our recruiters can help you assess your skills, provide tips on best resume writing practices, and talk you through the necessary steps for finding a new job, all without any cost to you.  Think of us as your support system during this time.  Friends and family can offer sympathy, but we will take charge and set you on a course to a new career opportunity.

Losing a job is never easy.  Companies are having to make difficult decisions during this time and employee layoffs are unfortunately the consequence of having to cut back on operations and expenses.  No matter what your personal situation is, try to remain motivated and set yourself up for job search success for after everything returns to normal.      

For information about what the Canadian government is offering to workers who have lost their job due to COVID-19

Use Self-Isolation to Advance Your Career

As you find yourself with more free time at home during COVID19-imposed isolation, take this opportunity to reflect on your career.  Are you feeling challenged and satisfied by what you are doing in your current role?  Can you improve or update some of your skills?  What is the next step for your professional advancement?  Many of us don’t get to ask these questions on a regular basis, as we struggle to keep up with many every day demands.  Now is the time to evaluate and be proactive. 

Update your online presence

Start with updating your LinkedIn profile. If you don’t have one, create one!  Employers nowadays look at LinkedIn regularly and it could be their first impression of you.  Spend time building your personal brand and displaying your professional strengths.  Make sure that all your social media platforms show you in the best possible light.  Blogging about your area of expertise is a great way to demonstrate thought leadership and give credibility to your qualifications.  Use your online presence to network and reach out to potential employers of choice.

Train and re-train yourself 

This is the best time to learn and develop a new skill.  Look for online courses that can help you enhance your knowledge.  Most provide a certification of completion that you can add to your portfolio and resume. Also, start reading those interesting industry publications and blogs that have been sitting on your list but you haven’t had a chance to get to.  Catch up on trends, refresh necessary software skills, and learn about new technology platforms that might benefit your career in the long run.

Reconnect with your contacts

Use this downtime to catch up with your friends, former colleagues, past employers or anyone that you have not heard from in a long time.  During this time of social isolation, they will appreciate a friendly hello and the extra bit of human interaction.  As you reconnect with them, new and surprising career opportunities might present themselves.

Participate in online discussions. 

Online forums are a great way to connect with like-minded individuals and discuss shared experiences. Join discussions that align with your interests and share resources that can benefit you and the community. Online forums provides you exposure to different job opportunities, help you grow your circle of friends, allow you gain feedback from industry experts and empower you with access to new and relevant information.

Staying isolated at home is certainly not easy but we’re all in this together.  With a focussed and goal-oriented mindset, you can make the best of it and set yourself up for success once society returns to normal.

How to Enter the Workforce After a Leave of Absence?

From taking care of family members to engaging in voluntary initiatives, there are many common situations that can make it necessary to take a leave of absence from the workforce. Once you’re ready to start working again, it can feel overwhelming to figure out how to land a job when you don’t have current work experience. The tips below can help you address gaps in employment and ensure a successful transition back into the workforce:

Tap Your Network – Or Get to Expanding It

The most effective way to ease back into the workforce is via professional connections. Since these contacts are already familiar with your previous work history, they may be more inclined to offer referrals or provide job leads that can get you noticed by hiring managers. If you’ve let your network decline, no worries – just make it a priority to start expanding it. Attend industry events and conferences to meet new professional contacts. Reach out to people you know and let them know you’re open to new opportunities.

Update Your Industry Knowledge

The finance and accounting industry can change rapidly, especially with advances in technology. Depending on how long you’ve been out of the workforce, the current state of the industry could look much different than you remember. In order to market yourself effectively as a candidate and perform successfully if hired, update your industry knowledge by reading relevant industry news and journals, and attending events and conferences.

Replant Your Digital Footprint

Update your LinkedIn profile (or set one up, if you don’t have one), participate in online industry forums, write blog posts, comment on posts, etc. When hiring managers review your digital footprint, they’ll be more likely to give you a chance if you have an appealing online presence.

Demonstrate Recent Use of Skills

A common concern for hiring managers with candidates who have been out of the workforce for an extended period is their skills are no longer sharp. Alleviate this concern by being able to demonstrate recent use of your finance skills. Examples include: getting new certifications, completing educational courses, and taking on freelance or volunteer work.

Address Your Absence Proactively

There is nothing to be ashamed of regarding your leave of absence; however, you need to be prepared to discuss it. Address your absence in your cover letter and interview responses. Keep it to the point – state a basic reason for why you’ve been out then discuss why you’re enthusiastic to return. Hiring managers will know your lack of recent work history isn’t a red flag, but a positive sign that you’re refreshed and ready to contribute.

Enlist Support by Working with a Staffing Agency

If you’re facing challenges navigating your re-entry into the workforce after an extended leave, enlist support by working with a staffing agency. They can utilize their expertise to ensure your resume and interview skills are up to par and connect you with temporary roles to build your resume as you ease back into full-time work.

Get back into the workforce and find your next Finance. Accounting & Administrative job with PTC Recruiting. We are a specialized accounting and finance recruiting firm with nearly three decades of experience filling positions for some of the best employers across GTA and southern Ontario. Our mission is to understand the needs of job seekers and bring them opportunities that are the best fit. Search our available jobs now to see what PTC has to offer.

How to Differentiate Yourself Through Personal Branding

Professional growth is about more than what you can do – it’s about how you are seen by those who are influential in your career. Whether you want to get in the running for a promotion or attract more clients, you have to make it crystal clear who you are and what sets you apart from others in your same line of work. The way to stand out is by marketing yourself via developing a personal brand, or actively cultivating a perception of yourself among others. Differentiate yourself through personal branding with these tips:

Develop Your Message

First things first: Before you can build a personal brand, you have to pinpoint precisely what differentiates you from other finance professionals. Is it your passion, personality traits or unique professional history? Answer the question of what makes you different and develop a set message that you will consistently aim to convey across channels to build your brand.

Establish an Online Presence

Take control of your image by establishing an online presence, such as an industry blog or professional website. You can write about your areas of specialty in an authoritative manner and use your authentic voice through your communication style. When prospective employers or clients search online, they’ll learn who you are by the content you personally curated. 

Strengthen Your Voice on Social

While other online channels tend to be more polished, social media is the ideal opportunity to showcase who you really are professionally and make you memorable. Get involved in conversations on industry topics on LinkedIn, post your thoughts about current trends and news on Twitter, etc. The more you interact as yourself on social media, the more it will strengthen your voice and personal branding.

Participate in Public Forums

Volunteer or accept any invitations for public speaking in a professional setting, such as finance conferences. Speaking to a captive audience of your peers or superiors gives you an up close and personal chance to demonstrate your industry knowledge and personality. The more you participate in public forums, the more you are solidifying your brand.

Network Consistently

Go the grassroots method of differentiating yourself through personal branding by reframing what it means to network. Networking isn’t just about schmoozing at official industry networking events – every conversation you have, even just a brief interaction in the breakroom at work or speaking up and asking questions at a meeting, is a chance to form relationships and build awareness of who you are.

Put Your Personal Branding To Good Use

Take your career to the next level with PTC Recruiting. We are an accounting and finance staffing firm with nearly three decades of experience filling positions for some of the best employers across GTA and southern Ontario. Our mission is to truly listen and understand the needs of job seekers and only bring them the opportunities that are truly the best overall fit for them. Search our available jobs now to see what PTC has to offer.