Landing a Job in a Pandemic: Focus on Value

By Jeff Herzog, President, FPC National

I’ve heard many job seekers ask, “Should I even bother looking for a job during Covid?” The short answer: Yes! And here’s the longer answer:

As we stumble our way through this pandemic, the job market is as turbulent as ever. Every time we turn on the TV, we are inundated with news about widespread layoffs and jaw-dropping unemployment numbers. For someone in the market for a new job, this climate is unsettling, to say the least.

But, to a large extent, layoffs and unemployment numbers are only a part of the story. What we are experiencing is not a crumbling of our national workforce, but a massive reconfiguration. Covid has forced companies to reexamine their entire operations and re-imagine business in an ever-changing landscape.

Yes, some industries are hurting and may not return to their former glory once we emerge from the pandemic. But the vast majority of businesses will survive this crisis. Forward-thinking companies are envisioning their post-Covid future and are actively rebuilding their workforces. But it will not be business as usual.

Value-Based Job Seekers are Succeeding

Companies are in the midst of reconfiguring their workforces with a new set of priorities. They are on the hunt for people who are capable of producing extraordinary outcomes. Employees who are task-oriented will not fare as well as those who are purpose-driven and results-focused. There is a greater emphasis on employee accountability, and self-starters with proven track records will be in great demand.

Candidates who are well-positioned to thrive in this environment include:

  • Strategic thinkers
  • Proactive problem solvers
  • Creative innovators
  • Result deliverers
  • Entrepreneurial-spirited high performers

Candidates who are more likely to struggle during the pandemic include:

  • Task-driven workers
  • Responsibility avoiders
  • Isolationists
  • Unenthusiastic procrastinators
  • Clock watchers

The newly configured workforce paradigm is more of a partnership between employer and employee than ever before. Companies have no room for slackers and under-performers. They will have leaner workforces with a focus on those who are committed to reaching ambitious objectives, working collaboratively, and moving the ball forward.

Do you have what it takes to succeed in the new workforce?

A Plan for the Future

Knowing that companies are seeking action-oriented achievers, your goal is to re-frame your job-search strategy and your messaging to focus exclusively on the value that you are able to deliver. Outcomes matter more than methods; results speak louder than responsibilities. You need to demonstrate to a prospective employer that you are able to solve the goals and achieve the objectives required of the role you seek.

Begin by identifying the true value that you are bringing into a position. What is the result you are going to produce? Re-frame your talking points from tasks to outcomes:

  • Weak: I am able to call on more than 100 prospects every month.
  • Strong: I have consistently exceeded sales goals while improving customer retention.
  • Weak: I oversee a team of five associates.
  • Strong: I strengthen the performance of team members through coaching and collaboration.
  • Weak: I process hundreds of vendor invoices every month with a high degree of accuracy.
  • Strong: I reduced costs 2% by identifying billing discrepancies and negotiating early-pay discounts.

While all of the weak statements above are desirable characteristics and responsibilities, they are not enough to make you stand out in this climate. Showing that you perform your duties diligently is not going to put you in the top tier; but convince employers that you have what it takes to produce exceptional results, and you will get their attention. You need to demonstrate to recruiters and hiring managers that you get it. You understand the results that are expected, and you accept accountability for reaching the goals required in this position.

To be clear: many companies are hiring now. Just take a look on LinkedIn, and you will see many company executives and hiring managers have the phrase, “we’re hiring!” as part of their profile headline. Do not shy away from pursuing your career goals just because there is turbulence in the job market.

If you are a high performer with a lot to offer, rethink your job-search strategy, and then reach out to your local FPC recruiter to get the ball rolling.

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Steve Margalit

Steve Margalit