CURRENT: What will the end of the year look like for job seekers?

Reposted from LinkedIn News Nov 16, 2020 by Andrew Seaman, Senior Editor for Job Search & Careers at LinkedIn News

The coronavirus pandemic has upended so many areas of our lives. Some of us have lost loved ones to this terrible virus. Some of us have lost work due to its devastating economic effects. All of us have lost the dependability of our routines. The one consistent theme of these past nine months has been uncertainty, which will likely remain true until at least the end of the year as the virus makes a comeback.

The uncertainty may seem overwhelming at times — especially for those of you who are job seeking. While there is no quick fix for that feeling, it can help to educate yourself about the job market and focus on what is within your control. We’re going to discuss some of those topics in this edition — as the New Year looms in the not so distant future.

What will hiring look like?

The latest LinkedIn data, which was published at the end of October, showed some worrying signs about the labor market’s recovery as a second wave of the coronavirus popped up around the world. 

Yet, people remain optimistic that the labor market won’t return to the depths it hit during the early days of the pandemic — even as unemployment rates remain at nearly 7% in the U.S. and about 9% in Canada.

About 63% of recruiters and hiring managers responding to a LinkedIn News poll appeared confident that hiring would improve or remain at current levels over the next couple of months. Another 23% said hiring would fall and 13% said they were unsure what would happen.

“I do think that moving into the end of the year, there will be some slowing down in the hiring process,” said Lezlie Garr, who is a certified resume writer and career change coach.

“As for what to expect and what to prepare, I think the most successful job seekers will be patient and persistent,” she told me.

Focus on what you can control

Many of the most notable parts of a job search are beyond our control, including whether someone responds to your messages or if you get an interview. Responses and job interviews may become even less frequent toward the end of the year as people take days off and celebrate holidays. You should focus on the factors that you can control.

“Give yourself some control,” said Garr. “Or at least a sense of control and organization. Focus on a mindset switch and learn to set expectations that are realistic.”

For example, set a goal that you’ll spend a certain amount of time taking online classes during the week. Or, set a goal that you’ll reach out to one person at one of your target companies each day of the week. Both of those objectives are firmly within your control. While it’s not in your control how many people respond, reaching out is all up to you.

Focus on growing professional relationships

As we’ve talked about many times before, networking is really the cornerstone of successful job seeking. Healthy and robust professional networks can shorten job searches and increase the odds of people landing jobs that will help them thrive.

Garr told me that the end of the year is a great time to focus on building key relationships within your professional network. “Try to develop relationships to the point that someone can be a champion for you.”

One suggestion she had to make sure professional relationships take off is to focus on humility. Garr said to be appreciative that people are willing to connect and communicate with you. You can show this by being generous and offering up a helpful idea or flattery — without asking for anything in return.

Focusing on building these healthy professional relationships with people at your target companies as the end of the year approaches can keep you top of mind for opportunities once 2021 is underway.

Focus on passive networking

Networking takes many shapes and forms. Garr suggests job seekers spend some of their time at the end of the year curating their social media feeds. “You can be mindful of who you follow so that every time you log into it it’s helpful for you, your career and professional life.”

Job seekers could follow job search and career experts, for example. Also, they can follow their target companies and people who work for those employers. 

She recommended seeking out professionally relevant social media groups, too. Garr is a member of groups for career coaches and entrepreneurs, for example.

“Especially with the job search stuff, it’s not as intuitive as it used to be,” she said. “So, why not surround yourself — at least virtually — with people who can help.”

Take time to fight off job search fatigue

The end of the year usually provides people some time to relax. Job seekers often feel guilt about taking a break from their search for work, though. They end up working themselves too hard, becoming tired, decreasing the quality of their work and possibly prolonging their job searches. Garr said it’s important to know when it’s time for a break.

“I think one thing is to be aware that job search fatigue is a real thing and it’s OK to step away and take breaks,” she said.

The end of the year can give you the time to take breaks, do other things and get away from your computer, she said. The time away can fight off that fatigue and help people recharge their proverbial batteries.