The pandemic has handed job losses to many people. According to Pew Research, unemployment rates rose higher in three months of COVID-19 than it did in two years of the Great Recession of 2008/2009. Perhaps you were affected by a job loss and you also are a parent who is now going to go through a job search.
Many parents are also faced with assisting children with virtual education in addition to general childcare. It is neither ideal nor convenient but this is where we find ourselves.
If you find yourself in a situation where you have to juggle a job search with the rigors of parenthood, then this post is for you. How do you handle looking for a job while you parent during this period? In this post, we will talk about practical steps you can take to manage both like a pro. When it comes to searching for a job, even the smallest bit of focused effort can have a great impact.
Treat it like a job
Because your priority during this time is to find a job that suits you and your schedule looking for a job will become your job during this time. Thus it is important to include your job search process in the schedule for your day.
A few hours in the morning may be all you need to effectively look for and apply for jobs each day. It could also be a few hours late at night. Whatever the time you choose, working on your job search a few hours a day will help you get ahead.
Create a schedule
Not that you’ve determined to treat your job search like a job, it is time to create a schedule. Anyone who has kids knows that they can throw a wrench into your perfectly-crafted schedule. This is especially true when they are little.
In spite of this, it is possible to create a simple yet flexible schedule for your day. Ultimately, having a schedule that is simple and flexible will relieve you of overwhelm. Furthermore, if you get the children involved in your schedule, it will provide them with a structure to follow through the day so everyone is less overwhelmed.
Include a time slot in your schedule either before the kids wake up or after they go to bed when you will be actively looking for and applying for new jobs.
Continue to connect and network online
Seventy to eighty percent of all jobs are not publicly advertised. Thus, it’s important to continue to network with friends and acquaintances throughout this time.
Keep up by learning new skills online
Skills needed in the workplace are rapidly changing. It’s important to stay up to date on or learn new skills to keep up with the changing world. LinkedIn Learning and Skillshare are excellent platforms to start learning new skills for free or very cheap.
What to do when you need to interview
The somewhat good news is that because of the pandemic, you can now interview from home. The other piece of news is that small children will not necessarily allow you to interview in relative quietness.
Thus, interviews can become challenging. Here are our tips on how to navigate this.
- If it is possible for you to get childcare, you should get it for this period. Having someone else take care of your child during this period will not only reduce how much noise is in your background. It will also help you focus on the interview without being distracted the whole time.
- If you cannot find or afford childcare, this is where communication with your potential employer is important. A lot of employers do realize that it is hard to separate work and family life in the current environment. Thus, mention to them that you are unable to find childcare and as such will have child noises in the background. If you happen to be on a video conference call, mute yourself while you are not speaking to minimize how much noise comes through your end.
Take it one day at a time
Stress and anxiety levels have probably not been higher in recent memory than at this time. People have lost jobs. Some have lost family members. And the general state of the world seems gloomy. Thus, if you find yourself having to look for a job at this time while balancing parenthood, be easy on yourself and take it one day at a time.
You are most likely doing your best given the circumstances. If you find that you’re overwhelmed, it is okay to take a break and cry. It is alright to speak with a mental health professional about what is going on so you can get the tools and/or medication to help with your emotions.
The world is going through a collective traumatic event. It is alright to feel the way you do.