Pandemic, Stress Continues to Disrupt Job Hunt, Networking

March 22, 2022
By PRSA-SV Member and PR Consultant Michelle McIntyre
Pandemic, Stress Continues to Disrupt Job Hunt, Networking

Panelists at our March 18th PRSA-Silicon Valley #FridayForum overwhelmingly agreed that the pandemic continues to massively disrupt job networking, searching and hiring. Their advice is to be your best self, use tools like LinkedIn wisely, find your next job before you need to, and have a can-do attitude.

“Job Hunting, Strategies, Resources and Support,” was moderated by PRSA-SV Board Member Jazmin Eusébio, an AE at Highwire PR.

“It’s a chaotic world. People are asking things like, is this job worth my mortgage?” said Luther Jackson, a program manager at NOVAworks, referring to the pandemic workplace.

Despite pandemic safety rules easing up a bit now, giving some of us the freedom to go into the office, the stress of the past two years are still here, or at least lingering. Another disruptor is that workers can live anywhere, so it can be more difficult to make real connections. For example, “People can now live in North Carolina and have a Silicon Valley job,” says Jackson.

Chloe Belangia, an executive recruiter, content creator and social media micro-influencer, says, “I hear a lot of blanket cries for help” from younger folks like Gen Zs who have been fully online not reaping the benefits of full-on in-person networking. “For people who graduated online or got laid off during the pandemic, it’s a whole new world,” she says.

Belangia interacts a lot with Gen Zs and millennials doing job searches. She started a Young Professional Career Connects community on LinkedIn that has over 5,000 members and posts tips on TikTok and other social media. Belangia says it’s been devastating to some to pursue job opportunities and not hear back for weeks, or not at all or just not get the job.

Surviving pandemic loneliness

The panel also addressed a key issue that has resulted from the pandemic – loneliness. The panel noted that people are cut off and turning “inside” during the pandemic.

“In this remote world we’ve disrupted the network,” says Jackson. “The job market has never been transparent, but it’s worse now.”

Hotwire Senior Manager of Media Strategy Charlene Gage agrees that despite the number of job openings, times are rough for job seekers. Recognized as a “Top 20 Rising Star in PR” by Business Insider, she discussed The Great Resignation, noting that now more than ever PR and comms professionals see what it’s like to work with companies and agencies under pressure. And added that Hotwire PR is hiring.

What’s a job seeker to do in this cold and lonely new work world?

  1. Be prepared
  2. Work LinkedIn
  3. Leverage your connections
  4. Pursue opportunities you’re passionate about

“Step zero sets you up for success; work on yourself,” Belangia says, stressing the importance of health and wellbeing, journaling, self reflection and listening to podcasts. During interviews, she advises you to,“Show up as your best-informed self.”

Treat Job Hunt Like Media Relations

Research is critical, especially when it comes to why you want a particular job. “You need to ‘PR’ yourself,” Eusebio says. Treat the job hunt like it’s a media relations opportunity. Prepare strong messages ahead of time. Jackson added that you need to be prepared to tell how you solved a problem.

Gage gave advice from the hiring viewpoint. She said it’s important to work your list of contacts and let them know you are looking, as many employees are incentivized to bring in new people. “Your contacts want to hear from you and help you find work,” she says

All agreed that LinkedIn is key in networking and the job search. Belangia praised LinkedIn Premium and said to be sure to fill in the “About” section with more than just one sentence. Hers contains three paragraphs. Panelists agreed that staying active on LinkedIn does work. In fact, Jackson says that NOVAworks offers LinkedIn classes. He sees finding work as a science.

Despite the loneliness of the remote job hunt and workplace, the panel agreed that a positive, can-do attitude and networking before you have to definitely helps. If you’re currently employed, think of it like having have two jobs — your current one and your next.

If you missed our March 18th PRSA-Silicon Valley #FridayForum “Job Hunting, Strategies, Resources and Support,” watch it on PRSA Silicon Valley Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Michelle McIntyre is the president and principal consultant of Michelle McIntyre Communications LLC. She’s an IBM vet and a ranked future of work influencer in Saratoga, Calif. She specializes media relations for software as a service and VC clients. @fromMichelle on Twitter

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