2020 in Review: Lessons Learned from the Virtual Job Seeker

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By: Brian Hallahan

2020 in Review: Lessons Learned from the Virtual Job Seeker

If hindsight is 20/20, what should we say about 2020?  Remember pre-COVID-19 times? Many of us began this year with vastly different expectations and plans than the reality of what we were shaken with not too long into the new year.  In this 2020 review, this blog will attempt to capture lessons learned from the job seeker’s point of view.  However, with a year like 2020, not everything can be included.

First some big picture data points:

  • February unemployment: 3.5%
  • April unemployment: 14.7%
  • October unemployment: 6.9%
  • (Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS)
  • Gross Domestic Product Q2 2020: -31.4%
  • Gross Domestic Product Q3 2020: +33.1%
  • (Bureau of Economic Analysis, BEA)

On March 9, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) lost more than 2000 points, with some media outlets calling this a market crash.  Then days later, on Thursday, March 12, the DJIA lost nearly 10 percent (2352 points), closing at 21,200 points.  In early December, the DJIA climbed above 29,000 on its way to passing 30,000 for the first time.  Prior to the pandemic, crude oil was ~$60/barrel –at it’s worse, oil futures went negative for the first time.  Today, oil is about low to mid $40/barrel (US Energy Information Administration).

In addition to the unpredictable rollercoaster we have been on in the realms of unemployment, GDP, stock market, oil, and COVID-19 effects, we have been forced to learn how to adapt.  This was no more apparent than for those who had to conduct a job search in 2020.  We quickly learned how to undertake virtual networking, job interviewing, negotiating, and landing a job!  For reference, please see our previous blogs:

So…Now What? Steps Towards Conducting an Effective Virtual Job Search

5 Steps for 5 Steps for Conducting an Effective Job Search

Virtual Networking: Practical Tips for the Introvert

How we work has also changed.  It is reported that 7 in 10 are working remotely in 2020!  In addition to us becoming adept at Zoom and Teams to find and perform our jobs, about 16 million of us have moved this year, about a 4% increase over 2019.  Early indications are that we are leaving large urban areas and locating in smaller cities, suburbs, or smaller communities.   There was a 27% increase in temporary moves based on USPS change of address submissions (as reported by mymove.com).

In a survey we did on the effects of COVID-19 on the workplace, ICC found the greatest concerns to be managing remote teams, resiliency, and maintaining productivity.  McKinsey and Company has been surveying executives every six weeks on which of 9 scenarios they feel is most likely to occur.  The most often selected scenario in their latest survey is for “virus recurrence; slow long-term growth with muted recovery.”

In sum, the consensus is that we are experiencing a “K” recovery –some sectors are thriving, while others are flailing. 

It’s in our nature to want stability in our lives –and yet, 2020 has been a brutal taskmaster on the importance of being adaptable and learning and adjusting to new ways of doing things like conducting a job search, managing and being managed in a remote workforce, and delivering value as each of our company’s adjust, at times quickly, to opportunities and challenges. 

 

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