The year 2020 was unlike any economic year in United States history, with unemployment numbers skyrocketing as businesses grappled with a contagious illness, government and corporate closures, and massive layoffs. Even after the mortgage crisis, the public had never gotten financial relief packages directly, which means that COVID-19 (at least) impacted many financially and hopefully not in terms of your own health or that of your loved ones. In short, many, many people have become unemployed as a result of the pandemic. And as the world starts to open back up, returning to work may seem intimidating.
As the availability of vaccines and federal relief aid passes, Americans will begin to recover. How do you go back to work as conditions improve? How do you get back in working mode?
Here are 5 important tips for returning to work in 2021.
1. Dust off and update that resume.
When you're not working, a great way to stave off depression is to update your resume with the most recent information. Have you learned new skills at your past jobs? Quantify these and put them in the related descriptions on your resume. When you look over your past work experience, it's a great way to remember what to talk about when you mention specific jobs in interviews. You will also feel more confident as you remember your past achievements.
2. Review your wardrobe and look.
Most people would think that the worst time to be spending money is during a period of long unemployment, but the irony is that many cover their most important bills and live frugally during periods of unemployment or underemployment. In the US, the amount people made on unemployment due to the federal legislation for pandemic relief, unemployed workers might have more money than ever before in terms of unemployment.
While it's still not an ideal amount, having collected a small surplus in unemployment might mean having enough to buy an interview outfit and update your hairstyle or get a haircut to look more clean-cut. Additionally, Google unemployment agencies and call them or contact local charities to ask whether there are any back-to-work clothing programs. Many communities have special programs to not only help people out of work but also have programs where people can have access to clothing donations and get back-to-work clothes at a discount.
3. Get back in the game online.
Do you already use LinkedIn, Indeed, or other career-related websites? If you are in certain industries deeply impacted by the Coronavirus, then you will likely see who is rehiring or restructuring as the situation calms. Now would be the time to update your own bio with a positive post and scope out who is hiring. Also, if you are already filing online, check out your state's unemployment board and look at the listings. You can prepare yourself for the online experience of finding work as well as the offline experience of preparing with your resume and wardrobe, etc.
Now, journaling or taking care of your mental health doesn't pay in the sense that it is not the same thing as getting gainful employment. However, it's likely that you experienced a lot during a period of quarantine or from losing a job. As you return to work, it would be the prime time to evaluate your goals and thoughts in writing. You should take a look at whether you want to find similar jobs or go in a different direction. At this time at home and as you interview, take a note of your mental health. If you need help adjusting or have had severe stress during the crisis, look up health professionals online, crisis numbers, or even mediation apps on your phone. By paying attention to your mental health, you will ensure that you are in the right place, emotionally, to return to work and be more likely to retain employment with stable mental health.
5. Follow existing safety protocols.
The main takeaway for people returning to work during the pandemic is to follow the CDC guidelines or those set by your employer. By being in compliance with company or government policies, then you will be keeping yourself as safe as possible on the job and making your community a great place for others. When you go back to work, whether you have a vaccine or otherwise, remember what you learned during the pandemic and you will have an increased awareness of public health.