To put it mildly, 2020 is not a good year…in fact it is a catastrophically bad year in so many ways. In the business world, there are a few people in niche industries who are excelling and doing extremely well during this pandemic. I think it is safe to say that the vast majority of people would say it is has been a terrible (if not the worst) year from a business standpoint.
There are fewer roles and more candidates in the market than I have seen in years. The good news is that companies are still hiring. The bad news is that there aren’t as many roles available as there were in March of this year. Businesses are trying desperately to get back to “normal” but “normal” is not what it used to look like at all.
I am seeing every level of salespeople affected by this pandemic. VP Sales, Director of Sales, Manager of Sales teams, business development reps and inside salespeople have ALL been affected. Layoffs, furloughs, cutbacks, and salary reductions are rampant. If you are with a start- up you may be working, but you may not be sure if or when you are going to get your next check.
For many, it is hard to get out of bed and get back to a job search when you have not only lost your job but then get rejected as you have embarked on finding your next role. How are you going to differentiate yourself? How are you going to find a job in an oversaturated market? How are you going to be seen as THE CANDIDATE for the job?
It may have been awhile since you were in the market for a new role, it might be that you are switching gears or that you are an entry level candidate. Whatever the case may be, I hope this will provide some insight to help you find your next position.
- Be targeted in your search and know what you want to do. Exude confidence. Where do you have the most skills? With hundreds of applicants for every job- if you are one of the lucky ones to get an interview, you will need to have your “elevator pitch” down. Recruiters and hiring managers aren’t mind readers, so be able to articulate what exactly you are good at and what you would like to do in your next job. Saying you “are open to anything” is not a good answer and you will not move forward in the process.
- You need an “In”- Who is your advocate? Time to build your network! Now more than ever you need someone to vouch for you. Who do you know at the company that is hiring? How can you get multiple people to say you are the right person for the job? If your network is not very big, it is time to grow it! People will talk right now and more people are open to conversations. This pandemic will come to an end and your new network will help you with your career in the future! Employers want people who know people so their risk is lower when they hire you.
- Be flexible on your salary and flexible in general! Forget what you made last year. Forget what you made in March of this year. It is completely irrelevant. You need to listen to the opportunity presented and really investigate the company and their history. If the job presented has a lower salary or the role is not your 100% ideal job, think about the future and growth opportunities. It may be the perfect job for you and a stepping stone during this pandemic.
- Be able to show your accomplishments and articulate them. Have you been successful and were just one of the company’s cutbacks during this crisis? Be able to provide numbers and back them up. What was your quota? Did you achieve it? What accounts did you sell? How did you rank among your sales team? Don’t hesitate to share your accomplishments. The data to back up your success helps you stand out from the rest. If companies have fewer roles, they are going to want to hire the best, not the middle of the road.
- Don’t let pride get in the way. Look at the big picture. I have seen this a lot. I have seen good candidates walk away from good jobs. Forget about the base salary. What is your realistic earnings potential? If you are out of work, it may be awhile before you have your next offer. Get back to work, build up your resume and make some money along the way!!
- Read, learn, and acknowledge that the world has changed- what’s next in your industry? I’m still learning about what industries are the “next industry”. One thing is for sure is the world will NEVER be the same. There is a “new normal” and some companies have figured it out. Spend countless hours researching, reviewing, and trying to spin how you are right for THOSE jobs. Now is the time to get out of the dead industries.
- Understand “Outside Sales Roles” do not exist right now. You aren’t getting on a plane anytime soon. If you have been a remote road warrior, your job as you knew it is paused for the time being. You will have to learn how to sell very differently than what you are accustomed. Zoom calls, GoToMeetings, Webex meetings etc are being used to replace face to face sales. Learning new avenues for selling, how to be much more efficient with time and how more sales can be made are pivotal for these positions.
- Have a mental outlet. The last thing you want to do is complain to a prospective employer about how you got “screwed” at your last job. It may sound crazy, but it happens all the time and trust me, nothing good comes out of it no matter how unjust the end of your tenure was. Reach out to a friend, spouse, colleague to process how you are feeling about and dealing with job loss and uncertainty. Depression is real and so is anxiety. This world we live in now is very prone to both of those. Have an outlet to discuss your frustrations and you will appear much better in an interview.
- Learn how to interview with Zoom. Like outside sales- face to face interviewing is non-existent. You will have to learn how to interview over the computer and do EVERYTHING virtually (including onboarding). Learn how to talk into the computer (not cell phone) and interview. It is the new normal for the time being.
- Pay for a resume writer and have someone help with your LinkedIn profile. Many of you reading this have an extraordinarily strong sales background. My suggestion is to have several different copies of your resume. One could be for a managerial job. One could be for a sales “hunter” role. You might need some help so employers won’t think you are “overqualified”. A resume writer is essential during this time and a recruiter is probably not your best bet for advice in rewriting.
In conclusion- I truly wish you the best. This is a challenging year and we will get through this! Our prayer for you from Bulls Eye is that you can not only survive, but thrive in 2020. There are employers hiring and hopefully this will help you get back to work!