Lost your job? What you need to ask yourself to secure a new role amid Covid-19

There are four questions to answer before you decide your next career move, says Zach Holz

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A number of people have contacted me in recent days to find out how they can make money after losing their jobs amid Covid-19. They are seeing carefully built jobs and careers evaporate through no fault of their own, and it can be enormously stressful and terrifying. In situations like these, people can and will turn to any possible port in a storm, and hopefully that port will be able to help them.

Think about how your skills and knowledge from previous jobs or hobbies can combine to open doors in new fields you haven't considered.

While I'm honoured those facing desperate times trust me enough to ask for my advice, without knowing more detail about their situation I can't be the compass that guides them. While it's comforting to think that someone else will tell us what to do and it will work, the reality is that no matter the person's expertise, they don't know us like we know ourselves.

So instead of giving you a prescriptive set of steps for what you should do if you find yourself unemployed or underemployed, here are four key questions you need to ask yourself to help you decide how to get yourself financially unstuck in this pandemic era:

What skills do you have? 

Your skill set can come from your most recent role or a job you've had in the past. If you recently lost your job, could you return to a previous employer? Talk to people at companies you have worked at in the past; even if they don't offer you something you love, getting a pay cheque right now may trump perfect professional fulfilment.

Think about how your skills and knowledge from previous jobs or hobbies can combine to open doors in new fields you haven't considered. For example, my love of writing as an English teacher and my passion for personal finance led to me penning this column you are reading right now.

What are your passions?

What have you always wanted to do? What are the things you've been obsessing over or creating in your spare time? Is there anyone you know doing your passion as a job? Talk to them and see if there's a set of steps that can turn your hobby into a full-time vocation.

This could be a chance to pivot in your life, to try something you never had the courage to try before and launch a new career. This option becomes a real possibility if you have some money saved up and can take the time needed to do the groundwork required to break in to a new field.

What are you willing to do? 

The sectors hiring right now include those where face-to-face contact is the norm, such as health care, food services or delivery. This can be a scary proposition in the time of a pandemic. But if you are desperate to earn, you may want to think about a riskier career choice, even if staying away from others would be more comforting. Only you know your risk tolerance; figuring this out will help you filter out jobs you think are too risky.

What does your community need?

While we are all dealing with the choppy economic waters of this pandemic, that's not to say we are all in the same part of the ocean or on the same type of boat. Look around you to see what the specific economic needs are in the area you live in now, as well as where you're willing to relocate to.

Talk to recruitment agencies and HR people that know what sectors are hiring at the moment. It's OK to apply for roles that you don't think you're particularly qualified for. The President of the US was a reality TV host before his present gig, so who's to say you can't switch careers to something unexpected?

It's a difficult time for everyone at the moment and some people are in worse situations than others. If you are having a tough time, figure out your answers to the questions above. Stop any spending that isn't truly necessary to give yourself the financial leeway to work out what to do in the new Covid-19 landscape and economy. Also, network like crazy and if you still have a job, do everything in your power not to lose it. This is a time to be flexible and willing to take on new challenges.

Dubai schoolteacher Zach Holz (@HappiestTeach) documents his journey towards financial independence on his personal finance blog The Happiest Teacher