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By Hanniz Lam

The pandemic hit a lot of people in the workforce particularly hard. 

Industries most affected by the pandemic were those in the hospitality line. When restaurants and hotels closed their doors in recent years, employees lost jobs.

Some of us used the pandemic to reflect on our lives and quit jobs on our own accord as we seek more fulfilling careers amid the Great Resignation.

Aligning your passions with your career isn’t that simple. For example, many of us must balance competing priorities, like the desire for greater flexibility with the need to develop new skills for a new career path.

It is easy to try getting the low hanging fruit, jobs that are paying much less than what we used to get. However, this can lead to self loathing and the loss of motivation to perform your best. 

Along with not lowering your standards (unless you’ve tried and tried and are unable to get any job for months), the following tips can help you get in the best position possible to reenter the workforce with a career that better aligns with your life:

RESEARCH ROLES THAT SUITS YOU
Make a list of what’s most important to you. Flexible hours, less travel time, hybrid environment? All these considerations matter, but you might not find a job that checks every box. Prioritizing wants and needs can help you find the closest fit.

Perhaps finding a role where your work and commitment are directly tied to your paycheck is better. It’s easier to stay motivated and happy at work when your passions and talents are recognized and rewarded. 

Make sure to research the companies you’re applying to. Find out about their values — do they align with yours? Researching a company’s website and social media pages is a great start to identifying whether your values align with the company’s.

This also benefits potential employers, as 98% of employers believe a culture and value match is critical for a successful business relationship.

LEVERAGE YOUR NETWORK
As you’re considering your options, see if any friends or family can help you get connected within the companies that they may be working for that is not in direct competition with their jobs, of course.

From there, branch out into broader personal and professional connections.

KEEP UP-TO-DATE WITH WORKFORCE TRENDS
As hard as it is to believe, it’s an employees’ market right now, so make sure you take advantage of it. Companies are finding it difficult to find good candidates. Don’t be afraid to state your needs. Workers have the flexibility to pass up on offers that don’t provide sought-after benefits like continuous work-from-home and competitive salary.

Along those lines, brush up on your negotiating skills. It’s important to understand that the working landscape has probably changed while you were gone.

It’s become more commonplace for employers to have to share salaries in job listings. If they don’t, consider asking them early in the interview process. Your time is important; don’t waste it on opportunities that won’t support you.

Also be wary of companies that ask you to send a detailed proposal in order to gauge your skills. Let them know that you will need to charge them for your time and if they hire you, you will then merge this cost into your salary. You cannot work for free and not get hired!

So take a breath and get ready to jump back into the marketplace. The pandemic may have affected a lot of us, but it’s also given us time to reflect and realign, setting ourselves up for greater success in the future.

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