As we watch the news, we are seeing how employers are reducing their employee hours, reducing salaries, furloughing or terminating employees. They are doing what they can to stay alive. Others have put their values to the test and have exercised true leadership by eliminating the salary of top executives or owners in an effort to take care of their employees and their families – a true testament of being a servant leader. One thing is clear, how you treat your employees during these challenging times will determine your brand and position in the marketplace.

This pandemic has placed thousands of people out of work in Puerto Rico. This means employers in all industries will see talent not generally available in the marketplace. This will make it more competitive for candidates to land their ideal job. As a candidate you may be thinking, how can I look for employment in these challenging times? How can I stand out from thousands of people looking for work? I am not here to tell you it will be easy; however, if you follow these three steps you will exponentially increase your chances to land the opportunity you want.

Build Relationships: The most effective way to look for a job or career you want today is through building relationships and networking with people in the industry or area you want to work. I understand you need something now to sustain yourself or your family, I get it; however, as you are working on the job that provides your needs consider working on the job or career you really want. Ask yourself, what skills do I need to develop? What knowledge do I need to gain? Are there mentors out there who can provide guidance about the industries and areas of work I want to enter? My suggestion is to find someone who is already doing what you want and reach out to them. Invite them for coffee, juice, water or whatever you want to conduct an informational interview. Essentially, ask them how they got to the place they are now. Be bold. For example, if your goal is to work in sales for Bacardi, find someone who works in sales in Bacardi through social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook or other means and reach out to them for a conversation. This is not the time to be timid and reserved. Most people want to help if you only ask. This is especially important, never underestimate the power of building relationships with people before asking them for something.

Add Value to Yourself: I was speaking with a candidate in Puerto Rico where he began to talk about how employers on the island need to increase the hourly rate. He mentioned that $8 or $10 dollars an hour simply does not work, that employers must raise the hourly rate. Here is what I said, while that may be true in certain cases, the real question is, what are you doing personally to increase your value in the marketplace? Are you taking free webinars, certifications, degrees, reading books? What are you doing to command a higher hourly rate or salary? What skills have you learned or are learning? How are you going to add value to that organization?

You see, the marketplace does not pay you by the hour – the marketplace pays you by the value you bring. The higher the value, the higher the pay. There is only one difference between a CEO of a company and the line worker, the answer is value. The CEO has a larger responsibility and brings more value. I am not suggesting that one person is more important than the other because of position – we are all equal in God’s eye. What I am suggesting is that professionally the marketplace has placed a certain value for skills and impact. What does this mean to you? Take charge of your career. First, find what you love to do and become the absolute best in the world at that craft – fall in love with the process. It is only when you have this mindset that you will take charge of your life and command higher salaries or hourly rate. Remember, make it about the employer and not you.

Attitude is everything: Here is something to remember. Great employers hire for attitude and train for skill. According to Mark Murphy author of a book called “Hiring for Attitude” he conducted a study that shows that somebody was a bad hire for attitudinal reasons 89 percent of the time. Lack of skills or technical competence only accounted for 11 percent of new-hire failures. When a new hire was wrong for a company it was due to attitude, not a lack of skills. Below are the skills you want to work on and develop:

  • Coachability: The ability to accept and implement feedback from bosses, colleagues, customers and others
  • Emotional Intelligence: The ability to understand and manage one’s own emotions and accurately assess other’s emotions
  • Motivation: Enough drive to achieve one’s full potential and excel in the job
  • Temperament: Attitude and personality suited to the job and work environment
  • Technical Competence: Functional or Technical skills required to do the job

As a result of today’s challenges with COVID-19, searching for the ideal job is extremely competitive. It requires the ability to connect with others, a take charge mindset and not a victim mentality, discipline, hard work, determination and the right attitude. Treat every conversation as an interview, carry yourself with excellence and be a solution minded person. It starts with you the job seeker. If you are in the job search, remember the three key areas: relationship building, add value to yourself and check your attitude. You work in these three areas relentlessly and it will be a matter of time when you will find the type of job that aligns with your skills, values and interests.

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