Leveraging Your Career Opportunities as the Pandemic Ends

By: Pam Barker, RELIA Solutions

A lot has changed in the past year for all of us in many ways. That includes how we manage our careers, interview and change jobs. In July of 2020, I wrote an article about what was happening with career management and job hunting at the onset of the pandemic. Some things have gone back to “normal” and some things have not. So, I thought this would be a great time to discuss what the employment front looks like now.

Pent Up Demand: Pent up demand is one of the most highly anticipated economic forces to come as a result of the pandemic ending. Yes, you see it on the news, but the focus is mostly on pent up demand for travel. People who love to travel – fly, cruise, explore are ready to get back to it. But they are not alone. There is a huge pent-up demand for you! Yes YOU!! We all know that there was a shortage of histotechs before the pandemic and that there was a shutdown that affected us all but ever since non –essential surgeries were no longer suspended the histology employment market has been absolutely booming. Employers have rehired employees. They have contingency plans for your security if this were ever to occur again. They are expanding their staffs, remodeling their labs, and opening new ones. Sign on and relocation bonuses are available and more generous than ever before.

Relocation: Let’s face it, for most of us the pandemic has meant sticking close to home but here’s the thing – there are a lot of amazing opportunities out there NOW with companies that are paying very generous relocation packages and are being very flexible with start dates. So, because most people are sticking close to home if you are considering relocation now is the time to act. Relocation could be a good way to get closer to family that you haven’t seen during the pandemic which is the biggest motivator for most people considering relocation right now. Another consideration has been, how has your state handled the pandemic? People are choosing to make a move because of how the pandemic was handled in their state – shutdowns, vaccine distribution, children’s education etc.

The Interview and Hiring Process: Some things are still in flux and some things are the same. My hope is that you can take this information and leverage it with your talent and experience and make the best possible career decision for YOU. Are you ready for a job search? Here are some things to consider when considering a job change during this transition back to “normal life”:

  • Video Interviews vs. In Person interviews: Nearly everyone that I know who has interviewed in the past year has done so on a video call. Many employers have used the video interview in lieu of an onsite visit. Are you comfortable with making a job change without an onsite visit? It’s really a personal preference. If you are comfortable with the idea, I suggest that you request multiple video calls so you can meet the staff and have them also do a video tour of the actual lab so you can get a feel for it. This also means that if you are relocating to a new area you will have to do your research on the area on your own. If you are not comfortable with making a job change from a video interview and would prefer an onsite interview you are in luck! With the pandemic restrictions easing in most areas, you can request an onsite interview and, in most cases, they will agree to it and pay for it. Be aware of the restrictions in the state you live in AND the state you are traveling to and you should be fine.

  • A Different Shift: Has your lifestyle changed during the pandemic and might a different shift better suit you now? The shift differentials are generous for 2nd and 3rd shift and if you are willing to consider those shifts you can pretty much go anywhere. How about 4- 10 hour shifts instead of 5 – 8 hour shifts. You never know until you ask.

Resumes and References: Just a few things to consider on these subjects.

  • Resumes: Don’t be afraid to list your current position along with having been laid off due to the pandemic. It happened to a lot of people. Be prepared in the interview to tell the interviewer about any reading, studying or research, any personal improvement that you feel is relevant to your career or bettering yourself. If you haven’t done this kind of stuff it’s ok. We all were just trying to survive educating our children remotely, cancelling important events, isolating from others etc. It hasn’t been easy for anyone and interviewers realize this and they empathize.

  • References: Now more than ever you need to contact your references and make sure that they know you are giving them as a reference to an employer. At the very least, their situation and or contact information may have changed. A personal call to your references is a necessity and a professional courtesy. Plus, you get to catch up with them and if you give them an idea of the position you are interviewing for, they will be able to speak more knowledgeably and enthusiastically about you.

The Impact of Social Media: The impact of social media is never more apparent than now. There are so many controversial issues and subjects. Please understand that I am not asking you to curb your freedom of speech or telling you how to run your personal life. However, consider this, most if not all employers check your social media – NOT just LinkedIn. They will look at LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and any other social media platforms that you are on that they can access. Employers don’t really care what your opinions are when they look at your social media accounts. What they do care about is how you express them. Things like, are you inflammatory in your posts or replies? Are you easily offended and express your outrage freely? If this is how you express yourself online how do you behave in person? Do you see where I am going with this? In my opinion, if you don’t want to be judged by your social media set your accounts to private or scrub them.

Bottom line, I have observed that many people have been able to leverage the current, very urgent need, for histotechs everywhere. So if now is the time for you to consider a job change, I hope that my observations of the current histology job market will be useful to you.

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