Due to the impacts of the growing coronavirus pandemic, this is a very scary time for people all over the world. For many, the fear is related to their personal health and health of families. However, the widespread and still uncertain economic impacts of the pandemic are creating deep concerns about job security and the ability of many businesses to survive.

There is no doubt that facing unemployment during a pandemic creates another level of stress and anxiety. I wanted to share some tips about how to weather the storm.

But before doing so, I want to remind Darden alumni that the Alumni Career Services (ACS) team is here to support you during this time. All degreed Darden alumni have access to free career services for life through ACS. We have a team of coaches that offer one-on-one appointments to guide you through your unique career challenges, including unemployment.

Tip No. 1: Be Patient

There is only so much, if any, networking and interviewing you can do when the world is enforcing social distancing. Attempting to pursue business as usual might come across as insensitive. Don’t beat yourself up for not having a packed calendar. It’s not you! Instead, spend your energy reading up on your area of interest, staying current on events and impacts in your target space. Maybe take an online class. This is also a good time to contingency plan: Think about how you can make do if the search lasts significantly longer than you anticipate.

Tip No. 2: Worry Only About What You Can Control

There is a tendency for job seekers to worry intensely about too big a gap on the resume. I urge you to resist this natural temptation, because (1) employers care less than you think, and (2) there is nothing you can do about it. Of course, an unemployment gap is not ideal, but it is a reality for many. Employers’ primary goal is to find a candidate with the right skills and cultural fit for the job. If you’re that person, the gap matters much less. Layoffs happen. Everyone knows this. An extended gap during a time of crisis is a one-sentence-and-done explanation. You will recover. Keep your confidence up and let us help you if you are struggling with your story.

Tip No. 3: Take Care of Yourself

Keeping yourself fit and healthy — physically and mentally — is critical for job seekers. I cannot stress it enough. I see many clients, because of depression or feeling guilty about spending time away from the job search, let this part of their lives slide. This is when you need it the most. Feeling healthy and strong and maintaining positivity is not only good for you, but it will help you immensely when networking and interviewing resume. And they will.

We coaches in the Armstrong Center are thinking of you and care deeply about your well-being and success. If we can be of any assistance, please reach out to us. We are only a phone call or Zoom meeting away!

Contact ACS by emailing alumnicareerservices@darden.virginia.edu.