The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented amount of uncertainty in today’s job market. Furloughed and laid-off development, leasing and marketing executives are polishing up resumes, dusting off deal sheets and updating their LinkedIn profiles. Persistent networking will remain the key to finding new employment, advised recruitment experts on an ICSC webinar titled Preparing for Your Next Job Opportunity.
The newly unemployed fall into two categories: those who can afford to ride out the pandemic until business picks back up and those who need immediate work, said David Poline, president and CEO of Poline Associates.
For the first category, researching possible new jobs, investigating potential employers and networking with a broad range of colleagues is essential, Poline said. “If you can wait 30 to 60 days until things turn around, unique new roles and opportunities will pop up that weren’t there before,” he said. “The persistence of your networking will pay off.”
For the second category, job seekers should look to another asset class or to vendors that target the shopping center industry, such as landscaping or tech firms, said Mark Millman, CEO and founder of Millman Search Group. “Open-minded and flexibility is the order of the day,” he said. “Leverage your knowledge of the industry.”
The good news is shopping center development firms remain optimistic and plan to return to hiring after the current malaise, Poline said. “There are opportunities out there. Hiring is put on hold but not cancelled. Companies remain optimistic.”
Millman noted, “Real estate is not going away.” There are category types such as convenience stores and supermarkets that are surging and expanding, he added. “Retail is not going away.”
Poline and Millman weigh in on specific concerns below.
Am I too old for this job market?
Experience is key for companies that are hiring in the post-COVID-19 job market, and those companies are more than willing to hire older workers. “These companies don't have time to train someone. They need people who are ready to go,” said Millman, who says he has been placing executives in their 50s and 60s. “65 is the new 45,” Poline added. “Experience is important.”
Do you need a cover letter?
This is a traditional industry looking for traditional resumes, but cover letters are a thing of the past thanks to email, Poline said. A short paragraph summarizing your qualifications and interest in an email with your resume and/or deal sheet attached does the trick, he said. “A concise, good email can replace a cover letter.”
Is LinkedIn Premium service worth the $30 per month?
Yes, if you can afford it, Millman said. “There are going to be a lot of additional people in the job market who weren’t there 60 to 90 days ago,” he said. “And you have to do everything you can do to stand out. When you’re looking for a job, every connection matters.” Millman and Poline both said LinkedIn plays a big part in their recruitment efforts.
The webinar is available here (Chrome works best).
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By Brannon Boswell