As the world was subsumed by the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020, furloughs and layoffs became the trend, especially in industries hardest hit by the shutdowns. Fast forward to today and vaccines hold the promise of a reinvigorated economy. In this shortcastEmily Reynolds is joined by two BPI group senior career transition coaches, Lyn Edwards and Diane Frisch, to discuss what the landscape looks like for transitioning professionals as the market begins to open up. 

Transcript: Career Transition in a Post-Covid World

Emily Reynolds: Welcome to taking the lead, a podcast where we talk with top business leaders about the challenges and opportunities they face in today’s marketplace. I’m your host, Emily Reynolds, managing director of career transition services at BPI group. We’re here today to talk about career transition in a post-COVID world.

It goes without saying that today’s job market and career choices look vastly different today than they did a year ago. As the world was consumed by the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020, right- sizings and layoffs became the trend, especially in industries hardest hit by the shutdowns, such as hospitality, aviation, commercial real estate, to name a few. Millions of employees at all levels endured job losses. In addition to involuntary separations, many people used this moment in time to proactively reflect on and reevaluate the next chapter in career and life. And we’ve noticed a significant uptick in those seeking a next act or a divergent or unexpected path. Fast forward to our spring of 2021. Vaccines hold the promise of a re-invigorated economy. In today’s short cast, we’re joined by two of our senior career transition coaches, Lyn Edwards, and Diane Frisch, to discuss what the landscape looks like for transitioning professionals as the market begins to open up. Lynton Edwards, prior to being a coach with BPI group, enjoyed time as a CEO and president in the business world, a managing partner, then that led to entrepreneurial work.

Similarly, Diane Frisch was a senior executive of human resources with several very major corporations in the U.S. and globally. So, I welcome Lyn and Diane today and look forward to a conversation with them. So, hi to both of you.

Diane Frisch and Lyn Edwards: Hello.

Emily Reynolds: Diane, I’ll start with you and just kind of explore a question. In your view, what do you think has changed in terms of the job market in the past year?

Diane Frisch: Emily, working with clients over the past year, the pandemic as difficult as it’s been for people in terms of jobs and loss of jobs, I think it’s been a tremendous opportunity for people to look at their careers and see what’s really important to them. So, a lot of my clients, we start off thinking, okay, let’s secure full-time employment, but there’s a lot of pause and evaluation of what’s really important to them going forward. And you mentioned the next act – I think a lot of the people I’m working with are really asking themselves some fundamental questions, which is, do I want to go back into a large corporate environment and work very tough, long hours? Or is this a period of opportunity for me to think about something else?

Emily Reynolds: Lyn, what are you seeing in terms of changes in the job market or developments in the past year?

Lyn Edwards: Well, there’s always been a difference in the industries in terms of the dynamics of the job market, but with this virus, that has just gotten extremely intense, where there were some industries that are booming. I mean, hyper-growth industries. Some industries that are just sort of holding their own. And as you mentioned, there are some that just were decimated. And, so I think that this has just put intensity or increased pressure on the difference in industries, which is affected some people obviously more than others. And I think has had people thinking as they go forth, whether it’s time for a change in terms of their industries that they’re in, rather than staying in the industry that they have been in and have been hurt by that, you know, sort of broadening their perspective to say there are other industries that I should be looking at in terms of where my skills may be transferable.

Emily Reynolds: Diane, what advice do you give to people in transition who may have been networking virtually and now need to transition to in-person networking?

Diane Frisch: I think flexibility on all sides is going to be important. I mean, I think the companies that people are interviewing with, I think they have to clarify and articulate expectations. And I think companies are struggling with that. You know, you hear about companies are saying, everybody must be back in the office. A lot of the financial organizations are saying it’s time to get back. Other companies are saying, well, I think we can work remotely. I think to the individual that is in transition, I think they have to ask themselves what’s really important to them in their job search. And are they willing to make a move to a city, for example, or is there a way to work with the new employer to do something remote where almost a hybrid type of approach.

Emily Reynolds: Yes. And we were hearing during the pandemic that this geographic determiner had fallen by the wayside and it actually increased the pool of candidates for hiring companies because the geographic piece had sort of vanished temporarily, at least.

Lyn, do you have anything to add? And are you finding that people are maybe having a bit of a struggle or how do you coach them and, and counsel them as they’re now going back to in-person networking and that sort of thing?

Lyn Edwards: Well, on a lighter side, telling them they need to get their business casual clothes back out because you’re going to of be wearing them more. Interviewing in person certainly is sitting there looking somebody in the eyes, answering their directly, but it’s also a thing about body language, which is what I watch when I’m interviewing somebody, besides watching other things. But I am noticing their body language and with Zoom that is almost impossible to tell. And, so I think they’ve got to get back into the routine of whatever image they want to present. They’ve got to do it a whole-body way to show interest, to show enthusiasm, to make their points in, to make sure you’re looking somebody in the eyes.

I think in some cases in Zoom, somebody people would have two screens. They’re looking at one screen and they’re not looking at the person, the interviewer in the eyes. And I just think that’s a real issue. At least when I’m interviewing, I wanted to connect with somebody eye-to-eye and the remote processes have made that more difficult.  think they need to get back to that and remind themselves that that is important if they’re going to differentiate themselves in an interview, how they come across in that emotional, intelligent way, I think could, could be a real type of report.

Emily Reynolds: Well, this has been a great conversation with both of you and so appreciate your insights, your experience, and what you are observing out there as we’re all in this very unusual time of post-pandemic. Thank you, Diane. Thank you, Lynton. Such a pleasure.

Diane Frisch and Lyn Edwards: Thank you.