Jess Sato, business coach and co-founder of 2 Smart Girls, shares why she believes the pandemic (or any time of transition) is actually a good time to act on switching jobs or industries.
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Tell us a little about yourself!
I’m Jess Sato, and I live in Colorado Springs, CO, with my husband of 18 years, our two kids, and our Shih Tzu, Amira. As a family, we are avid hikers, mountain sport addicts (think rock climbing and all manner of snow sports), and love being outside.
In 2018, I co-founded 2 Smart Girls, a business coaching consultancy designed to help female professionals leap into entrepreneurship and go to business the right way. My mission is to show women they can build a life of freedom, flexibility, and fulfillment—on their terms—and believe they deserve it.
Between all that, a ridiculous reading habit, and the occasional Netflix binge, my hands are blessed and full.
Is the middle of a pandemic a good time to be looking for a new job?
Job searching, no matter the time of year, is often a lengthy and sometimes taxing process, and there’s a lot of comfort to be had in a stable job when everything around you feels chaotic. With that said, there are a number of good reasons to look for a job during the pandemic (or during any transitional phase in your life).
Times of transition invite you to get really curious about your life and the work you’re doing. If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that life is too short to spend day in and day out doing work you don’t love. The news may make it seem that there’s a lot of doom and gloom, but on a practical level, companies are hiring, and in many cases are in dire need of workers. Debora Roland, the vice president of human resources at CareerArc, noted in late 2020 that there are many sectors where the need for new employees is rapidly growing, especially in the digital entertainment, technology, online learning, and essential healthcare industries.
And if after careful reflection a traditional job isn’t for you, you can look into starting your own business and being your own boss. Just make sure to surround yourself with a strong personal board of directors who get your vision and want you to be successful.
What are the biggest challenges a woman faces when looking for a new job, pandemic or not?
Hands down the biggest challenge women continue to face is with respect to maternity. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 80 percent of working women will become pregnant at some point in their lives, and for companies, that means extended absences and job flexibility. While there are laws in place to protect women, including the Family Medical Leave Act, companies may opt for a man over a woman when hiring.
Additional challenges include the desire or need for flexible work arrangements and women who return after extended child rearing absences. In cases like this, I recommend reworking your resume to include volunteer roles and part-time work so there aren’t big gaps in your work history. A resume writer can be a huge asset here, so don’t be afraid to invest in yourself and your career.
What would you suggest any professional do to make themselves as “attractively hirable” as possible?
First impressions are incredibly important, so make sure your cover letter and resume use clear, natural language, are free of typos, and are tailored to the job and company for which you are applying. Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn. This isn’t the time for humility; clearly articulate and quantify (where possible) your accomplishments.
In business, they say fortune is in the follow-up and it’s also true in the job search. Most hiring managers are expecting you to follow-up so don’t be afraid to reach out and check-in. This can be one of the factors that separates you from the pack.
Above all else, be yourself. Show up with confidence and believe that you’re the candidate they need.
Jess Sato is the co-founder of 2 Smart Girls, a business coaching consultancy created by women for women who want to create wildly successful businesses on their terms. Jess brings years of both corporate and entrepreneurial experience to her work coaching and supporting women launching their own businesses by offering frameworks, real-talk, tools and education, support and accountability to successfully transition from corporate life to leading a successful business.