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Considering an Effective Job Search during Coronavirus Pandemic
Early in 2020, long before the pandemic and during a growth economy, the average job search was three to six months. (https://www.careerssidekick.com>average-job-search-time) How has the pandemic changed the job search and what are the most effective tools to compete in this unfamiliar terrain? I have combed through the most current expert advice on the matter and have compiled five tips to keep in mind when searching for a new position in today’s climate.
First off, consider the realities that companies are moving to remote working environments, economists are predicting a recession and you need to change your approach to acknowledge the new climate we all find ourselves in. Arianne Lockern, with Fast Company (https://www.fastcompany.com), goes on to add now is a good time to consider how urgent your job search is. Is there a way to make your current position more palatable while waiting for the job market to fully recover? Look for small ways to take advantage of this time, like a more flexible schedule or to restructure your job duties with your team. Even more important, prioritize activities that bring you joy and recharge your batteries.
Of course, if you have been laid off or furloughed, or were unemployed before COVID19 (https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus#tab=tab_1) hit, that is another story.
Tip number One: Search out industries that are hiring.
The pandemic has hit hard businesses like restaurants and retail but currently there are a lot of industries that are thriving and expanding that you can consider for an effective job search during the Coronavirus Pandemic. In addition, consider that some of the positions may be something that you pursue temporarily, while you are waiting for your ideal industries and companies to recover. There is honor in taking a position that simply pays the bills during these uncertain times. Industries that are currently hiring include Healthcare, Technology, Customer Service, Education, Sales and Finance. Also, do not overlook essential businesses (https://www.fastcompany.com>what-is-an-essential-business) like grocery stores and delivery. Action Item: Make a list of ten companies in your area that are either expanding industries or are essential businesses and make plans to reach out to them.
Tip number Two: Keep up to date regarding the major organizations in the field(s) you have interest in.
Conduct searches to see how these organizations have been affected by the pandemic. You also want to use social media to your advantage for an effective job search during the Coronavirus Pandemic. Follow the organizations you are most interested in on Linkedin, Facebook and Instagram. Instead of waiting for these companies to post job openings, you can go the search bar and type in hashtags such as #new job postings or #hiring and you can even enter those hashtags and place another hashtag behind them indicating a specific job title of interest to you. For example, #hiring #finance manager. Now is a good time to expand your knowledge of good companies to work for. Career strategist Ronda Ansted has produced a timely webinar on how to conduct a search most effectively. Action Item: Review this. (https://www.yotu.be/epT29AxGcrk)
Tip number Three: Shore up your network.
It is easy to let your network suffer during COVID19 but since most jobs are found via networking and referrals this would be a huge mistake. For instance, keep your Linkedin profile current. Join the conversation by signing up for professional groups (LinkedIn has thousands) in the field of your interest. On LinkedIn you can also post articles or comment on other individual’s articles. Where there is a back-and-forth conversation in these venues ask the person you’re having a conversation with for a virtual coffee over Zoom. In addition, you can search the directory of a company you are interested in and reach out to someone who holds a position that is the same as or close to a position of interest or you can reach out to the company’s hiring manager. Also, reach out to the Connectors in your life-the people who seem to know everyone- and have them put out feelers for new job opportunities. If you are a Connector yourself, then reach out to your network of contacts. Action Item: Join at least five LinkedIn groups related to your desired job and post or comment on something at least once a day.
Tip Number Four: Recession proof your resume.
Have a winning resume ready to go. Make it easy to customize for each job and apply to by creating a master resume and then remove everything that is irrelevant to the job. A Core Competency section is a strategic way to list important keywords to get through the Automated Tracking System (ATS) processes. Highlight your soft skills as well. Companies are looking for creative problem solvers, good communicators, in written and oral forms, and effective time management. Use a heading in your resume which sums up the position you are seeking and how you are uniquely qualified for it (something like “Detail-oriented Project Manager). List three key skills and include three to five bullet points for professional highlights section and make your professional achievements section as quantifiable as possible. Action Item: Set aside at least an hour each day to work on creating an up-to-date eye-catching resume. Focus on your accomplishments, not just your duties and responsibilities.
Tip Number Five: Use online tools to find your right job fit.
There are many online tools to help you begin a job search, craft a resume and find work. But even during a pandemic it is important to seek out a position that aligns with your values and overarching life goals. Research the companies you are interested in and consider whether their mission aligns with your personal vision. Seek out tools that help align your strengths with job descriptions that support them. Career Strategist Ronda Ansted at Be the Change Career Consulting (https://www.bethechangecareers.com) offers such coaching and has an online tool called My Career Design Studio (bethechangecareers.com>my-career-design-studio) that walks you through this process by identifying your assets, personality type, vision and creates a roadmap for analyzing the job opportunities which coordinate. Action Item: Come up with a personal mission statement that reflects your ideal work and consider how that matches up with your current skills, abilities and knowledge. There may be a gap between your ideal work and your current assets. This is a good exercise to highlight growth areas.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, during this time of national health crisis. Be patient. Focus on the positive. Conduct searches for companies in your field and see how the pandemic has hit them. Keeping abreast of this information and touching upon it with the person responsible for the hiring will demonstrate your sincere interest in the company and its well-being. If your interview is postponed, contact the interviewing party via email and offer the virtual interview option. If there is a hiring freeze, consider offering a contract or temporary position, as well as, staying open to freelance and part time opportunities. Remember conducting a job search is stressful. Even in times of abundant opportunity, let alone a pandemic. Practice self-care. Spend an hour a day doing something that feeds your soul. Call a friend, go for a walk, read a book or indulge in your favorite activity. These are unprecedented times and call for more creativity with regards to many essential areas in our lives. Your current job search is no exception. Practice these five tips, take solace that you are not alone and have confidence you are a journey worthy of undertaking that will lead to eventual success.
Find some more tips to help you in 2021 here: https://www.bethechangecareers.com/new-year-new-career-how-to-keep-your-resolution-for-a-new-job-in-2021/.