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How to search for a job during the COVID-19 Pandemic

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The COVID-19 outbreak has upended life as we know it. Over the past few weeks millions of Americans filed for unemployment, many for the first time. Companies have had to put open positions on hold as they navigate the current crisis and plan for the future. This also means that many freelancers and creative professionals are currently in need of work, and the job hunt is more challenging than ever. But trust us: even in the current labor market, it's possible to find your next job while searching from home. As one of the world's leading creative recruitment agencies, we're here to offer some tips and best practices on how to find work in our new socially-distant reality. 

Do your research

The process of looking for a job can be overwhelming and it’s hard to know where to begin. We recommend starting off with some basic research. Think of companies that are likely to do well in today’s downturn and see who is hiring. Research industries that interest you, where you have experience, and where your skills are in-demand. While hiring has slowed or may even be frozen at many companies, others are still looking to fill critical roles or may even be growing. Don’t solely rely on the jobs listed on a company’s website. If there’s a brand that interests you, check out recent news about them and see what you uncover. You may learn that they’re expanding their customer service team or marketing department. It’s time to get creative with the way you search for jobs.

Fine-Tune Your Resume and Professional Materials

Before you start applying to jobs you want to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward. It’s time to dust off your resume, portfolio, cover letter and any other relevant work examples. You’ll want to make sure your resume details your most recent work experience including specific examples of measurable success where applicable. You’ll want to tailor your resume to each job for which you're applying, utilizing keywords and critical skills outlined in the job description. If you have a portfolio, make sure it showcases your most relevant work and is easy to navigate. You only get one chance to impress a hiring manager and suddenly there’s even more competition for open roles.

Keep an open mind

Depending on how quickly you’d like to move into your next role, we recommend opening yourself up to new possibilities. Consider applying to skills-relevant roles in other industries and try to focus less on title and more on responsibilities. Due to the unanticipated pandemic and its impact on employment, there are more applicants for every open role than we’ve seen in recent years. Staying flexible about what an opportunity might look like will help you land a job more quickly. We also recommend expanding your search to include remote positions and short-term roles (which can sometimes be easier to land than full-time ones). Set the expectation with yourself that the search for the perfect job will be different right now than what you’re used to and practice patience.

Network like it’s your job

Just because in-person events are canceled doesn’t mean you should put a pin in your networking strategy. You can continue to build your network online. However it’s not enough to add connections on LinkedIn or join meetup groups and call it a day. Start a meaningful and useful conversation with a former colleague or alumni from your school. Find relevant, timely ways to connect with people – forward a recent article you read or information about a trend you’ve noticed in your industry. If you take the initiative to develop deeper connections within your network, you’ll find that uncovering open jobs will happen more naturally. Keeping in mind the current climate and that your connections may be impacted in different ways, it's important to take extra care with your communication and not be overly pushy.A recruitment agency, like 24Seven, is a great resource to extend your network and supplement your job search. Our connections in the digital marketing and creative services  allow us to offer inside knowledge that has been honed over years of recruiting. If you’ve worked with a creative recruiter in the past, now is a great time to get back in touch and let them know that you’re actively searching.

Develop professionally

A great way to keep yourself motivated while you look for your next job is to build upon your skillset. There are so many free classes available online, whether you’re trying to grow your career in digital marketing, design or UX, there’s a course out there for you. Adding to your skillset will help keep you focused while also adding to your resume and elevating your personal brand. We also recommend signing up for webinars to learn what trends are emerging in your industry and potentially make new connections in your field. If you attend a really interesting webinar, follow up with a thank you message to the host or consider crafting a recap based on what you learned and sharing it in your networking efforts. These extra steps go a long way in setting you apart as a candidate and a professional contact in your field.

Take care of you

The job search is hard, and with the added stress and anxiety of a global pandemic, it's easy to get overwhelmed. So while it's important to work hard during your job hunt, don't forget to prioritize your mental healthMake time for yourself - whether to go for a walk, meditate, read a book, listen to music, do yoga. Practicing self-care is as important as applying to another job. Taking breaks throughout the day will help keep energy levels up and boost your morale.

Be available

Finally, there's one tip that's simple, but that many people forget: be available! We see so many freelancing or full-time candidates miss out on opportunities because they didn’t return a call or an email request for an interview. As you apply for jobs, make sure you give hiring managers your correct contact information. Regularly check your email and spam folders (without obsessing) and promptly respond to messages as you get them. It would be terrible to lose out on a job because your voicemail box was full. Looking for a job can be overwhelming on its own, but navigating your job search in today's climate adds a whole new level of stress. Try to stay positive and avoid burning yourself out. Know that this search will take time and be kind to yourself throughout the process.  If you’re looking for remote work, check out our openings here. And for more resources to support your job search click here.