The COVID-19 pandemic has upended life as we know it. Over the past few months, millions of Americans have lost their jobs, filed for unemployment, and begun what feels like mission impossible: searching for a new job. While many companies placed a momentary hold on hiring, the job market has gradually begun to pick up leading to more open opportunities for employment. Whether you’re seeking a full-time or freelance job, we’re sharing key tips and best practices to help you land your next role in our new, socially-distant reality.
Fine-Tune Your Resume and Professional Materials
While you may be eager to jump at the open roles being posted, it’s important to first dust off your resume, cover letter, and any other relevant work that you may be submitting, especially if you were in your prior role for an extended period of time. Ensure your resume details out your most recent work experience, skills obtained, and specific examples of measurable successes. Once you’ve got a clean and updated resume, you’ll want to create tailored versions for each job you are applying to. With more people on the job market than we’ve seen in recent years, there’s more competition for every open role, so you want to ensure your resume stands out. Utilizing keywords from the job description could help you get to the next round as many applicant tracking systems will pick up on specific words and critical skills. Putting in the extra time here is key when looking to take your resume to the top of the stack.
Network Like You Mean It
Never underestimate the power of your network, especially during these turbulent times. Continuing to build your professional network online is a great place to start, but don’t stop there. Reach out to old colleagues, college alumni, and mentors to build rapport and discuss potential opportunities they may know about. While in person events, coffee meetings, and informational interviews may be at a standstill, utilizing video conferencing and phone calls to continue the conversation about your professional future is a great way to keep the momentum going. 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, our recruitment experts recommend taking extra care with your communication.
Do Your Research and Flip the Script
Doing research before hitting submit on a job application ranks high in importance during this time. When you come across a job of interest, look into what the company prides itself on. Is the company mission/vision statement aligned with your own beliefs? Do they give back to the community? What is their culture like? Taking a more focused approach in your search will help you narrow down what organizations you truly want to work for. Utilize tools like LinkedIn and the company’s website as well as review sites like Glassdoor to get a more well-rounded picture of the company you’re applying to.Once you’ve done your research, applied for the job, and landed an interview, it’s time to get to know the interviewer in the same way they are getting to know you as a potential employee. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about what the company stands for, as well as their management style while everyone is working remotely. The answers to these questions will help you make a more informed decision about where you want to work long-term. Our talent recruitment experts always recommend preparing questions ahead of an interview to show the hiring manager your level of interest in the role and that you did your homework.
While your resume may showcase your skillset and prior work experience, there is no better time to tell your professional narrative than in an interview. If you’ve used the last few months to learn a new tool or build upon an existing skillset, be sure to convey this to the hiring manager. Taking the initiative to develop professionally, shows that you are committed to personal and professional growth, and highlights your ability to remain on task while working-from-home. When pitching yourself, be sure to touch on the soft skills that set you apart from other candidates as well as any transferable skills you can take from your past experience and apply in this new role. Highlighting things like time management, organization, and the ability to communicate clearly show that you’re the type of candidate who will be successful working remotely.
Broaden Your Search
Many full-time candidates shutter at the idea of transitioning into a freelance role, but our freelance recruiters want to encourage you to keep an open mind while looking for a new position. If you come across a job that checks all the boxes but happens to be freelance – apply! By broadening your horizons in your search and taking on freelance work, you will undoubtedly learn new skills, make new connections, and have the opportunity to “try before you buy” to see if the job/company are right for you. Once you’ve begun to establish yourself in the freelance space, you’ll have a much stronger understanding of what it is you like and don’t like, which will ultimately help to be more satisfied and fulfilled in the long run.
Take Time for Yourself
Searching for a new job can feel like a full-time job in and of itself, and with today’s added stress and uncertainty, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. While staying dedicated and focused in your job search, don’t forget to make your own mental health a top priority. Set aside time to be screen free - take a walk, meditate, read a book, or do yoga. Whatever it may be, making time for yourself will help keep you balanced and at ease while looking for your next role. If the state of the world is stressing you out, you are not alone! Searching for a job and staying positive while doing so can feel overwhelming, but it’s doable. Know that the search will take time and be kind to yourself throughout the process.