Covid-19’s impact on unemployment has been massive. The pandemic has halted current plans, destroyed small businesses, shifted company goals, closed offices, and disrupted entire industries.
The chaos, anxiety, and uncertainty of 2020 created a discouraging job market. Stanford University economist Nicholas Bloom estimated that one year ago, up to 1/3 of the workforce in America were not working at all.
Today, the outlook is significantly more optimistic. We are now facing a market ripe with possibilities, new career options exist that weren’t there before, and new profitable ventures are available for the taking. But how do you even search for a new job and find the resilience you need in times of adversity? That’s where we are here to help.
While less hiring means a more competitive search, these 5 job search strategies during a pandemic can provide you a strategic, intentional, and nimble approach to land a job that is perfect for you.
We can’t predict the future of this virus or the job market, but we adequately equip you with 5 strategies you need to gain some stability, confidence, and clarity to move forward.
- Be Ready to Pivot.
The companies that have proven successful during this pandemic have all learned the benefit of the pivot. You can do the same. Approach your job search with an open mind. No opportunities should be out of reach, and no skill should be above exploiting.
Start your search with a blank canvas. Don’t get too tied down to a specific position, industry, or looking for jobs you’ve done in the past.
Think clearly about your skills and background. What do you do well? Are you great at working on a team? Do you enjoy using social media? Are you creative? A leader? Take those skills and brainstorm how those could apply to a company’s needs.
Be flexible and consider temporary opportunities. Freelancing can be a great way to bring in some income while you search for your next career. Leverage any transferable skills to search for temporary options.
- Get a Digital Presence.
A résumé is no longer the golden nugget of the job search. Your personal brand is way more than a paper resume. It’s imperative that you are online, and you manage your “bits and bytes brand”.
Social media connects friends and families but can also connect you to the job you’re searching for.
According to a CareerBuilder study, 70% of employers look at social profiles when researching candidates. From there, about half found that their social media supported their chances of landing the job, while the other half did not. Manage your social media well. Keep it updated, focused, and impress those who are making decisions about you.
- Learn how to network online
Once you have your social media or online portfolio dialed in, leverage it to network online. One study from Washington State University found that 85% of available jobs are filled by leveraging some type of professional connection. Since many events will be canceled for a while, finding those connections online is critical. It’s not what you know, but often who you know that gets you the job you want. Start with Facebook and LinkedIn, where you’ll find a wide range of professional groups. Join the conversation, make yourself visible, and keep things professional.
Think of a job search the same way you might think about looking for a new product or restaurant. Talk to those around you, discover potential opportunities, and then do your research. Follow the social media accounts of potential employers, Retweet, and share their relevant posts or comment on their posts when you have something constructive to add. These are small ways to build a connection that could pay of huge later.
- Be patient with slower processes.
Understand that the job market right now is a long game. Try to be patient with yourself and with your employers. This is a tough time for us all. Many companies are experiencing challenges, budget changes, and developing new departments that didn’t even exist before. Recognize that processes may go slower than usual, as we are all trying to adapt to our new normal.
- Boost Your Skills
While the timing may not be immediate, don’t waste your time bingeing Netflix. Use your time to bolster your qualifications. As you look at potential job descriptions, pay attention to the required skills and experience. Determine what you need to brush up on, or how you can enhance your abilities.
For example, if you’re applying for a social media or marketing specialist, you may want to increase your experience with Google Analytics and Hootsuite. Look at free online courses from MOOCs or EdX classes as well as online computer training specifically in areas of digital marketing, website building, coding, data science, SEO, and social media. Having a few certifications under your belt will be helpful when applying for new roles in the online market.
We understand job hunting is never easy and the coronavirus pandemic is creating challenges unlike any we’ve ever seen. While economists are predicting a recession, career experts say it’s best to keep networking and applying to jobs you’re interested in. Even if they aren’t hiring today, they will be hiring eventually and when that time comes, you want them to recognize your name.
Danielle Beauparlant Moser, managing director and executive coach with bltCareers in Asheville, NC said, “The people who continue to relationship-build and share their ideas will be in a better position when companies start hiring.”
Be prepared for job openings to be put on hold or even disappear, but that doesn’t mean they won’t open again in a few months. You must learn to be flexible and stay optimistic while
actively working on your job search.
Mentally, it’s important to focus on what you can control, improving your skills, establishing an online presence, and reaching out to your network. Spend your time now to lay the groundwork so that when the crisis is over you have opened doors and rekindled relationships. This work will pay off big time when the employers are ready to rehire.