By Anne Evenson
“The difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is how you use them.”
As the coronavirus pandemic stretches on into an indefinite future and unemployment rises higher than it was for most of the Great Depression, things might seem particularly bleak right now if you’re looking for work.
You might assume that no one is hiring for the foreseeable future and wonder if it’s even worth your time to continue sending out your resume. While it’s true that economists are predicting a recession, career strategists recommend job seekers continue to network and apply for jobs. Here are some techniques you can use as you pursue employment during this economic slowdown.
Do Your Research
Take time to gather information about employers and industries who are actively hiring during this time. While some companies are eliminating positions and furloughing workers, others are searching for new employees.
A recent survey by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) shows that , and Covid-19 has underscored the urgent need for healthcare interpreters specifically. Other sectors showing growth include finance, technology, retail and essential businesses. You’ll find regularly updated lists of companies currently hiring on LinkedIn, Indeed and the Wall Street Journal. Remember to check your local chamber of commerce as they often work closely with your local workforce agency.
The Covid-19 crisis also offers you a unique opportunity to study company culture. Search for media coverage about an organization and follow them on social media to learn how their leadership is handling this crisis and how they treat their employees. Are they allowing employees to work remotely? How are they supporting their workforce in other ways? How many people have they laid off or furloughed? Check Indeed’s 2019 list of top-rated workplaces.
All of this information will benefit you when you do get an interview because you can demonstrate your knowledge of the company and the challenges they’ve faced dealing with this crisis.
Update Your Resume & LinkedIn Profile with “Remote-Friendly” Terms
Because so many people are working from home right now, and many companies have transitioned to doing business digitally, it’s important to indicate that you have the experience and ability to work remotely, too.
Be sure to cite specific video conferencing platforms and reference your familiarity with file-sharing tools like Google Docs or Dropbox. Describe situations where you worked remotely and use examples like, “Directed a remote team of ten colleagues across various time zones from a dedicated home office.”
Highlight other applicable job-related skills such as technical self-sufficiency, proper time management, or clear written communication that prove you can be just as productive working from home as you would in an office.
Find Ways to Connect
The majority of people find job postings through networking, so it’s critical to build solid professional connections online by developing your digital networking strategy. Engage with prospective employers by following their social media accounts. Retweet and share related posts and add to the conversation by commenting on their posts. Look for virtual events or professional groups on Facebook and LinkedIn and start conversations with like-minded professionals. Post, comment and share relevant articles and contribute to discussions on topics that allow you to demonstrate your expertise.
Remember that networking is not a one-time interaction, like contacting someone to ask if they’re hiring, but a professional relationship that you establish with people in your field. If you need to brush up on your networking skills, we recommend Kim Caldwell’s three-step approach.
Define Your Strategy for Success
It can be challenging to remain motivated during a job search. Having a well-defined plan will help you stay focused, productive and in control.
Make a list of short term and long-term goals and actively work towards them every day so you can track your progress and keep moving forward in the right direction. For example, “I will research four companies this week,” or “I will reach out to a peer on LinkedIn who works at an organization I admire to exchange ideas.” Focus on things you can control, like improving your skills, compiling research, or expanding your network.
Increase your resilience so you can bounce back from difficult situations. Self-care is essential to keep you from feeling overwhelmed and dispirited during your job hunt. Maintain your mental and physical health by making time every day for exercise, nutritious foods and visits with people who support you.
Contemplate Your Career Path
Before you begin your job search, take time to reflect on your past work experience. Revisit your career plan to gain clarity about what kind of organization you want to work for and the role you are seeking. Do you want to continue in the same position, or is now the right time to learn new skills and launch a new career? Do you feel inspired by the job postings you’re considering? Do the values of the organizations you’re considering align with your values?
Job hunting can be daunting even during the best of times, but try not to be discouraged. Take heart in the fact that companies are adjusting to this new world we live in and that this situation will not last forever. In the meantime, we hope you’ll find LinkedIn’s collection of videos about finding a job during challenging economic times helpful.
Anne Evenson is a native Austinite and a proud Veteran’s spouse with over 20 years of marketing, communications and program coordination experience in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. She is also a sculptor, jeweler and all-around dabbler in the arts and loves to help military-connected individuals discover their inner creativity.
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