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Launching A Successful Job Search During Difficult Times

Many individuals are facing job loss and uncertainty during this difficult time. Although a job search presents obstacles under normal circumstances, during a pandemic it can feel daunting. An important part of a job search during difficult times is to remain flexible and open to different opportunities.

Evaluate Your Job and Financial Situation

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What is your current situation? Are you currently working from home and concerned about losing your job? Have you lost your job and if so, is it temporary or permanent? Even if you are currently employed, it’s always a good idea to have an updated resume and to be ready to look for work. During difficult times, consider your financial situation and determine if you need to start proactively tightening your belt and where you can start reducing your expenses.

How Do I Build My Network?

Staying in touch with former colleagues, managers and contacts you made through the years helps them keep you in mind for potential opportunities that may be a good fit. Social network vehicles are making it easier to reach out to those in your network and to expand that network even further. Look to optimize your LinkedIn profile so hiring managers and recruiters can find you during their search for viable candidates. Become more active in sharing or liking posts, contributing your thoughts and taking full advantage of the resources and networks available. Hiring managers like individuals that actively engage and make an impact.

How Do I Get More Traction on My Job Search?

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Organizations are adapting to the social distancing and holding virtual events including online job fairs and other events to engage potential candidates. Whether you are actively or passively looking for a job, these events will become more commonplace and it is in your best interest to embrace them. More effort is required to show enthusiasm and shine during virtual interviews. It’s important to make sure your technology is in working order and that you practice putting your best foot forward virtually. You may already be participating in teleconferences for work meetings. Being more engaged and actively participating in those meetings will better prepare you for presenting yourself virtually.

Mervat Elschwarby, lead Resume Writer and Career Coach from NYC Resume, Interview & Online Prep state “Virtual job fair interviews can give you only minutes to present yourself to hiring managers so it’s essential that you nail your elevator pitch. You must be able to effectively present yourself as a strong candidate sharing a relevant, concise, and compelling pitch.” Some resume writers and career coaches offer Skype mock interviews, so you have a chance to practice and receive expert feedback in a safe and more comfortable environment. It’s definitely worth the investment especially if you are having doubts about how you interview.

In this competitive job market, you want to have every advantage available to surpass the competition. Applying for as many jobs that fit at least some of your criteria is the way to go right now in the current environment. Don’t expect to check all the boxes. This does not mean that you take whatever comes along. During job interviews, you have a chance to explore what the company is like, and if you feel it will be a good fit. You may be surprised. The role that you weren’t initially excited about may turn out to be a perfect fit.

Practice Patience

It’s basic supply and demand. Unemployment rates are rising therefore there’s more competition in the job market. Adjust your expectation levels so they are more realistic for what’s going on in the job market right now. It will likely take you longer to find a job. The hiring process will slow down because of a variety of internal factors including creating a virtual recruitment strategy. Couple that with the fact that there’s more competition. It helps to know upfront that your search will be more challenging. It also depends on where you are in your career. There are fewer positions available as you move up the ladder. There are more entry and midlevel positions than in senior management roles.

Why Should I Expand My Skill Set?

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Doing your research is critical to finding out what types of jobs are available. This will give you a sense of what direction you want to take in your job search. If you have a broad skill set that applies to different positions, that’s great. If you don’t, think about how you can expand your skills. Some organizations are offering free or lost cost webinars and training at this time. Video tutorials are available as well to learn new skills. Now is a good time to look at different job postings and identify where you are lacking. Typically, job requirements are listed in order of importance and the rule of thumb is to meet 80 percent or so of those skills overall and all of the skills at the top. If you notice an essential gap, then develop a strategy on closing that skill gap. If you are at home and have free time, use that time wisely to make yourself an even more attractive job candidate.

How Do I Stand Out in A Competitive Job Market?

There are a number of elements necessary for a successful job search. In essence, a standout resume and LinkedIn profile and strong interview skills are critical. Furthermore, you must take a disciplined approach to your job search. If you are searching for work, that becomes your job. Creating a plan of action that involves what activities you will perform each day and sticking to that schedule is of vital importance. Applying for a handful of jobs every week just won’t cut it.

During difficult times, you also want to be open to options you may not have considered in the past. Some companies and industries are really struggling during this pandemic while others are prosperous. Do your homework and identify companies and fields that are hiring in large numbers. Shift your focus and tailor your resume for those specific opportunities. Have an integrated job search that includes all the elements outlined above. Be realistic in your expectations and try to be patient and positive throughout your search.
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About Suzan Vega