Job Searching During A Crisis? Here Are 7 Things You Need To Know
In the past four weeks, more than 22 million Americans filed for unemployment. People across all industries have been impacted in some way either through losing their job or having their hours reduced. As unemployment surges, gig workers and the self-employed are also struggling to keep their businesses afloat. Funding for small businesses ran out faster than anticipated leaving the self-employed and gig economy with no other option than to join the millions of other workers seeking work.
Data published by C Space, sponsored by Monster, revealed more than a third (34%) of employees are actively seeking a job, though confidence is low. The job search process will undoubtedly prove to be difficult for college seniors, some gig workers, self-employed and the unemployed. If job seekers want to prevail, they need to be adaptable, persistent and have a strong mindset to overcome mass rejections.
Here are seven things to help job seekers be successful in their job search during this crisis.
Explore Alternative Possibilities
Candidates shouldn’t overlook the possibility of contract, temporary or gig roles. Additionally, they should remain open-minded about flexible hours. Brandi Frattini, Talent Acquisition Manager at CareerBuilder, recommended “job seekers should also look for opportunities in other businesses within similar sections where the demand is growing.”
Focusing on in-demand industries and companies such as healthcare, telecommuting software, shipping and delivery services, tech support, warehousing and logistics and food supply chain are great ways to increase one's chance of finding a job.
CareerBuilder released new data-sharing current in-demand companies and jobs.
The top businesses hiring are:
- Dollar General
- Decker Truck Line
- Home Depot
The jobs with the highest growth are:
- Financial analysts and advisors
- Sales (retail and insurance agents)
- Customer services representatives
- Data entry and administrative support
- Managers (frontline, project, etc…)
- Truck drivers
There are alternative ways to gain experience while job searching. Unpaid opportunities provide invaluable experience and keep skills relevant while job hunting. For this reason, job seekers shouldn’t overlook internships, apprenticeships, volunteering or organizing virtual efforts such as masterminds.
Ditch Desperation, Lead With Purpose
Competition for jobs is higher than normal resulting in heightened emotions for everyone. Monster conducted another poll and found 73% of employees are experiencing mental health stress such as depression due to the impact of the Coronavirus. Common advice is to spend eight hours a day applying for jobs. The job search process should be about quality over quantity. Additionally, when a job seeker is burnt out, their effort is affected. Avoid burnout by prioritizing self-care through walks, short breaks and anything that can help increase motivation and energy. Don’t become discouraged with the belief that finding a job isn’t possible. It is, but it will require extra patience.
Most job seekers act out of desperation and accept the first job offer without doing their due diligence. As someone who was bullied by my HR boss, I know the consequences of accepting a position out of desperation. The immediate income wasn’t worth the experience or the impact it had on my health. Thoroughly research the company, ask specific questions during the interview and make sure all red flags and doubts are addressed before accepting.
Leverage And Cultivate An Online Network
The old adage “it’s not what you know but who you know” still holds true even during a crisis. If ever there was a time to focus on leveraging and cultivating a network, it’s now. Due to social distancing, people are more receptive to virtual connections than before. LinkedIn is an underrated platform that helps bridge the gap between job seekers and employers.
Job seekers can utilize LinkedIn to seek out organizations and opportunities they’re interested in and reach out to people currently working in that department or company. While LinkedIn has more than 20 million open job listings, 80% of new jobs are never posted because they’re found or created through networking. According to the Undercover Recruiter, employee referrals account for 40% of all hires.
Job seekers can maximize their social media platforms by joining groups, putting out a post to their network and making new connections. Facebook, Reddit jobs thread, Twitter #jobsearch or setting a job alert for words or phrases such as “hiring”, “we’re looking” or “join my team” are a few creative ways to find opportunities outside of traditional job boards like Indeed or Monster.
Be Proactive And Schedule A Follow Up
This pandemic blindsided many companies to the point where companies like Amazon are unable to keep up with hiring demands. As a result, candidates are being lost in the process and recruiters are forgetting to follow up. Candidates should make it a priority to follow up. If an interview is conducted, job seekers should always ask the interviewer when they can expect to hear back. Then, based on the answer, they should set a reminder to follow up if they haven’t heard anything by that date.
Build A Personal Brand
Northeastern University describes a personal brand as being “who you are, what you stand for, the values you embrace, and the way in which you express those values.” A job seeker's personal brand is what will set them apart from the competition. A personal brand forms regardless if someone is intentional or not about creating one. The more clear and aligned someone's brand is, the more it appeals to an employer.
Building a personal brand goes beyond a resume and cover letter. Employers are known to Google candidates to see what their online presence portrays about them. Employers want to avoid hiring potential liabilities and those who contradict their core values. An example would be a company promoting inclusivity but has employees making discriminatory comments.
In addition to maintaining their current social media channels, job seekers should entertain additional avenues to demonstrate their skills. These can include creating a YouTube series, writing a blog, contributing to industry publications or designing a website to showcase their talents.
Uplevel Your Marketable Skills
This quarantine provides ample opportunity for job seekers to uplevel their skillset through courses and certifications. Harvard, MIT and Yale are a few of the Ivy League schools offering courses for free through Class Central to help job seekers bolster their qualifications.
Some in-demand skills job seekers should focus on are
- Time management
- Customer service
- Communication (written and verbal)
- Crisis management
- Remote work
Monster also has a dedicated Coronavirus page where job seekers can find advice and content on in-demand jobs, working from home, managing a team remotely, conducting a video interview and more. It never hurts for a job seeker to practice and improve upon their interviewing skills by utilizing friends and family to provide feedback.
Optimize Your Resume
Recruiters typically receive around 250 resumes per position and only spend 7.4 seconds reviewing each resume. This is why it’s important to focus on quality rather than quantity. Job seekers should optimize their resume and tailor it for each role they apply to. To do so, they should utilize the keywords in the job description and appropriately modify their resume.
Originally published by Heidi Lynne Kurter at https://www.forbes.com.