A job search can be stressful and overwhelming, especially in the middle of a pandemic. You may even question whether it makes sense to continue to apply for positions. Yet, the rapidly changing work environment may also bring about new opportunities. Whether you’re looking for a new job or considering a full-blown career change, these tips will help you maximize your efforts during these trying times.
Adopt a creator mindset
Even amid a pandemic, it’s possible to find professional fulfillment. Successful people understand that there is only one person responsible for their career. That person is you. It’s easy to blame external factors for our failures and disappointments, but ultimately you can create the life that you want. Instead of thinking the world is out to get you, expect the universe to support you and bring you opportunities during your job search. Consider this quote by Rumi, “Live life as if everything is rigged in your favor.” Once you embrace a creator mindset, you’ll realize that everything you are experiencing is meant to make you a stronger, better human being.
Clarify your goals
The first order of business is to set goals for your job search. Without having a destination in mind, you will lack focus and won’t know where to invest your time. A big mistake job seekers make is applying to every position under the sun. Focus on quality over quantity. Rather than just dedicating a specific number of hours to your job search, develop measurable milestones. Consider establishing concrete commitments on a daily or weekly basis for tasks such as:
- Sending out X number of resumes
- Researching X companies of interest
- Reconnecting with X former colleagues
Take small steps and be consistent in your efforts.
Harness the power of LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a crucial component of any job search. About 95% of recruiters utilize LinkedIn as a primary sourcing tool to find top-tier talent. If you’ve been in the same career for a while—particularly with the same company—chances are you have been neglecting your LinkedIn profile. Now is the time to brand yourself effectively using these techniques:
- Your headline is one of the most important fields for LinkedIn’s search algorithm. Don’t just list your job title—that’s what 99% of people are doing. You’ll never stand out to recruiters and hiring managers that way. Instead, use all 120 characters to highlight strategic keywords, the value you bring and metrics where applicable. For example, instead of “Finance Manager,” change it to “Finance Manager at Dell | Financial Planning and Analysis | Auditing | Managing $30M in Revenue.”
- If you don’t have a photo, add one! Preferably a high-quality professional headshot (not one that looks like a mugshot or where you cut your spouse out of the picture from your cousin’s wedding). Why is this so important? According to LinkedIn, merely having a photo results in up to 21x more profile views and 9x more connection requests. It also goes a long way in making you look trustworthy and approachable.
- Get active! Posting and commenting on LinkedIn will generate attention to your profile faster. Also, join groups. One user increased the number of people looking at her LinkedIn profile by 425% just by starting and participating in a few group discussions.
Practice video interviewing
Given the current climate, you will likely be interviewing via Zoom, Skype or some other video conferencing software. Don’t underestimate how unpredictable technology can be. Look for a location where you can control your lighting and surroundings. Test your internet speed to be sure it’s fast enough and use a wired ethernet connection instead of Wi-Fi. Consider using an external microphone and webcam for better quality and do a complete run-through at least the day before your interview. The number one thing recruiters say they hate to see in a video interview is distractions, so take steps to remove interruptions. Remember to look into the camera, smile and have a positive attitude. Ultimately, preparing for a video interview is the same as preparing for a face to face meeting. The more you practice, the more comfortable you will feel.
Consider a career pivot
Are you having trouble finding a position in your current line of work? Maybe that’s the universe’s way of letting you know that it’s time for a career pivot. Make a list of your transferable skills. Perhaps you can utilize them in a new industry. Some examples could include creative, leadership, problem-solving or analytical skills. Another option could be starting a business or looking into non-profit work. You could also set yourself up as a freelancer or contractor. View this as a chance to finally find a purpose and a paycheck.
Remember, a recruiter can tell when a job seeker is just submitting their resume to “see what happens” versus someone who has done their homework and is genuinely excited about the position. So choose carefully. Apply for roles where you know you can knock it out of the park. Do your research, organize your time and, most importantly, don’t give up.