DISCUSSIONS WITH DRUMMOND ST.: Starting a Job Search in the COVID Era
How do I start a job search during COVID, when businesses are likely implementing hiring freezes? Should I just feel lucky to have a job at all?
– Ann H.
Everyone knows all the bad news about the job market during COVID, so let me start with a little bit of good news. Companies are hiring. There are opportunities for you to find a new, better job. It’s just that they aren’t hiring for as many positions as in the Before Times which makes your competition even stiffer.
And, sure, you should feel fortunate to have a job now (yes, “in these uncertain times”) but that doesn’t mean you can’t make your own luck during a job search. But, just like with literally everything else, what worked pre-COVID doesn’t work the same way now.
For example, there are no more in-person networking events where you could make connections and help increase your chances of finding a new job. However, there are many existing online resources and more are being added every day.
These online employment resources are more important than ever. You may not have given any thought to Monster.com or ZipRecruiter.com but it’s time to click on “Forgot Password” and get your profile up to date. There are also lesser known sites like Fiverr.com or UpWork.com. And there are certainly industry-specific job boards for whatever area you might be in.
As you expand your digital presence, that means your online profile (sometimes referred to as “digital footprint”) is more important than ever. Google yourself and really try to find out everything that might be out there – because you can bet that your prospective employers are doing the same thing. It might be time to take your social media accounts private. If you do keep them public, make sure all the posts are professional and make you look like you would be a good addition to the workforce.
Remember LinkedIn? Despite earning the award for “Most Boring Social Media Platform” it has seen a surge of users since COVID began. This site is vital for your job search. And A LOT has changed about it since you last used it so plan to spend some tie learning and exploring all the new features.
Speaking of time, be prepared to put in WAY more time than you think you will need to on this job hunt. Competition is stiffer and employers are feeling the strain more than ever. Follow up on leads but do so in a supportive way that shows you will be a great addition to their team.
Put in more time than you think you will need to following up on leads.
Think like a salesperson – make phone calls, chase down leads, write strong emails. The same principles that apply to selling a product can help you “sell” yourself. Read this list of tips and tricks and think how you can apply these principles to your own unique job hunt situation.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, remember that most people really do want to help others out during this economic and health crisis. So be nice but don’t be shy about reaching out to old contacts/friends and ask for help. People really do like to be helpful!
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