Amid the current COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people across the globe have lost their jobs. Businesses everywhere are shutting their doors, and economic activity has slowed to a near halt. If you’re currently job searching, you’re likely wondering where to begin. How do you start looking for a new career during this uncertain time?
Something to keep top of mind is the temporary nature of your current reality. Most of you have faced hardships before, and you’ll likely face other challenges in the future. What’s the one constant? Your persistent drive to navigate through this time and come out stronger on the other side. If you are facing a furlough or complete job loss due to the COVID-19, we’re sharing our top four tips to consider if you want to get hired (for a full-time job or part-time gig).
We know this period of constant change and uncertainty is challenging, but there is an opportunity for a silver lining. What if you used this time to learn new skills that can enhance your prospects – and resume – once the job market evens out and we return to an adjusted way of life? Upskilling while you have more downtime is a great (and easy) way to connect with others in your area or industry who are investing their time in doing the same thing.
- LinkedIn Learning is a great place to start! The platform offers classes ranging from business software and tools to marketing, front-end web development, and so much more. (Tip: if you’re a member of your local library, you can access Lynda.com – formerly LinkedIn Learning – courses for free with your library login credentials!)
- Another online learning community is Skillshare. Skillshare’s online courses are primarily creative in nature, including entrepreneurship, lifestyle, creative arts, and so much more. The Skillshare courses are interactive, think completing a project instead of general lecturing. The platform also offers a free 2-month trial to get started!
Network, network, network.
Networking is crucial, now more than ever in this tough job market. Networking is a term people throw out often, but where do you start building this crucial network of professionals?
- One often overlooked built-in network you can tap into is your alma mater. While not all alma mater connections are hiring directly, they are perfectly positioned to help you find professional opportunities by opening doors within their organizations (and you already have something in common before connecting).
- Reach out to your alumni connections and ask to schedule a short informational interview. These informal discussions typically take place between a person who wants to learn more about a career or a company (you) and a person working in that career or for that company (your alumni connection). Most informational interviews are short in length (no more than 30 minutes), and can take place in-person, over the phone, or via video chat. These types of interviews serve as a mix of networking, information-sessions and as insider scoops on a particular career. Not to mention, informational interviews can be a much-needed morale boost!
Optimize your LinkedIn profile.
Utilizing and keeping your LinkedIn profile up to date is key while job hunting. LinkedIn is a great professional platform to share content, network, and search for open jobs in your area. Social media profiles – especially professional ones – can seem overwhelming at first. We recommend the following 2 tips to help optimize your LinkedIn profile while job hunting:
- Curate your personal brand by having a clear, professional photo, and complete, relevant bio fields. This includes a unique, disruptive headline – words that might follow an introductory handshake. Your profile is the prime place to highlight your work and accomplishments to the LinkedIn community.
- Develop your own voice by liking, sharing and commenting on articles that pique your interest. You can even develop your own content with thoughtful sentiments about a topic or industry. Ask yourself how YOU can provide value to others in your network and industry.
Work with a staffing agency.
While working with a staffing agency might seem like a far-out idea, there’s a host of advantages to working directly with a recruiter during your job search. Some of these benefits include:
- Access to a skilled professional to help you with your resume and provide you with helpful interview tips. Our Haystack recruiters will work side-by-side with you to fully understand your core skills and capabilities and match you with one of our great job clients. We focus on forging long-term, professional relationships rather than placements (also extending your network of connections). We want to help you in every way possible to get to your next career opportunity.
- Your resume remains in a database even after you’re hired for a position. Applicant tracking systems (ATS) help streamline the hiring process for recruiters by making the sorting candidates easy. ATS pull certain criteria from your resume and matches it to related jobs. When the right job comes along, it’s likely your resume will pop up as a match.
The COVID-19 pandemic has irrevocably changed our world, and the change is not complete. If you’ve lost your job during the pandemic, know that you are not alone. Continue to navigate through this time with drive and determination, and work on sharpening your outreach skills to land your next career opportunity.
Follow along for our next blog in this series where we’ll take a deeper dive into upskilling and all you need to know!
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