Pandemic Job Search #COVIDSeries
I feel like all of my posts over the last few months have been in some form responsive of the COVID-19 pandemic, so let's just make a hashtag for #COVIDSeries posts!
So, COVID has brought about so many changes in our lifestyles and for many people, that unfortunately includes changes to their employment status. Job searches are already tedious and time consuming enough when there isn't a global pandemic, so things have definitely multiplied in terms of difficulty. I personally believe the steps I'm about to share should be used in any circumstances when looking for a new job, but if you weren't already using some of these tips, I highly suggest incorporating them into your search method.
Network, Network, NETWORK!
One of the many things I share with people through my career consulting, is the importance of networking. Since we're in a pandemic, networking is HEAVILY based via the internet through sources such as LinkedIn, GroupMe groups, Facebook etc. One way to learn about employment opportunities, is by utilizing these resources. A great place to start is LinkedIn. When I was on the hunt for a new job, I followed companies I was interested in working for on LinkedIn, so I would get a notification when they posted a new job. Once I followed those companies, I also connected with recruiters for that company, since they are the ones usually posting the requisitions. One way to get yourself noticed more on LinkedIn is updating your profile to #Opentowork and also updating your headline with the industries you're interested in working.
Now, this pandemic has made it so that some very experienced and talented individuals are applying for the same jobs as some entry & mid level candidates making it like 100 times more competitive (don't quote me on that statistic). Think of how you can make yourself stand out from the other 200+ candidates.
Taking action and utilizing the connections made via LinkedIn includes actually following up with, and writing individualized emails to people in the departments you would like to break into. Quick example; I applied to a position at a company I followed on LinkedIn, and because I had already connected (or "added as a friend") with the hiring mangager for that role, I sent him a professional, yet straightforward email expressing my interest in the role, along with my updated resume. Within 24 hours, he had responded, forwarded my resumé to the recruiter who was handling the search and before I knew it I was in my first round of interviews. Now, I won't say there wasn't a possibility that I wasn't going to get an interview without those steps, but I increased my chances and also made myself memorable.
The work is not done once you get an interview (learn more interview tips in my interview 101 blog in the career tab!). Following up is almost as important as how you answer interview questions. Please distinguish between a professional follow up and being insensitive or "pushy". The best way to immediately follow up after an interview is to simply send a thank you email to the person(s) you met with.
During your interview or following your interview, you should have asked what the timeline was like in regards to next steps. Based on that timeline, follow up again if things are taking longer than you'd hoped. How NOT to follow up:
"Hey, you said you were going to reach out to me but-"
"Sorry to bother you-"
"Long time no speak"
Your follow up should start and end on a positive note. Sounding hostile, impatient or accusatory will not help the cause, I promise. Unfortunately, there are circumstances in which recruiters and companies will "ghost" you, and a follow up does not always guarantee a response.
Job searching during times where jobs are very limited and candidate pools are at record highs just means you cannot be afraid to make sure you stand out in the crowd. Put yourself in positions to network and find opportunities, do research on the companies you are applying to, and make a lasting impression by personalizing your interview experience. Have a SOLID answer to questions like, "Why did you choose this company?" and be sure to ask meaningful questions that truly show your interest.
If you're ready to get into the search but need a fresh start, you can browse SP Careers® services here.
The tips shared in this post have worked for me, but everyone's journey will be specific to them & God's plan for them.
I wish you the best of luck!