By Liz Cohen
It’s a challenging time for everyone right now.
And when it comes to careers, it’s an especially hard time for those who have lost jobs or income due to the coronavirus, those who were job searching when the situation began, and those who are currently sick or homebound while looking for work.
That said, there are ways to continue advancing your job search and your career right now, no matter your situation.
Companies are still hiring, and even if you’re not actively job searching, now could be a meaningful time to prepare yourself for what comes next (if you have the time and space to do so).
Keep reading for my tips for how to navigate job searching and career planning during this tough time.
1. Consider taking advantage of surge hiring.
Certain companies and industries are ramping up hiring as a result of the coronavirus, for instance Amazon announced plans to hire 100,000 new warehouse and delivery workers, grocery chains are hiring en masse as are healthcare organizations.
Search LinkedIn for jobs with “urgent need” and Indeed for jobs with “urgently hiring” in the job title to find what’s available near you.
2. Don’t assume companies that were hiring before the coronavirus hit aren’t hiring now.
Many companies are still hiring for roles that were posted before the coronavirus broke out. Most have simply taken the process online, at least for the short-term. And because many people have put their job searches on hold, competition is actually lower right now.
So now is a good time to keep at your job search if it feels right to you.
Just be sure to filter your results for jobs that were posted in the Past Week or Past Month to ensure you’re finding companies that are still hiring during this time.
3. Look for remote opportunities.
There are over 200,000 remote jobs available on LinkedIn today and over 40,000 available on Indeed.
Type “remote” into the job title search box in addition to the type of work you want to do (e.g. customer service or support, engineer, business development, sales, copywriting), and omit a specific location to find high-potential remote jobs for you.
4. Take an online networking approach to job searching.
When you find a job posting or company that interests you, reach out directly to the recruiter or hiring manager with a personalized message that fits the situation today.
This can help you build relationships with the companies you most want to join and stand out as a candidate who cares — while also making sure you only invest time applying for the jobs where your application will get noticed.
Hello [recruiter name],
My name is [name] and I’m a [type of work you do] professional with [X] years of experience. I’m reaching out because I’m very interested in the [job title] position that was posted, but I’m unsure whether now is a good time to apply given the coronavirus situation. I’m a big fan of [company] and eager to connect with the right members of the team when the time is right.
I’d love your guidance on whether I should go ahead and submit my application. Even more-so, I’d like to send my best wishes to you and your team. I know this is a challenging time and I hope you are all staying safe and well.
I look forward to hearing from you.
5. Tailor your cover letter to the situation.
To stand out from the crowd, consider mentioning in your cover letter how the current situation is affecting the business you’re applying for — and what you’ll bring to the table to help overcome it.
Have you navigated tough situations or crises in the past? Do you have experience working in under-resourced environments? Do you have experience using the skills most in need at this company today? Can you point to having been nimble and adaptive in a certain scenario? Are you someone who goes above and beyond, or who can wear multiple hats, to help your team succeed?
Any or all of the above will help communicate to your target organization that you’re someone they want on board right now.
6. Prepare for virtual interviewing.
As most companies take their hiring processes online, you want to be prepared for phone and video interviews.
7. Ready your resume and LinkedIn profile.
If you’re actively job searching, you know you need a strong resume to support your search.
Even if you’re not actively searching, now could be a good time to get it ready for your next job search (if you have the time and space to do it).
And keep in mind, recruiters are still active right now on LinkedIn. So make sure your profile communicates your readiness for the jobs you want. That makes recruiters most likely to find and reach out to you with interview requests.
8. Reflect on your long-term career plans.
With many things temporarily on hold and up in the air, now can also be a good time to reflect on where you want to take your career in the future.
Define your values and what’s most important to you a this phase of your career (crises can sometimes make this easier to do and help us see things much more clearly). Assess what about your current role and company energize you — and what de-energizes you about them. Take a stab at a 5-year vision for your career. Watch my favorite movie for career dreamers, start researching possibilities that align with what excites you, and draft a plan to explore them.
Or ask yourself: What does the world need most right now? Is there something you feel called to do amidst the crisis? Do any of the industries that are growing fast right now call to you as worth exploring (e.g. healthcare, online learning, remote work, food delivery and supply chain, online retail)?
Any step you take now will set you up for greater clarity and ease when things calm down.
9. Schedule informational interviews.
Informational interviews are one of the easiest networking activities you can take on from the comfort of your own home. They’re also the best way to learn what a potential career or company environment is really like — and to build relationships with people who can help you break in and land an interview. In just one 20-minute phone call, your quest for the interview is off to a running start.
Some people will be too overwhelmed to respond to a conversation request right now. But many people are working from home, have projects on hold, and are looking for ways to connect and give back during this time.
So don’t hesitate to reach out gracefully to the people who hold the job title or work at the company you’re interested in. Ask them if they have time and space for a brief phone conversation, while stating that you understand if now is not the right time. You may be surprised by how many people say “yes” to your request.
10. Improve your skills.
I put this in the “optional” category, because I know how little time and space most people have to dedicate to new projects at this time.
But if you’re someone who is looking to make this time one of personal development and stimulation, you can certainly do so — and make building skills from home a part of that plan.
Especially if you’re looking to pivot into a new career path, now could be a great time to invest in building skills towards your new direction.
LinkedIn Learning, Kajabi, and many other platforms today offer low-cost online courses, trainings, and programs that are all worth checking out.
11. Build your network with gratitude and kindness.
It doesn’t take more than a few keystrokes to build and strengthen your network during this time — while simultaneously offering much-needed support and connection to members of your professional community.
Consider sending a brief message to former colleagues letting them know you’re thinking about them and wishing them well.
Offer to write a LinkedIn recommendation for a co-worker, your manager, a former manager.
Comment on the articles you read or send a personalized note to the author letting them know how much you value their work during this stressful time.
If you’re looking for the lowest-time, highest-value activity, this is it.
By taking the time to show care for others, you make yourself top of mind for opportunities that arise, you show people that you’re the kind of colleague they want to have, and even more importantly you remind your community that we’re all in this together.
12. Show yourself some love.
Job searching and career planning evoke stress and anxiety for most everyone. Uncertainty also generates stress and anxiety for most everyone. We’re in a perfect storm here, people!
So it’s especially important during this time to recognize that whatever you’re feeling is completely normal — and to be kind, loving, and patient with yourself as you move forward.
If you don’t yet have a mindfulness or meditation practice, a set of things you do to take care of your mental and physical health, or a group of friends, family, (or even a therapist or career coach) you can turn to for help, now is the time to be intentional about investing in what will help you feel supported and safe.
Lastly, don’t try to do this all at once. Just take one step at a time in the direction of where you want to be. Small steps add up and will get us all through to the other side of this crisis with great things to look forward to in work and life.
This article was named a Top Job Search Blog Post for 2020 by JobMob.co.il. The original article can be found here.
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1700 episodes and “The No BS Coaching Advice Podcast” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was named a Top 10 podcast for job search. JobSearchTV.com is also a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.
JobSearchCoachingHQ.com offers great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.
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