Figuring out your next career move can be difficult regardless of the scenario, but add a global pandemic and high levels of unemployment to that and it can be downright petrifying.
Starting out on a new job search can seem daunting, but it becomes much more attainable if you break it up into small tasks that you can accomplish one at a time.
Here are five strategies to help you find a job during COVID.
If you’re trying to find a job during COVID, start by brainstorming to figure out what exactly you want to do. Consider a few different scenarios to give yourself a well-rounded and realistic feel for where you may end up in the next few months.
There’s no way to tell what might happen with public health and the economy, so it’s smart to go through a few possible options and goals to figure out a rough game plan for each. Use your brainstorming session as a time to figure out what you want next and strategically plan your next career move.
This is your opportunity to take time and plan your next career move so that you can find a role where you will succeed.
Update your resume
Once you’ve brainstormed to get a better sense of what direction you want to take your career and what kind of jobs you want to apply to, update your resume to articulate all that you have to offer.
Gather information about past jobs, internships, class projects, and other information that highlights what you bring to the table. This will help you create the most effective document to meet your needs.
Reach out to your contacts
Because a large portion of the population is unemployed, there is a bigger applicant pool for each job.
If you’re trying to find a job during COVID, the ultimate way to get your resume into the right hands is to use your industry connections. If you have a contact who can direct your resume to the right person, use it.
“Job search is about going beyond the resume to get noticed. Real relationships with colleagues and friends matter in getting a foot in the door,” says career coach Alyson Garrido.
Reach out to industry contacts to let them know you’re looking for new opportunities. People are often willing to help, but they cannot do so if they aren’t aware that you’re interested and open to new opportunities.
Consider sending an email like this:
“Hope this note finds you well! We met [where/when you met] and I wanted to circle back with you and see how things are going. [Insert a question about how an event went or follow up about something you spoke about when you met].
I was recently laid off from my position working at [Company] as a [job title] due to the pandemic, and am actively looking for new opportunities relating to [field]. [Company] is on my short list of dream companies because the [insert reason], so I wanted to see if there might be any current or future openings I could look into. I’ve recently updated my resume and have attached it to this email for your convenience. Please let me know if you have any questions, and feel free to pass it along if you see fit.
Thanks in advance for your help! Please keep me posted on how things are going and if there’s anything I can do to return the favor.
Leveraging your network is one of the best ways to find and secure new job opportunities. (Referrals have been noted to have a 50% shot of getting an interview whereas for non-referrals, that rate drops to just 3%.)
Doing so enables you to get your resume in front of the right person and often helps you bypass large applicant pools.
Focus on the quality of applications, not the quantity
It can be tempting to just hit “apply” on every position that might seem like a potential fit, but instead of focusing on how many job applications you submit, try to create a couple of really strong applications with resumes that you have customized for each position based on the job description.
Often people employ the “spray and pray” tactic when applying for jobs. This term has become common among recruiters when describing a candidate that applies to tens or hundreds of positions with the hope that someone will bite. On average, each corporate job opening attracts 250 resumes (this statistic was even before COVID hit).
This means that your resume has to be outstanding in order to stand out from the crowd. When using the spray and pray tactic, resumes usually don’t hold the specified requirements or keywords. This causes them to get turned down immediately.
When you don’t customize your resume to each job, it’s clear that you’re using the spray and pray tactic. This isn’t an effective job search strategy, and it also doesn’t bode well for your reputation among hiring managers or recruiters.
Remember that it takes time
Ultimately, finding a job that is a good fit for you takes time, and if you’re trying to find a job during COVID, it may be even more difficult to come across the perfect position.
Even if you do everything perfectly to set yourself up for a successful job search, you likely won’t find something right away. Yes it’s possible to find a job quickly, but it’s important to be realistic with your expectations, especially during such a globally challenging time.
There are so many factors that go into finding a job such as company culture, location, salary, scope of work, timing, etc. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed or get dejected because your job search isn’t going as well as you hoped, but it’s important to realize that it’s often not personal. Finding a job is hard for everyone!
Finding a job that meets your criteria and is a good fit for you and your potential employer is difficult whether you’re searching for your first job out of college or looking to make a lateral move as an executive.
Finding a job is hard, but hopefully these five strategies to help you find a job during COVID will help you position yourself correctly in the job market. Keep your head up, know your value, and be confident in what you have to offer!