by Chrissy Roshak
December 14, 2020
It’s been a long year full of unprecedented challenges. If you find yourself unexpectedly searching for work, you’re not alone. I’ll guide you through 5 key ways to adjust your job search for success during the pandemic.
1. Expand Your Job Search
Most of us have a specific type of job in mind when we start a job search. But lockdowns and economic fallout have put some types of jobs on hold. For example, retail and hospitality jobs may be difficult to find right now. The solution? Expand your search. Essential workers are in high demand. If you’re used to housekeeping at a hotel, consider food production or warehouse work. At least in the short term. There are a lot of open jobs in those industries, and you’ll use some of the same skills you picked up in your old job, such as lifting and sorting. You can always move back to your preferred job when those jobs pick back up.
Also consider short term or holiday work. A lot of companies have had to move to shopping online, which means a lot of warehouse, shipping, and delivery jobs have opened up. Likewise, a lot of companies need help but may not have the resources to commit to a long term employee. Therefore your new best friend for finding these openings will be a recruiter. These types of jobs may not even be advertised outside of a staffing company. Keep in mind that a short term position, even in a different industry than you’re looking for, can provide valuable experience, networking opportunities, and keep you afloat financially.
If you qualify for jobs that have gone remote, don’t limit yourself to searching only within your geographic region. Search nationwide. Some companies have taken advantage of a larger applicant pool by hiring outside of their immediate area for remote jobs. Just be realistic about any future travel expectations.
2. Capitalize on your Strengths
Think like an employer, and make a list of all the qualities you bring to the table. Make sure the skills you used at your most recent job are on the list. Dig through some of the job ads you’ve been eyeing and look at their list of qualifications. If you see any that fit you, but aren’t already on your list, go ahead and add them. Finally, consider the things you do in your free time, any skills you learned in school, projects you’ve helped family with, and any volunteer work you’ve done. Add these skills to your list too.
Now that you have a full list of your strengths, use it to help find opportunities you might have been missing out on because you didn’t realize you were qualified. Plug your newly identified skills into the search bar on your favorite job board, and talk with friends or a recruiter to help identify jobs you might not have considered before.
Optimize your Resume for your Job Search
Take time to scan your resume to make sure it’s up to date. Add details about your most recent job. And don’t forget to review and update your skills. Take time to brainstorm any skills you learned at work in the past 6 months. Have you learned how to use Zoom to chat with your recruiter? Or picked up a new hobby? Consider adding the skills an employer might find useful. Keep your list of skills handy and tailor your resume to match each job ad before you apply. Pro tip: If you are applying for several specific types of jobs that usually ask for the same set of skills, keep multiple versions of your tailored resume to save time editing for each application.
Take a moment to review your contact information and remove any outdated or sensitive information like your street address. Keep in mind you’ll be posting your resume online in an effort to be found by employers. Make sure contact information such as your phone number and e-mail address are up to date and spelled correctly. If you have personal information like birthdate, social security number or photos, remove those too. Check out our previous blog post about tailoring your resume for a 2020 job search for more tips on updating your resume.
4. Take Advantage of your Network
Networking can be a powerful job search tool. Start by reaching out to friends and family and let them know you’re looking for work. Ask them to keep you in mind if they hear about any job openings. Give them a brief idea what your experience is, the skills you have, and the type of jobs you’re open to. Reach out to former co-workers or managers you’re still in touch with and let them know you’re looking for work. Let them know about any skills you’ve learned or improved since they last worked with you. Ask them to keep you in mind if something opens up.
If you’re not already networking online, now is the time to start. The two best places to network online are LinkedIn and Facebook. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, take the time to set one up. Have your resume handy so you can add your work history and skills to your profile. Then start connecting with people you know, and make sure your profile states that you’re looking for work.
On Facebook, start with reviewing your account. Set anything to private you wouldn’t want an employer to see. Many hiring managers do take a peek at social media profiles during the hiring process. View your profile as a visitor to see what hiring managers have access to. If anything embarrassing or inappropriate for work comes up, set it to private or untag yourself. Then go ahead and post something to Facebook letting friends and family know you’re looking for work, and ask them to tag you in any opportunities they come across. You might be surprised at the connections your friends bring to the table.
Finally, search Facebook Jobs and join a few jobs groups. Many companies post their job openings directly on Facebook and allow you to apply right on Facebook. Jobs groups are a very quick way to grow your network. Go to the Groups section of Facebook and enter search terms that include the word “jobs” such as “Tacoma Jobs” or “Veteran Jobs” and join a few groups that fit your job search goals. Spend some time in each group commenting and liking posts by others. Make sure to post about your own job search, and check out the companies posting jobs there. It’s an excellent way to discover job opportunities, staffing companies in your area, and other job seekers who can help you along the way.
5. Keep in Touch with Your Recruiter
Your recruiter should be your best friend during your job search. Recruiters often have access to jobs that aren’t otherwise available. This is especially true right now. Working with a staffing company is often an easier way for companies to hire during uncertain times. Staffing companies may offer short term assignments, temp-to-hire, direct hire, or project work. Your recruiter may even be able to place you on a temporary assignment while you search for something full time. This is especially useful if you really need a steady paycheck during your job search or you want to build up your skills to improve your resume.
Your recruiter has the same goal you do. They want you to get the job at the best pay rate available. So you can trust that they’ll go to bat for you behind the scenes. They can also give you pointers to improve your resume and can help you identify skills that may be missing from your resume. They might even run through a practice interview with you. Most importantly, they can get your resume directly in front of hiring managers.