A Great Time To Step Up Your Job Search
Author: Mike Scaletti
With 2020 coming rapidly to a close, there is a lot of uncertainty regarding the world, and how that might affect your job search. With the pandemic hitting its second wave, uncertainty surrounding the elections, shutdowns ramping back up, and more restrictions being put into place, you may be asking yourself if you should even BE looking for work right now.
It's a fair question. We certainly live in interesting times, and business is far from usual at the moment. With companies putting hiring on hold, or shutting down completely, it is understandable to wonder if it's worth putting the time and effort into looking for work. Even when the job market is strong, actively looking for employment is hard work. It can be frustrating and sometimes depressing in the best of times, and these are not the best of times.
The question then is, what are the benefits of looking for meaningful employment now, and how should you change the way you are doing so? Well recruiters are still doing their jobs, and companies still need to hire great people, so if you're capable of doing so now is actually a GREAT time to accelerate your job hunting. Hopefully, these bits of advice will help.
Get Out of Your Head
We are all susceptible to believing things that aren't true, and when those things allow us to remain in our comfort zones we are even more susceptible to them. When you are thinking of things that might prevent you from looking for work or convince you that it's not worth it to do so, take a step back. Ask yourself whether the thing your thinking of is a fact supported by hard data, or just a gut feeling you have, and if it is the latter push through.
If it IS a fact, make sure to analyze it, and then decide on how you might overcome it. Is it worth changing the industry or type of work you're looking for? Or adjusting your expectations? Is there a class or a certification you could pursue that would help you overcome this obstacle? Think about it.
The Worst That Will Happen is You Don't Get The Job
If there is a job that you want and you don't apply, you have no chance to get it. This means that the worst possible thing that can happen if you apply for the position, not getting the job, is guaranteed to happen if you don't.
There is no career downside for keeping up your job search.
Most hiring managers will be impressed by your passion for your career even during this general time of uncertainty.
Companies are Still Hiring
If there is one thing I've learned from working at The Job Shop, it's that the need for quality talent never goes away. Even in the midst of everything going on we have more roles than we can fill.
People move on, people move up, and roles need filling. That's where you come in. If you are willing to work and have a positive outlook, you can continue to grow your career even during all of this.
Make Your Job Search Habitual
Set aside a block of time every day in which you work on your job search. Put it in your calendar. And then take those blocks of time and split them into distinct tasks. Remember that having a targeted and specific goal for your time is much more effective than going about your job search with a slipshod approach. Here are some of the types of tasks that are worth pursuing.
Actively Applying to Positions. Use a cover letter and resume to apply for positions that you are interested in. Be sure to pay attention to the format that the hiring company wants them in, usually Microsoft Word or PDF. Remember to customize both to each position, but ESPECIALLY the cover letter. Cover letters are your chance to tell your story, to make your case for why you are a perfect fit for the company and the role, but they can only do that if they are written specifically to do so.
Seek a Direct Connection. LinkedIn, Monster, Indeed, these are all fantastic tools for rapidly ascertaining the types of opportunities available in the market, but the bottom line is not every opportunity will appear on them. If there are companies you know you'd wish to work for, go directly to their website and check their active inventory of open positions. If you see a position on one of the Job Boards that you think you might be a fit for, try going to the company's website and see if you can't find the identical listing. In general you will benefit from a direct connection.
Create a "Job Tracker". This is a tool you can use to keep track of multiple open positions you are interested in and the steps you have taken to try to attain them. Try to maintain at least ten open positions at any one time, so that they are fresh in your mind and you are reminded to take steps pursuing them. If a job is filled or placed on hold, be sure to replace it! Here is a great example of a simple Job Tracker.
Be Sure to Follow Up. You need to make sure to follow up on any applications you have submitted or attempts at networking you've made if you want them to be successful. You'll notice on the example of the Job Tracker above that there is a section for "Next Steps". This is where you fill in what your next follow up step should be for each open position. Remember that following up isn't you being annoying or a pest, it's you indicating your desire and commitment for attaining the role.
Send Thank You Notes. None of us can do this by ourselves. This is ESPECIALLY true in 2020. It's worth taking some time each day to think about who may have helped you with your career goals. If you can think of anyone, take the time to send a Thank You note. This could be a recruiter you spoke with, a friend who provided support, a mentor, or someone with whom you've networked. A little expression of gratitude goes a long way towards making them feel appreciated, which will make them more inclined to helping you in the future.
Honestly, the most important part of looking for work right now is what I just mentioned. YOU CAN'T DO THIS ALONE. Get help. Find a mentor, talk to your friends, get in touch with a recruiter, and above all, network, network, network. We are all living through this year together, and most of recognize this. You'll be surprised how much people want to help. Just remember to pay it forward when you can.