Beyond Culture Fit: The Culture-Add Hiring ChecklistDecember 22, 2020
Should You Kanban Your Job Search?January 27, 2021
If you’ve been doomscrolling (yep, new word as of 2020), recently, you’ll notice that there is no shortage of reports about the employment situation during the pandemic. But, I’m here to tell you this:
Here are some ways to light a fire under your job search in 2021, even if we haven’t fully shaken this pandemic yet:
Source of greatest need. Alison Doyle of The Balance Careers suggests filtering job board searches with terms such as “urgently hiring” or “hiring immediately” along with your location, and, via social media, filtering using the hashtags #nowhiring or “hiring,” Consider also targeting roles that are in high demand because of the pandemic in fields such as healthcare, information technology, delivery services, manufacturing, education and training, and virtual customer service.
Consider whether your career is still on the right track. Finding yourself unexpectedly jobless provides time for reflection about where your career is heading. While changing careers in a tough economy adds a layer of difficulty, this unplanned pause may be just what you need to pivot to a new path. Depending on the urgency of your situation, take some time to contemplate your next move so you can strategically land a satisfying and meaningful new role.
Polish your tools and boost your brand. Now is also the time to update and optimize your resume, LinkedIn profile, and other job-search marketing tools. Freshen your boilerplate cover letter (which can reduce the amount of time you customize it for each job). Update your references. Consider investing in a professional resume writer or career coach to take your marketing tools to the next level!
Buy into the “full-time job search.” Job-seekers are frequently told that job-hunting is a full-time job in itself, but how many of them truly put in close to 40 hours a week trying to find a new job? Of course, a true full-time search is not possible for everyone – parents engaged in caring for and educating their kids at home probably don’t have time for a full-time search – but if you do have the time, consider undertaking the kind of time-intensive search you haven’t been able to do before.
For example, a full-blown targeted search based on an employer’s needs may look like this:
- Research employers and develop a targeted list – Spend some serious time thoroughly researching employers to develop a list of 25-40 organizations for whom you’d love to work and that you have determined – via research – to be an excellent fit for your skills and experience.
- Deploy your network to identify viable contacts at each organization. Share your target list of employers with members of your network and ask if they know anyone in those organizations. Then ask for an introduction. If you’ve done as much networking as you should as part of your job-search efforts, you may find it relatively easy to get names. Joining professional organizations is one of the fastest, easiest ways to learn names of hiring honchos in your target companies; the pandemic twist on this practice is to join online professional interest groups that are part of social-media venues (such as Facebook and LinkedIn). Meetup.com has a ton of these options!
- Conduct informational interviews to determine employer needs and challenges. Adunola Adeshola shares that this mode of hiring is no different during the pandemic than any other time. “Companies always hire to solve, alleviate, and tackle problems or challenges,” she says. To make the strongest possible case for why an employer should hire you, you need to know as much as possible about the employer’s needs so you can present yourself as the candidate who can meet those needs. Arguably, the most powerful way to do this is through an informational interview. During your informational interview – likely conducted via phone or videoconference at this time – you’ll learn about company weaknesses, problems they need solving, gaps you could fill, and situations you could improve. Also, look into needs spurred by the pandemic itself. Informational interviewing gives you an opportunity to uncover and tap into an organization’s needs, often even before the company has an open job! (Which is the best time to look for one.)
Communicate your job-search goals to as many people as you can. Hiring managers’ favorite candidates to hire are those who have been referred to them by trusted employees, and those trusted employees learn of people to refer only through word of mouth. The best part of communicating to the masses is that you can often get in on the job before it is publicly advertised, meaning there will be virtually no competition. Always ask members of your network for advice and referrals. Of course, apply all rules of effective networking etiquette; be polite and grateful, don’t “use” people, and offer your help in return.
Be remote-ready. Chances are good that whatever role you land, you’ll need to perform it remotely, at least in the beginning. A Gartner HR survey reveals 88 percent of organizations have encouraged or required employees to work from home because of COVID-19. You may have already honed your work-at-home skills before this job search, but if not, pump up your familiarity and facility with the tech tools and practices for remote work. Pomodoro technique? Check! The most comfortable earbuds for at-home use? Check, check! Prepare to sell yourself as willing and prepared to work from home.
Join the gig economy. If you can’t find your next great role right away, consider a short-term consulting project, freelance opportunity, or temporary work. This is an especially good time to seek COVID-driven opportunities in fields that directly serve the pandemic or stay-at-home economy, such as becoming a contract tracer or working for Uber Eats.
Failing a paid gig, upskill, stay productive, and build your marketability. If you continue to struggle to find new gainful employment, consider taking classes to build your skills, pursuing a new certification, or doing volunteer work. Why? Because gaps in your resume can be the kiss of death with some employers. If you just can’t find paid work, it’s helpful to have a productive activity on your resume, ideally in your field, to account for this time of unemployment.