Can you stand out in the middle of a job market dealing with Covid-19? Yes, you can!
You might be ready to give up on your job search right about now, and I totally get it. There is a seemingly endless pandemic going on, alongside a ton of hurdles we have never faced before.
Before we get started, let me tell you: I was there. Up until September 2020, I spent three years looking for a job… that’s right three whole years. Although technically unemployed, I made ends meet with five very unsteady clients. During this time, I dealt with a lot of rejections and the desire to join a team I could rely on and work on projects I cared about.
I know how it feels to be dealing with selling yourself while navigating a job market with high demands, competition, and managing your own goals. It’s a balancing act that’s hard to maintain.
Once the pandemic hit, I was both very pessimistic but also filled with a wave of energy to optimize my job search- a crazy concept given the situation surrounding me and the world really, but hey it worked!
With this piece, I’m hoping to shed some light on what helped me get to my first steady, full-time job in three years at a great company.
So, now that you know my background a little bit better, let’s get to it.
The job market is confusing, flooded, and stressful at any moment, but with 4 out of 5 jobs being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, it can feel hopeless. Again, I’m here to tell you that’s not the case, at least not everywhere.
We are in an unpredictable situation but for the creative and wilful it can be an opportunity.
Some sectors are actually seeing growth, it could be the time to consider a change into those growing industries. This moment could be that catalyst your career needed to get a jump-start.
What Are The Biggest Challenges For Job Seekers?
- There Are Too Many Places To Look: from LinkedIn to niche sites, variety can actually be a detriment to some professionals. Here’s how you can fix that: look through the ultimate Job Boards list and assess where your profile will benefit the most, then hone in on that.
- Unclear Job Descriptions: we’ve all seen those job ads that ask for a Social Media Ninja or an adaptable developer without any more detail. When a company isn’t clear about what they need, this makes it harder for applicants to submit resumes that fit the role. My suggestion here is to be as vague as they are, broaden your work scope and once you get more details, you’ll be able to determine if you are a match.
- Lack Of Feedback/Response: at one point it felt like I was sending out thousands of applications and getting nothing back. Sometimes candidates are ignored, which can be disheartening; don’t take it personally and keep moving forward, the most dangerous thing is to stay still for too long.
- Lengthy Hiring Processes: having to record a video, write witty answers to multiple questions, and take a test just to get a chance can wear your job applying energy down. To preserve your sanity, create a document with answers to common questions so you can simply copy and paste. Also, make sure to have a folder ready to go with all your essentials: resume, cover letter, writing samples, etc.
Where To Get Started On Your Job Search?
Now that we’ve covered the challenges, it’s time to get to your options for resources when going on the job hunt. Let’s discuss what you can do to better increase the odds of getting a steady job.
Upgrade Your Resources
It’s your employer’s first introduction to who you are, so it needs to transmit your personality and abilities well.
A good website can fill in the holes left by an incomplete resume, lead to people discovering you through SEO searches, and be your selling point. It’s important to take the time to have your personality shine through your website, that’s the best way to stand out.
Here are three cornerstones to a better website
1.Create A Tone That Represents You:
- Start by defining your strongest personal/professional characteristics; you can ask family, friends, and former co-workers for help with this.
- Once you have at least three characteristics, you can start building a tone from there. For example, if one of your strengths is discipline, your style should be more serious or direct; if you are more creative maybe go for some jokes and play on words.
- Stick to that tone all throughout your website
2. Have A Personal Bio
This is your selling point and the chance to tell your story, DO NOT WASTE IT.
It’s important to achieve a very delicate balance between avoiding oversharing personal stories yet still letting people get a glimpse into who you are. Here are some pointers:
- Don’t be shy about your accolades
- Include your goals
- Use a testimonial or two from a friend or employer
- Never lie!
3. Build A Portfolio That You Are Passionate About
Choosing to show the projects that you were more passionate and successful at helps your future employer know what kind of work you enjoy and what you are good at. This makes finding a good fit between work and personality easier.
Your Resume & Cover Letter
These are the most used tools for introducing yourself to an employer so give them the time they deserve:
- Choosing your design wisely. Be sure it represents you and your industry. When in doubt go with minimalistic and neat.
- Personalize your resume and cover letter for the jobs you really want. Read the job ad carefully and try to make your profile fit the ultimate candidate persona they are looking for.
- Don’t be humble (but don’t brag either). It’s selling time so highlight your strengths and successes.
💡 Extra Tips:
- No pictures
- Keep your social media clean or private, employers are very likely to check your activity out before hiring you
Professional & Niche Networks
Depending on what you focus on, you can use different channels to stand out in the right circles. For example:
- Content creators can use Medium to showcase their work and get noticed
- Github is great for developers looking to connect
There’s bound to be one for what you want to do!
Unexpected Places To Look For Work
Are one of the fastest-growing organic online communities. There you can find like-minded people who share similar interests, and you can find work.
Plus there are dozens of tools at your disposal within these groups. From possible connections with people inside the company to recruiters or potential business partners, this is one social media platform alternative that gets to work fast.
Recrooit is different from the recruitment platforms you are used to. When you sign up here, the idea is helping others get hired and them helping you in return.
These Are The Steps:
- Claim A Job Posting: if someone sees a job position, they can “claim it” and recommend a candidate they know would fit the role
- Recommend A Candidate: after looking through their network, they start referring the best candidates for the job and those candidates remain “theirs” for the rest of the process
- Get A Reward: if the candidate gets hired, the Recrooiters can collect a bounty for having successfully referred someone for a job
The platform also provides opportunities for companies to post jobs for free.
The classroom can lead to a job in more ways than one:
- Expanding or gaining new skills is always going to make your profile more attractive for companies and recruiters. It says a lot about your character as well, the fact that you’d choose to learn more when you have the time is a very positive attribute.
- Another way education leads to work is through connections. When you join a class (online or in-person), you are put in touch with experts in your field.
So, hit the books!
Word Of Mouth
If you’re looking for work, tell people.
- Reach out to your immediate network, let them know you are looking for work
- Try to reconnect with old colleagues and ask about opportunities
- Go through your social media and look for people who can help you
There is no shame in doing this, let go of those feelings and jump into networking!
Never underestimate the power of a good network.
Find The Good In Failure
Every job you don’t get is also an opportunity. I know this sounds horrible and cliche…but it’s true.
Follow Up With Recruiters
- Ask them what you can improve on so that you have a better shot at other jobs. They know their stuff and can prove to be great advisers.
- Be memorable. They might not have chosen you for one particular role but that doesn’t mean they can’t help you find a match.
The road doesn’t end until you reach your goals.