Originally published on Real Clear Markets – September 7, 2020
Everyone has experienced the pressure and frustration of the job search process at one point or another, but looking for work amidst the chaos of COVID-19 adds an extra layer of difficulty. Between the sudden hiring freezes, unexpected layoffs and a stalled economic recovery, it’s understandable that you might be feeling defeated or panicked at the thought of remaining unemployed.
Despite the strain of the current global crisis, it is imperative that jobseekers stay positive and focused on the task of finding the right position. No matter the economic climate, your level of success in finding a job can be improved by implementing a few key strategies. Here are four tips for maximizing the effectiveness of your job search and using this time to move your career in the right direction.
1) Don’t let someone’s “no” define you.
It’s easy to let yourself feel crushed or hopeless after receiving a rejection, but keep your head up. There are so many unknowns in the job search progress, you can’t get yourself down and start to make assumptions about why you didn’t get a “yes.” Focus instead on what you can control; what your goals are, what your strengths are, etc.
Remember, too, that successful people aren’t born successful – they achieve success by showing up every day and continuing to put themselves out there until they achieve their goals. I know this is hard to do when you’re in the midst of it, but striking the right balance of resiliency and hustle will really pay off in the end.
2) Utilize and grow your network.
Gone are the days of shaking hands and exchanging business cards over the course of happy hours and conferences. So, now is the time to get creative!
The phrase “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” still applies. Rather than reach out to people you already know on LinkedIn, research companies you’re interested in and start making some new connections. Don’t hesitate to send someone a message to learn more about their culture, what they’re struggling with and how you might be able to fill that void.
There’s a hidden job market out there, where companies have hiring needs but aren’t always able to immediately post about them, and potential employers will be more willing to engage early with you if you’re coming from a position of connection and learning, rather than lead-generation.
3) Communicate how your work will positively impact an employer’s business.
Employers expect there to be at least some sort of learning curve, so don’t stress too much about not being the top expert in your field. In fact, employers are actually interested in what interests you, plus how you’re going to learn what you don’t know.
Don’t underestimate the power of verbalization: share your curiosity about an issue or project, explain how you’re going to find out whether those assumptions are true or false and detail how that work impacts the business. By communicating your expectations and the impact your work has, you can give potential employers a glimpse of the value you as an individual bring to the table and create a case for why hiring you is the best decision for their company.
4) Take advantage of this time.
Having so much free time can be a blessing or a curse, if you’re not sure how best to manage it. Right now, not only do each of us have a bit more down time than we might be used to, we also have at our disposal a wide variety of ways to learn something new for free or at a reduced price. This is the perfect time to expand your skillset, whether that means enrolling in an intensive, skill building bootcamp, reading books on a topic that interests you or attending virtual events to get information about your desired career field.
At the end of the day, you only get as much out of the job search process as what you put in. And if what you’re putting into it includes these four tips, I’m confident you’ll find success even against these unforeseen circumstances.
Angela Hayes is a Career Services Manager at Galvanize.
To learn more about Galvanize, visit https://www.galvanize.com/.