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Job Hunting During a Pandemic

7 steps you can take to land your next job during an economic downturn.

There is a virus on the loose, and now you find yourself out of work.

It’s devastating, I know. But this isn’t the time to sit back and feel sorry for yourself.

We don’t know how long this pandemic will last, so it is imperative that you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get started on your job search!

I spent 18 years as a Corporate Recruiter for some of Silicon Valley’s most prestigious companies, including Apple and Accenture.

That period includes the dot-com bubble of 2001 and the 2007 – 2009 recession.

It was hard to be a Recruiter during those years.

I found myself inundated with resumes numbering in the hundreds every single day. Some chose the usual route of applying online. Others decided to send in their resumes via mail and fax. I even remember candidates showing up unannounced to hand in their applications.

While I don’t recommend showing up in person, even during a pandemic, there are things you can do now to jumpstart your search.

Get clear on the job you want and for whom you want to work.
Walking into a job search without a plan is like walking into an ice cream store when you’ve never had ice cream. Focus is key! Use this time to do some serious soul-searching. If you could do anything, what would it be? Once you made a decision, then move onto step 2.

Hire someone to help you with your resume and LI profile.
Save yourself hours of pain and frustration by hiring a professional. Before you start your search for a Career Coach or Resume Writer, make a list of what you need. Do you want to work with someone familiar with your industry? Do you want them to have a certification? Do you want them to help you with your LinkedIn profile? (If you work in corporate, the answer is “yes.”) Do they listen to you or try to fit you into a box? Once you create your qualification list, then use it to evaluate the Coach, who best fits your needs.

Learn how to network online.
Do not rely on applications alone. During one recession, I had an average of 400 applicants for one job within 24 hours of posting. I had great intentions, but I didn’t have the time or the workforce to go through every single resume. You have to get comfortable utilizing your networks both off and on LinkedIn. Search-mode is not the time nor place to be shy or to worry about what people might think. Ask your networks if they know of anyone who is hiring! This is why you need to get clear on your ideal job. The more precise you are, the better others can help you.

Get comfortable with video interviews.
Video interviews are going to be a part of the new normal. If you are uncomfortable with the camera, practice with a friend. If you hate seeing yourself on camera, put a post-it over your picture so you won’t be distracted. DO NOT forget to double-check what’s going on behind you! Remove anything you don’t want your future employer to see and ask the family to give you privacy. Also, get dressed for the part from head to toe. You may think it’s okay to wear your pajama pants because no one will see you, but what if your kid walks into the room or your cat knocks the room divider onto your head (true story)? Be prepared!

Don’t forget the power of the thank you note.
If you are looking for a way to stand out, you can do so by sending a short, thoughtful thank you note or email. Please make sure to include one thought or two you had during or after the interview. Also, reiterate your interest in the role. I have seen a well-thought-out note change the mind of even the most hardened hiring manager.

Always follow up.
The interview timeline is never linear. If the Recruiter said you would hear by Friday, and it’s now the following Monday, don’t fret. I advise my clients to take the “three strikes, and you’re out” rule. I tell them to follow up with an email about a week after the interview with two more emails expressing your interest over a period of a month. If you don’t get a response by the third email, it’s time to move on.

Don’t play the blame game.
Hearing “no” several times in a row is hard to take. After all, you put so much of yourself into the search that it hurts to get a rejection. Please remember, it’s not always your fault! Without proper feedback, you may never know the real reason you didn’t get the job. So before you go into a blame spiral, be honest with yourself. Did you do everything you could? Yes? Then move on. If not, learn from your mistakes and apply what you learned to the next interview. It’s as easy as that.

Searching for a new job is challenging, even in an excellent economy!

You WILL find your next job! All you need is time, a little bit of practice, some honest reflection, and patience.

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