These are the things you can do now to help you land a gig during a market downturn.
By: Elana Lyn Gross
Depending on your income level, you may be making more by staying home instead of being out there looking for a new position. This can come back to bite you however, because when the economy gets rolling again, there will be about 26 million other people looking for work. If you’ve already landed or are in the final stages of an offer when that happens, you’ll be much better off than your neighbor that didn’t actively search.
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The coronavirus pandemic has not only had a significant impact on the global economy but also your job search. It has caused stock market volatility and impacted various industries. If you have a current job, most likely you’re doing it from your home. Some small businesses have been forced to close temporarily, whereas large businesses have been affected by the strain of losing business and a disrupted supply chain. There are predictions that the unemployment rate in the U.S. could reach 20%, according to NBC News reporting.
Some companies have responded to the health crisis with layoffs, furloughs, cutting hours and overtime pay, and implementing hiring freezes. Other companies are actively hiring and posting new jobs daily. Right now, there’s a lot of uncertainty about what the national and global impact will be on hiring, but there are ways you can stay positive and proactive about job searching during this tumultuous time.
Engage your network
People understand that this is a difficult time and they want to help however they can. Let your friends and family know that you’re job searching and tell them about the types of jobs you’re looking for and your target companies so they’ll be on the lookout for openings. They’ll notify you if they hear of anything. Ask them if they would be willing to do an email intro to people who work at the company or, even better, the hiring manager. Those email intros, or having people in your network send your resume and cover letter on your behalf, can get your application to the top of the pile even if human resources isn’t done sorting through the applications that come in through the ATS.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to former colleagues and bosses if you see openings at their companies. They’re more likely to hire you than the competition because they know your skills and work ethic. Even if they aren’t hiring, they can be references for your other applications. Since they’re in the industry, they may hear of other jobs through their own network and they can recommend you.
Practice phone and video job interviews
Now that many people are working remotely, job interviews are being done by phone and video instead of IRL. It can be more challenging to have a phone interview because it is harder to interpret someone’s reaction and have a conversation that flows naturally. It can be trickier to have a video interview because it can feel awkward to be on camera. You’ll stand out if you learn the ins-and-outs of phone and video job interviews. And we’ve got the phone job interview and video job interview tips and tricks you need to know.
Take on a temp or freelance gig
If you don’t currently have a job, apply to temp and freelance work to pay the bills. It could lead to a full-time job when you impress your co-workers. It’s also a great opportunity to gain some in-demand skills. If you’re currently working from home, remember that employers are looking for people who are self-disciplined enough to work from home, have the excellent written and verbal communication skills necessary to communicate with colleagues and clients remotely, and are organized and efficient.
Show off your transferrable skills
There’s so much competition for jobs, so it’s important to up your game right now. First, prioritize jobs that have been posted most recently because that’s a sign that the company has a current role that needs to be filled. If a posting has been up for weeks, it may be less of a priority for the company right now. Be confident when you’re reading job postings and remember that you can still get the job even if you don’t meet all of the job qualifications. Use your resume and cover letter to show you have transferrable skills employers are seeking.
Customize your application for each job
Spend more time on each cover letter and resume so your job application gets seen. It takes more time to modify them for each job application but it’s necessary. When you apply to a job online, your application often goes into an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), software that reviews your resume to determine how well you’d fit the requirements of the job posting. The secret to getting past the ATS is written right in the job posting—keywords such as the job title, responsibilities, and skills. Don’t copy everything word for word, but make sure a majority of the most important aspects of the job are in your resume and cover letter. Nearly 75% of resumes that go through an ATS are eliminated because they don’t meet the requirements the hiring manager specified, such as the right skills, education level, or job titles, according to Monster research so it is key to getting your resume in the hands of a hiring manager.
Stay up to date
With so much uncertainty in the world right now, it can be overwhelming to try to conduct a job search. Don’t get discouraged.
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