At the time this article is written, more than 10 million U.S. workers have filed for unemployment benefits according to data obtained from the Department of Labor. Looking for employment may seem arduous, but it is definitely not impossible. Just like in times of prosperity, the solution remains the same. It will require you to be proactive and vigilant. Doing nothing is not a viable option. The more action you take, the better chances you have of landing your next job and/or career. Here are 6 strategies that you can apply immediately during tough economic times.
Updating your resume: Before you can jump in with both feet, it is indispensable to update your marketing collateral and establish your personal brand. Even in a booming economy, the competition for employment is fierce. There will always be more people looking for work than jobs available. It is necessary to stand out. How do you do this? The answer is to separate yourself from the other applicants competing for the same job. It is important to focus on your skills and effectively communicate your knowledge, skills, abilities, and experiences to potential employers. If that sounds too daunting, check out sites like onetonline.org and type in your occupation in the quick search. That will provide you with some key words that you can utilize in crafting your new resume. Additionally, you can conduct a boolean search in your browser of choice. For example, if you were an electrical engineer then type “electrical engineer AND resume” in your search engine. Not sure how to craft a resume? Go to OptimalResume and create a free account. There are a plethora of templates available conducive to your line of work.
Focus on the here and now: Oftentimes when speaking to job seekers there is a common theme of rejecting opportunities presented to them typically for reasons ranging from salary to job duties and responsibilities. In unpresented times, it’s difficult to determine how long it will last. That being said, gaps on a resume can be an interview killer. When displaced from the workforce, successful applicants will demonstrate that they were doing something work related and keeping their skills fresh. Employers will not think negatively if you are searching for employment outside of your industry in times of economic downturn. It may even help as a marketing tool when negotiating your next job opportunity.
Networking: Even though face to face interactions will be on hiatus for a while, now is the time to seek out like-minded professionals and research virtual events. Both Facebook and LinkedIn provide access to professional groups. Step outside your comfort zone and make yourself visible. If there is a thread, share relevant information as well as your own personal experiences and expertise. You never know where what doors that engagement may open up in your professional career.
Level up your skills: In working with job seekers, many tend to send the same resume out to every employer hoping that something will stick or resonate with the hiring manager. Use this time to determine if you need to brush up on certain skills to make yourself a more marketable candidate in both the short term and when the economy picks up. Review job descriptions for your industry of choice. Consider whether you have that skill or if you’re lacking that skill entirely. Instead of saying “I have no experience with that, but I am a quick learner” visit sites like Alison.com, Coursera.org, Udemy.com, or Edx.org to cultivate those core competencies or brush up if you haven’t utilized that particular skill in quite some time.
Virtual Interviewing: It’s quite possible that in order to land your next job and/or career, they will be conducted by phone, video, or both as a result of social distancing. Virtual Interviewing is similar to face-to-face because it’s important to dress for the job you are interviewing for. If the interview requires you to download software, ensure that you test it out ahead of time to avoid any complications on the day of the interview. If you’re looking to practice interviewing, you can find many common interview questions by creating an account with OptimalResume.
Keep hope alive whatever you do, it is important to not lose hope and strongly believe that your next job is right around the corner. Utilize this time to educate yourself on your targeted sector and companies that may interest you to set you apart from the rest of the crowd. It’s a process. You don’t land a new job without going through the process of landing a new job. You may need to get creative in how you sell yourself. You may need to take advantage of your network or take a leap of faith and explore something outside of your element. Commit to taking meaningful steps and remain proactive, and you will be on your way to finding your next opportunity for success.
Written by Scott Schneider, Disability Resource Coordinator