This year has been far from what anyone could have expected. The year 2020, if described in one word, has been highly unstable. The COVID-19 pandemic has had its grips on the world for nearly a year, and in particular, has been wreaking havoc in the U.S. since early March. Businesses have closed and over 30 million jobs have been lost; resulting in a higher unemployment rate than the Great Depression.
Whether a job was lost due to the lingering pandemic, or sights were set on a new career path in 2020 – the frightening instability is likely giving people a hefty dose of anxiety about their job search. And although times are certainly challenging, finding a job during the pandemic is not impossible.
Here are a few ways to adapt and better navigate searching for a job during this crisis:
Rely on Your Network to Help Your Job Search
The pandemic has left nothing untouched. Everything and everyone has been affected in one way or another. Luckily, hard times tend to bring out good human behavior. Right now, people are exceptionally willing to lend a helping hand wherever and however they can, especially for people looking for a job during the pandemic. That is why a person’s network is vital while searching.
Rely on friends, family, former colleagues, and even professional acquaintances to ask about open positions, writing recommendations, and putting in a good word to help you look for a job during the pandemic. If someone’s line of work is interesting, even if it is a stranger, reach out and ask for an informational interview! Due to the ongoing lack of human interaction, people are craving human connection and will likely respond. Work on building connections with professionals who share similar interests or career paths. Utilizing a network of other professionals increases the chance of landing a job 5x over a traditional application.
Go Above and Beyond in Your Job Search
Life stressors can often make people rush to find a job, causing them to blindly fill out any and every application out of pure panic. Don’t. Look for companies that are actively advertising new job postings. Once positions worth applying for are found, go above and beyond to stand out among the competition. Resumes should be catered to the specific job being applied for. Conduct keyword research to ensure the resume speaks to Applicant Tracking Software (ATS). Cover letters are a must, and one should be written specifically for each job opportunity. Email the job poster and make an introduction after the application has been submitted. Visibility is key here, so it is imperative to go the extra mile to stand out in a large pool of other applicants.
Hustle While You Wait for a Job During the Pandemic
The current economic environment may cause a delay in landing a job during the pandemic. Because of that, it is important to think of alternative ways to make ends meet. Think outside of the box and try to identify ways to generate some extra income. One example would be to monetize a hobby or skill, such as fixing electronic devices or tutoring school-aged children. Creating a side hustle goes a long way.
But hustling doesn’t necessarily mean working a job on the side – it just means to use the downtime productively. Find ways to enhance an existing skill set or to learn a new one. Companies will understand being unemployed during COVID-19, but people who took this time to invest in their career, even when the country is at a standstill, are sure to stand out from other applicants.
Take Mental Breaks
We are in a pandemic. Times are tough. And as if searching for a job isn’t hard enough already, searching for one right now certainly is an exercise in patience. It’s worth remembering that your self-worth is not equal to you having a job. A lack of progress in finding a job is due to the times we are in, and not necessarily a lack of skills or values on your part. Put the job search in its own little box, and understand that any movement is good movement right now. Treat job searching like a job: set working hours and stick with them, then when they’re over, move on to that side hustle, skills development, or spend time being with your family.
Contact Affordable Career Consulting for information on one-on-one sessions to assist with your job search.