I've never been great with timing. My example for you today is that I started working for a staffing agency right before a global pandemic broke out across the world and hiring was basically forced to a halt. I think that's sufficient evidence for my point.
But through this process I have learned a lot and I am here to share!
Before you read on, think about why you're searching for a new job. Have you been out of work or wanting to leave your current job for a while now but you're feeling unprepared to find a new job? Then time is actually on your side!
Things are slowed down right now and less companies are hiring, so you can take this time to perfect what you want to submit to companies and network as much as possible without having to worry about missing out on the normal amount of opportunities that would go by in that time.
Or were you laid off and unexpectedly need to find a new source for income? Don't you worry, I've still got a silver lining for you too.
Here are 10 quarantine-time job search tips from me and one of the recruiters I work alongside. Ready... go!
1. Take this time to update your resumes and LinkedIn.
Yes, I said resumes. I advise having 2 copies of your resume saved on your computer. I have one straightforward, general copy that showcases everything I've done. I also have one that's a bit more creative with borders and colors, and more specifically tailored to a niche industry I've done some work in (entertainment).
Note: Try to keep your resume to 1 page if you only have a few years of experience or 2 if you're more senior. Note: Don't add the photos or icons you're thinking about adding. Note: Don't use repeat verbs to start your bullet points.
LinkedIn is more important than you know. Every time you update your resume you should be updating your LinkedIn as well.
2. Direct message the hiring managers of jobs you've applied for on LinkedIn.
I cannot recommend this enough. Make them notice your name! Do a little research on LinkedIn, find the most accurate contact and send a straight forward message.
Don't ignore the elephant in the room. Address the fact that you know they're probably busy due to COVID but you did that that they were still hiring so you wanted to reach out personally to express your in the position and see if they had any time to speak. Do this once you've already applied.
3. Companies deemed "essential" are the ones more likely to still be hiring.
Tech companies (especially any video communication technologies), banks, pharmacies, etc. Think of the companies that need to be up and running during this time and check their opportunities first because they'll probably be filled more quickly.
4. Set up email notifications on job boards.
Time is money! If you don't want these notifications in your email, save a search or two and set aside just 20 minutes every morning to look through the new postings.
5. Initiate conversation with people in your desired next job.
Again, you need to be utilizing LinkedIn. Connect with and message employees at the level you want to be at in the specific department you want to work in at a company. Ask to learn about what they do and how they got there.
Yes, in this case, go talk to some strangers.
6. Reach out to more senior-level personal connections for advice.
Of course, reach out to your friends and see who they know that might be able to help you out. However, your friend's parents likely know more of the higher-ups who would be more involved in hiring decisions. This goes for past teachers as well!
My advice is always to look through your LinkedIn connections' connections to see who they can put you in touch with.
7. Keep a job application notebook.
This is something I'd recommend if you're applying to lots of jobs at once. I've had multiple people tell me they can't even remember all of the jobs they've applied for or who they've heard back from/followed up with.
8. Ask for an "informational interview".
If a company you're interested in doesn't have any openings that fit your skills right now but likely will in the future or, in the case of current events, if the company is on a hiring freeze, ask for an "informational interview" to let the employer know you're just looking to learn.
You'll hear some no's from people who are too busy or people who haven't come to the realization that our decisions to help people helps ourselves as well, but you'll also hear a few yes's... and every yes is another foot in the door!
9. Pair up with a staffing firm for extra help!
There are literally no negatives unless you can't handle taking the time out of your day to answer a few questions that will result in having MULTIPLE extra sets of eyes looking out for opportunities for you.
Contrary to some people's beliefs, working with a firm will in no way cause you to get less pay. The more you make the more the firm's employees make. They're on your team.
10. If all else fails, take on a professional project or educational course/boot camp to avoid a resume gap.
If you really can't find a fit, fill your resume gap with something to show you're not someone who just sits around and waits for life to happen!
Projects can be anything from starting a social media page for a family friend's company for a small fee or free to signing up to deliver for Instacart or another food delivery service that's probably in need of workers right now.
I'd professionally recommend Instacart or other delivery services more for people who were laid off and already out of a job when COVID started. Companies are likely going to be more lenient than usual with people taking a job unrelated to their career history. Companies understand that a lot of people unexpected needed to find another way to make rent.
Boot camps are often held remotely for specific digital or technical skills that you'd be able to add to your resume. These are a great way to explain a gap in employment. You were "taking advantage of this time to add to your skillset in an effort to ensure you'd qualify for the positions you desire and feel passionate about." BOOM.
All in all, this is no time for laziness. It's a time for reflection and preparation, people! Your job is out there.