Whether you’ve been laid-off or you need to get out of a dead-end job, entering the job market right now may not seem like great timing. But the truth is, while it may take time, you can find a great job even in a not-so-great economy.
The key is to make yourself marketable to the kind of employers you’d love to work for. Here are our best tips to get started:
Beef Up Your Resume
On average, a recruiter looks at a resume for only six seconds. To increase your chances of landing an interview, you have to make yourself marketable by creating a resume highlighting what makes you unique.
You’ll want to include up to date education, work history, volunteering, and organizations you’re a part of, especially if those relate to your industry. But don’t stop there, related hobbies or passion projects can help you stand out from the crowd. For instance, never had a formal construction job, but grew up building and fixing things around your house? Include it. Spend your weekends rescuing animals? Add it. Employers want to know you’re qualified, but they also want to get to know you.
That being said, you should ideally keep your resume at one page if your experience is on the lighter side and no more than two pages if you have extensive experience. There isn’t a one size fits all template for resumes, but you can get an idea of what works for you through sample resumes (for instance, from this post on Indeed).
If you don’t already have a Linkedin profile, you should definitely get one. While other sites like CareerBuilder and Monster.com are effective for circulating your resume, LinkedIn is by far the leader for profession profiles with 95% of recruiters using the platform.
Once you’ve set up your profile, look at LinkedIn like a professional social network. The reach of your LinkedIn profile is built on your professional connections, so there’s a tangible benefit to connecting with as many people as you can. Log on regularly and interact with people in your industry. Just make sure that when you reach out to people on LinkedIn you keep messages short and to the point.
Not only is LinkedIn a free networking platform, they also have LinkedIn Learning courses to further develop your job skills. They offer these courses free for one month and with over 16,000 free and paid courses to choose from, there is bound to be something for everyone.
Clean Up Your Social Media
Social media is now an incredibly important part of our professional persona. According to a recent survey by CareerBuilder, 70% of employers check a candidate’s social media before hiring—and 54% have eliminated a candidate based on what they saw.
Try to look at your social media profiles through the eyes of an employer. When in doubt, delete or edit posts that don’t reflect your best professional self. And don’t forget the photos! Check back on old photos from college or high school that may not appear as professional now.
Increase Your Skill Set
Whether you want to stand apart from a sea of candidates or you’re looking for a whole new career path, it may be worth investing time developing skills that make you even more of an asset. Self-help classes ranging from Harvard’s online courses and Khan Academy, to coding classes like General Assembly are becoming more affordable. Many are also offering discounts right now to help with those struggling from the quarantine economy. Virtually every skill now has an online resource to get started, giving you the power to shape your future career.
Use Your Network
The number one way new candidates find jobs is through referrals. Have a friend whose company is hiring? Email them. Don’t know anyone whose company is hiring? Make a social media post and let friends know you’re looking. There is no substitute for leveraging those you know for a new job and there is no shame in doing so. The coronavirus pandemic is a crisis unlike any we’ve ever seen and if you find it difficult to publicly voice that you’re looking for work, know that we are all in this together. No one is judging you for making yourself marketable right now. And no one can help you find a job if they don’t know you’re looking.
Conquering the Zoom Interview
If the position you are applying for requires a video interview, make sure to prepare for this interview a little differently than in pre-COVID times. Here’s some tips on how to prepare your talking points, dress the part, and get the job!
Remember: it’s easy to get discouraged but don’t. Job hunting is difficult, now more than ever. If you updated your resume and still haven’t gotten the results you want, have a friend take another look. Stay focused, don’t give up, and believe in the power of yourself. The rest will come with time.