Top 10 rules for owning your job search during COVID-19

Industries and economies continue to grapple with the lifestyle and work shifts resulting from COVID-19. Many are committed to pursuing their job hunt, while others are beginning their search from scratch to enter a new field, meet current geographic demand, or lend experience and skills to industries experiencing the most need. Using your time effectively and establishing new behaviors that support your search will help ensure career success as economies recover.

Whether you have some or none of these tips in your job search toolkit, developing a routine rooted in this Forbes Top 10 list will help you stand out to employers. 

  1. Build relationships now that will help you later.

Begin by analyzing your current network of peers, friends, and family to uncover the job opportunities that may not yet be advertised. Work to strengthen your relationship-building skills by making these connections aware of your career objectives and the value you might bring to the work they or their employer do.

  1. Get organized to get results.

Keep contact with new and existing connections top-of-mind by thoughtfully organizing their information and taking proactive follow-up actions that prevent missed opportunities. Discover which tools like spreadsheets, digital alerts, and memo reminders will be most effective for you. 

  1. Set up informational meetings now.

Once you establish contacts who might be able to refer or hire you, plan a time dedicated to information sharing. As many continue to work from home, the chances of having extra available time increase. Spend the meetings gathering more information about the employer or contact through insightful questioning, share a concise value pitch you add to the field/role, and inquire about other potential opportunities that may be worth pursuing. Always close with an expression of gratitude for indulging the favor.

  1. Have lots of meetings – win at the numbers game.

Cast a wide job net and formulate a plan for networking or cold-emailing/calling to hiring teams. Many job opportunities simply won’t mature for reasons unrelated to your skills or experience – budgets, company initiatives, personnel shifts, etc. Having multiple prospects in the works at every stage of the search ensures better chances for landing the job.

  1. Build the foundation now for a successful career or industry change when the time is right.

Research the areas of work that align both with your career interest and growth projections. Learn more by connecting with professionals in the field, enrolling in abbreviated skill trainings or courses, and/or participate in association groups that provide insight as well as networks. If changing careers, power your employability by fitting field learning into your schedule with online courses.

  1. Be flexible about how you’re willing to be paid.

Current professional or economic situations may prevent a hiring manager from offering you a target salary demand. To take advantage of the job opportunity, negotiate a compromise such as agreeing to a decreased salary that can be re-evaluated pending performance benchmarks being met.

  1. Get involved with the right association.

Joining an association or professional organization matches with your desired career field not only expands your network but also provides external qualifications that allow your resume to stand out amongst the competition. These groups can strengthen your relationship-building muscle and deliver newer experiences outside of the work environment. 

  1. Pay attention to sectors that may be growing.

Job markets across the country will experience changing growth projections. Keep focused on the fields that have experienced consistent growth with strong compound annual growth rate (CAGR), which measures the rate of return for investors.

  1. Take action as if you knew you could be let go at any time. 

Job security, for most, is never guaranteed. Being proactive in your job search and preparedness will provide an easier transition should your employer find your current role is no longer needed. Organize the contacts you’ve acquired in your current and previous roles, document personal work you can supply a possible work portfolio with, and polish your resources that make your marketable like your resume or CV.

  1. Don’t forget empathy. 

In the midst of managing stressful life situations, it’s effortless to focus on the issues affecting us most. Strengthen your resolve and practice empathy as you navigate your search. Set reminders that others may be experiencing the same, or worse, situations. Reassure the hiring teams you connect with that future conversations can be arranged should this not be an ideal time to discuss the opportunity.

To read more about how to master your job search, visit Forbes.

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