“I’m sorry, but we have to let you go.” Words that no working woman wants to hear…especially just starting out in her career…and especially during a pandemic! We all know that a job search can be stressful under the best of conditions. But in these current times of COVID-19, how do we stay in the right frame of mind to be successful in today’s job search?
While frustration with government for shutting commerce down or anger at a former employer are natural emotions to be experiencing right now, focusing on the negative of the situation is a sure way to stay unemployed. Even when emotions are running high, succeeding in job searching requires a level of personal awareness to ensure you don’t appear desperate, despondent, or any other range of emotions that don’t show you in your best light.
Two game-changing strategies
As the CEO of a global career coaching business that has worked with over 200 Fortune 500 companies helping hundreds of thousands of people find meaningful work, I focus on two key job search strategies that are game-changers in staying sane during your search and landing quickly. These two strategies – build your personal brand and build your network – are the best way to stand out in a crowded job market, which is honestly the only way you’ll get noticed these days.
First, focus on your personal brand. No, this isn’t just about your resume. Dig deep here. Are you clear on what you really want to do and how you’ll bring value to an organization? A retail executive in transition, is showing his value to people in his network by offering some free consulting, which is yielding introductions to executives at his target companies. Focus on who you are at your personal and professional best and bring that person with you to your interviews, not the desperate job seeker!
Now, make sure you can articulate your brand easily when talking with people, so you make it easy for them to help you, because your network is your #1 resource for your next job. I know, you’ve heard it before that most people find jobs through networking, but in case you still need convincing, a study by the recruiting firm, Lever, shows that you’re 10 times more likely to be hired if an employee refers you for an opening compared to applying online. In a challenging job market like we have today, up to 95% of resumes are never even seen by a human! Spending 40 hours a week clicking “apply” on the job boards is not only a bad job search strategy, it will lead to endless frustration and loneliness in your search.
If the term networking makes you uncomfortable, how about reframing it “connecting?” Better yet, “reconnecting.” All those Facebook friends and LinkedIn connections that you occasionally click “like” on are perfect resources to reach out to with the purpose of building an authentic connection, with the goal of getting to the hiring manager for an opportunity you’re interested in, or at least having an employee make a personal referral. Another client reconnected with an executive at her former company and clearly articulated her expertise. A week later, that executive made an introduction to a peer at another company for an open position that was a perfect fit for her, and she got the job.
Create Your Own Future
There is another a bright spot for job seekers to focus on in the current economy. More than ever before, we have the power to choose our path going forward. It used to be that if you were looking for a job that you had to wait for the economy to return for jobs to open back up again. Between gig work, part time openings, consulting opportunities and entrepreneurial ventures, the American economy rewards those who take control of their own career destiny.
Lastly, I urge people to create a “Super Team” while job searching, which is like your own personal board of advisors. You’ll want professional contacts who know your industry or field as well as leaders you respect who can share their perspective on your approach to the market, give feedback on your resume and even help you with mock interviews. You’ll also want friends or family or possibly even a faith leader who can help lift your spirits when you’re down and remind you of all your great qualities.
Job Search During Covid? Yes, You Can.
Creating a sense of well-being while doing a job search in these unpredictable times might seem like an overwhelming task. But it doesn’t have to be. Give yourself grace, surround yourself with a strong support network, and build and work your brand. Good things are bound to come down the pike!
This guest post was authored by Lauren Herring
Lauren is the CEO of Impact Group, the largest woman-owned career coaching company and the author of Take Control of your Job Search! 10 Emotions You Must Master to Land the Job.