These job search tips pertain to seasoned professionals as well as recent graduates. I have gone through job search, applications and interviews multiple times in my 15+ years of professional life including a layoff.
As a hiring manager for startup companies and big corporations, I hope to share what I have learned throughout my career to help you get hired and land your next job especially in this challenging time.
1. Have the right mindset
Mindset is your greatest asset
Having the right mindset is absolutely crucial in the whole job search process. If you started out thinking no company is currently hiring during coronavirus, then you probably will not feel like applying and that just closes out any potential opportunities and possibilities. On the other hand, know that there are companies that are still hiring and you keep on with your effort to job hunt, it will eventually pay off in one way or another even landing your dream job.
Patience & Persistence: keys to successful job search
Job search is a long and exhausting process that needs a lot of patience and persistence. Don’t let any negative thoughts discourage you to the extend that you give up any hope. Being motivated is important and while the process might be slow, trust that taking small steps will lead you to your goal.
Be open to change
As someone who was laid off before in my first job after 4 years with the company, I have to say that it turned out to be one of the best things that happened to my career. It led me to my second job with a startup company where I made many lasting friendships and met my mentor. It’s cliche but true is the saying,
2. Know what you want
Cope with a layoff
If you have recently been laid off, it’s normal to feel disappointed and may even feel a sense of betrayal. Before diving into job searching though, take the time to cope with the feeling of disappointment and acceptance and recovery first. While going through the different stages of grief for the job loss, ask important questions about what you want to do, what you are good at as a way to discover yourself. The clearer you know what you want the better you will be at achieving your goals.
Increase clarity to achieve your goals
With the said, not everyone knows what they want and what their purpose are in life; some discover themselves over time and some never will. Also people and their wishes change over time through experiences, circumstances, age, etc. You don’t have to know 100%, you just need to understand to the extend what to prioritize for the foreseeable future. It will help align your job search criteria to your desires, values and priorities to find your new ideal job.
3. Build a strong profile and elevator pitch
By understanding yourself a bit better, you can be more effective in building your professional profile. It’s the fundamental of which everything you do is built upon. That’s why I cannot stress enough the importance of knowing what you want in order to get your ideal job.
Develop your personal brand
Just like a personal brand, your professional profile is how you market yourself. If you market yourself right, you will attract more of the recruiters and employers that you’re actually interested in. So, create a great resume that you can post in all job boards and a strong Linkedin profile in public forums where recruiters and hiring managers can find you.
Read this article: Linkedin profile examples and tips via Linkedin.
Write a refined and concise resume and bio
Imagine yourself and step in the shoe of a hiring manager for a moment, you see thousands of resumes in the database or receive hundreds of candidates filtered by your HR department for you to review and you can only allocate a few minutes on skimming through each resume in hopes to find the right candidate for the job you posted, what would you look for in a resume?
A great resume is also like a 2-minute elevator pitch. One day you’re lucky to bump into the CEO of your company in an elevator, how would you introduce yourself in a short brief of conversation?
If you can concisely describe who you are, what you can do, what you have accomplished in your career so far, what you are looking for in the next opportunity and why you are the right fit for the job, you are more likely to get a call from the hiring managers and recruiters.
A great resume or profile includes the following:
- Objectives: what you’re looking for in your next job
- Highlights & Achievements: what you have accomplished so far
- Skills & Qualifications: what are your strengths and why you are a good fit
- Experiences: how your past work is relevant to the current job opening
- Education: what is your educational foundation
- Awards: what other outstanding recognition you received
Remember, among the hundreds or thousands of resume, how do you stand out? Hint: let your personality and uniqueness show.
Check out also these resume advice on Glassdoor:
4. Reach out to your network
Once you build your profile or resume, you may start posting and sharing it online where you can be found by recruiters and hiring managers.
Let people know you’re seeking new job opportunities
At the same time, start reaching out to people you know and in your network, letting people know that you are now open to new opportunities. Through referrals, your job applications may get prioritized in the applicants queue helping you get in front of the recruiters and be “seen”.
Make sure to enable the “open to job opportunities” feature to let recruiters know you’re seeking a new job.
5. Be strategic about job search and applications
At a difficult time like this, it becomes increasingly more important to be strategic about your job search and application.
Reach out to your network and friends / family contacts
Referral is way more effective in getting you an interview opportunity than standard application process where you will be competing against all other qualified applicants like yourself to get any attention.
Leverage your network to help you get your application directed to the recruiter who is responsible for the job opening you are interested in. In some cases where your friends have mutual connection with the hiring manager, request them to introduce and connect you for positions that you are seriously interested in.
Target companies and industries that are actively hiring
Many companies have ordered temporary hiring freeze but there are still others that continue to hire for year 2020. For example, grocery and supermarket chains are staffing up, companies that make remote work possible are hiring, so are healthcare and pharmaceutical companies.
Find out who’s still hiring now:
- On Linkedin, search via the hashtag #HiringNow.
- Here’s who’s hiring right now via Linkedin.
- Companies hiring right now via Indeed.
Tech companies that are hiring
Specifically, these are companies that as of this writing still actively hiring. Some of them like ServiceNow has even pledged to their employees that there will be no layoffs during the Covid19 pandemic crisis.
- Survey Monkey
Non-tech companies that are hiring
- Fidelity Investment
- Whole Foods
6. Brush up on your job skills
While you are busy looking for jobs, don’t forget to take this opportunity to hone your career related skills. Whether to prepare for an interview or for the job you know you will be likely to take on, now is a good time to refresh your memory and improve your skills.
Sign up for online classes, listen to podcasts, watch educational youtube videos and read books to keep you learning and productive. While learning and making progress, you are more likely to stay motivated and feel a sense of purpose.
Check out these resources that are available to you (free of charge):
7. Get your interview outfit ready
Now, when was the last time you had your last interview? 3 years ago or 5 years ago? Do you still have interview outfits that will fit? Most companies require business casual if not formal business attire for interviews, depending on the roles you are applying for. Now is a good time to get the outfits ready, have them dry cleaned, pressed and ironed. Even if you were to interview via video conferencing you want to show up looking your best professional image, as you manage to get this far, the last thing you want is to scramble last minute for proper and clean clothes.
Speaking of which, I think you should read the following video interview guide to get familiar with the process:
- Video interview guide via Indeed
8. Prepare for your job interview
Research the company and the job
As the opportunity to interview will come, prepare ahead of time and learn as much as you can about the employer and the job opening.
Find out about your interviewers
Once, the recruiter confirmed the interviewers whom you will meet, learn about each of the interviewers too. And, when you meet them, create a genuine human connection.
Ask good questions
Interview is a 2-way conversation, as much as telling about yourself, you should also ask questions to the interviewers and hiring managers. Ask relevant questions to learn more about the company, the hiring manager, the team, the job responsibilities or expectations, the interview process or anything that you want to know.
Prepare to answer the reasons you left your last job
Interviewer ask this question out of curiosity but sometimes to understand how long you intend to stay with the company you are interviewing with. It is always best to give an honest answer, but speak of the reasons positively. There is no benefits in speaking badly about past employers, it will only backfire. Prepare to give your answer in a respectable manner, keep it brief without causing unnecessary red flag.
Here’s a recommended read: How to explain your reasons for leaving a job via Indeed.
Practice interview questions and write your answers down
Many interviewers ask personality type questions, and as easy as it may seem, people still stumble when asked. While feeling anxious during interviews, you may not be as spontaneous as you normally would be, the best way to address is by preparing.
Research questions that you are most likely will be asked and write down your answers on a piece of paper. You are more likely to remember what you wrote down on paper than what you think in your head. You don’t want to sound scripted when answering questions, but it would be helpful to develop several main points that you can wrap your sentences around.
Research through helpful resources such as Glassdoor
One of the best resources to research interview questions and employers reviews is through Glassdoor. Read about the company culture, interview questions and process, salary range, etc. which are information that are available for free.
9. Build confidence
The more prepared you are the more confident you will feel. So, the best way to build confidence is to prepare, a lot. You have only one chance to create an impression, so present your best looking self that shows your confidence across video screens.
Dress for confidence. Do a trial run to make sure your equipments are set up properly if you will be doing video call interviews. Imagine yourself succeeding at the interviews knowing that you are the best candidate for the job will boost your self-confidence.
Here are some Ted talks for you to watch before a job interview.
10. Improve negotiation skills to close a job offer
Closing a job offer is very much like closing a sale
You are trying to convince the interviewers and employers that you are the best candidate for the job and you can solve their problems or fill their needs. State the reasons why you want this job and why they should hire you.
Be enthusiastic, but don’t look desperate
At difficult financial times like this, you may be willing to take any job but don’t look desperate. You must remain professional and more than being desperate, you want to show them how you are the perfect candidate for the job, not because of financial reasons.
Be modest, don’t oversell yourself
Although you try to persuade the interviewers of your qualification, you don’t want to overdo it. Try not to be all about yourself as a self-centered person either. You are always going to be working as a team, being a team player and someone who is going to fit the culture of the organization will be an important factor of consideration for the interviewers to want to work with you.
I hope these tips on job search and job interview were helpful to you. Let me know if you have any questions. Good luck in finding your next job. You can do it!