2020 was an odd year on so many accounts. It presented humanity with an unprecedented catastrophe that stopped everything in its tracks. The business world has been no exception. However, our resilience is beginning to pay off and the job market is beginning to brim with new opportunities. Here’s a word of caution though. Even under normal circumstances, finding a new job role that’s perfect for you takes tremendous rigor and determination. For many people, the process can take weeks, if not months. Adding COVID to the mix, there’s no telling how hard looking for a new job can be. Depending on where you are in your career, the focal points of your job search will differ. For instance, if you are a mid-level executive, your network will open more doors than your resume. However, if you are a fresher, the opposite will be true. Meaning, your fate will mostly depend on the efficacy of a single-page summary of your professional attributes. However, it is always a good idea to check off a few bases before you begin.
Broadly speaking, you need to be prepared on two fronts; the job hunting and the interview itself. Let go over a primer on both.
Being Search Ready
Don’t forget to acknowledge the time that you’re living in. Given how volatile the business world currently is, you may need to apply for roles that are slightly outside your wheelhouse. Being open to new possibilities and avenues will help you sustain yourself until market stability returns. Moreover, you can leverage the experience gained in the interim to become more suitable for a role better suited to your expectations.
Make sure that you don’t enter interviews unprepared. Research skills relevant to the positions you’re applying to. Take self-paced courses to fill as many skill-gaps as possible. Even if you’re an excellent communicator, practice interview questions beforehand. Moreover, 2020 has thrust yet another variable that you need to make peace with; remote communication. The nuggets discussed above apply here as well but a little extra preparation will bolster your chances to a great extent. Firstly, make sure that you’re entering remote interviews with a solid internet connection and a proper audio setup. Secondly, get comfortable with talking through a screen. Record your practice sessions on video if need be. The goal here is to make sure that unfamiliarity with the medium and technical glitches don’t thwart your personality from taking the spotlight.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s discuss some strategies that’ll ensure your job-search journey is not any more turbulent than it needs to be. They are:
Nurture your Wide Network
Nowadays, being present on multiple social media platforms is not anomalous. That’s because such platforms are no longer just fun and games. They’ve transformed into full-blown business tools. Furthermore, professional opportunities aren’t restricted to any one platform. All social media platforms are equally significant to your network. Even more so if you are engaged in a pursuit that combines artistic creativity with business. For instance, if you’re a photographer, your next job opportunity may come from one of your followers. So, keep nurturing your social media presence over time, especially if you’re pursuing a creativity-heavy career. Also, remember to keep your network relevant to your aspirations. Don’t focus on merely increasing the number of people you’re connected with. Doing so will only subject you to unnecessary clutter when you have to sift through contacts for a viable lead. Also, make sure that you regularly engage with your network. One way to do so is by sharing valuable information that your network can benefit from. Appreciating others for their achievements and milestones also goes a long way. On certain platforms, focusing on aesthetics is important too. In other words, cater your digital presence to the platform you’re using and incentivize people for being a part of your network. However, don’t confuse putting your best foot forward for practicing inauthenticity. The key here is to strike a balance between being desirable and authentic.
Craft a Powerful Resume
Let’s face it. If your resume doesn’t interest your employer, you can forget about getting an interview. However, the pandemic has changed the rules of resume-building. It has highlighted certain new-age skills that set prospective candidates apart from guaranteed rejects. For instance, your resume can greatly benefit from a line communicating your proficiency in team-communication platforms. Along the same lines, pre-pandemic experience in a remote-working environment will also be seen as highly valuable going forward. If you’ve led a remote team, that’s even better. The gist here is that a well-crafted resume template will only take you so far. Nowadays, you need to tailor your resume to the current market standards as well as the job you are applying for. Also, the age-old wisdom of keeping it short and crisp still applies wile maintaining relevance and exuding authenticity.
Showcase recommendations on Professional Network
Trust-markers come in all shapes and sizes. However, nothing works better than testimonials from former or current colleagues. When other people vouch for you, it not only signals that you’re competent at your job but also that you can collaborate effectively. Meaning, they help employers see you from a detached perspective. They validate nuances of your personality that only seem credible when they don’t come directly from you. However, it can be challenging to acquire recommendations without being downright imposing and transactional. Moreover, simply asking a colleague to write a recommendation gives them very little incentive to write something that isn’t hackneyed. Instead, if you nurture such relationships with colleagues that inspire them to write a recommendation off their own accord, the difference speaks for itself. When someone genuinely feels helped by you or appreciates your presence in the organization, their words of appreciation are highly personalized and impactful.
Commit to Personal Growth Projects
Once you view upskilling and reskilling as mandatory parts of your professional life, committing to them becomes easier. Thereafter, the more consistent you are with personal growth projects, the better your employability becomes. So, the next time you have a hunch to pursue a learning experience, just go for it. After all, employers only look down upon you for the skills you don’t have, not the ones you have certifications for. Furthermore, don’t tremble at the thought of committing to difficult projects. Even when you work on projects that scarcely overlap with your KRAs, you go through tremendous personal growth. For instance, volunteering for projects that don’t fall within the purview of your team helps you polish your collaborative abilities.