Tips for Job Hunting During COVID-19

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We’re back with another job tips blog with the Content Staff.

More than 20 million Americans lost their job this spring, and a recession seems extremely likely, so is it even worth the time and effort to send out résumés and continue your job search during the coronavirus pandemic? For physical and occupational therapists, whose patients need their help regardless of economic conditions, the answer is yes, as long as you take a patient approach.

Business executives and hiring managers told The Muse in a recent article that they expect to see far fewer job openings in the short term, and it likely will be harder to get in contact with key personnel, who may be struggling with the logistics of working from home and caring for children who can’t go to school. But by continuing to network and build relationships, jobseekers can position themselves for success when hiring resumes.

Since finding a job might take a while, focus on any ways you can make your current job more satisfying, Nancy Halpern, founder of Political IQ, a New York-based leadership-consulting firm, told The Muse. And if you’re unemployed, consider taking a job that you might not be thrilled about as a stopgap measure while looking for something better. Your next job doesn’t have to be a permanent gig, Halpern told The Muse.

Here are four other tips for jobseekers from business executives and hiring managers, according to The Muse:

● Improve your online networking. Join professional groups on Facebook and LinkenIn, and participate in the conversation by posting comments and becoming visible, Halpern told The Muse. Share relevant articles, make comments that show your expertise and helpfulness, and remember to always keep it professional. Additionally, participate in online webinars and networking events, and invite professional contacts for a virtual cup of coffee, but remember to dress presentably and position your web camera well.

If you’ve been applying for jobs, then staying in touch with hiring managers is key. But it’s important to acknowledge in the email that you understand that they are dealing with a lot right now and that you may not hear back for a while.

Rather than asking prospective employers to focus on you during this time, ask if you can be of any help to them. Doing so may allow you to connect with hiring managers on a more personal level and offers a preview of the kind of employee you will be, according to Danielle Beauparlant Moser, managing director of bltCareers in Asheville, N.C., who was interviewed by The Muse.

Connect with hiring managers on LinkedIn, follow their companies, and make thoughtful comments that show you have read the posts and thought about the content.

● Learn about prospective employers. A company’s response to the pandemic provides insight into its culture, so jobseekers should follow relevant companies on social media, set up Google alerts for them and listen to investor calls. If a company is allowing employees to work from home, is supporting them in creative ways or has laid off workers, those might be good clues as to how the company treats employees and how management deals with adversity, Heidi Parsont, chief executive of TorchLight Hire in Alexandria, Va., told The Muse.

Learning about a company and what it’s dealing with during the pandemic might help you ace a future interview and show that you understand the company’s challenges. Think about the companies you want to work for, rather than the companies that currently have job openings. If you start making connections at those companies online, you might be top of mind for future openings.

● Don’t paint yourself into a corner. Now is a good time to evaluate whether there are other job functions and titles you might be interested in or are qualified for, according to Laura Labovich, CEO of The Career Strategy Group in Bethesda, Md., who was interviewed by The Muse.

Obviously, you should apply for all the job openings that meet most or all of your criteria, but if you think about your job skills and your field more broadly, you might find opportunities heading in a slightly different direction. With many companies laying off employees and struggling to stay afloat, job titles and roles are shifting, so be flexible.

● Sharpen your skills. If you have a lot of downtime on your hands, consider taking a massive, open online course (MOOC) for free from MIT, Harvard or one of the many other leading universities that are offering them. Bolster your computer skills through free Microsoft training and tutorials, or gain experience with Google Analytics and Hootsuite. If job openings mention a specific skill that you don’t have, this might be the perfect time to get it, Moser told The Muse.

No one can control how long the pandemic lasts or how deep the recession might be, but by improving and broadening your skill set and expanding your professional network, you can boost your odds of success and make yourself a more attractive job candidate.

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