On April 9, the U.S. Department of Labor announced 6.6 million people filed claims for unemployment insurance in the week ending April 4. In the previous week, the total was 6,867,000. This equates to roughly 4% of the U.S. population filing for unemployment in a 14-day stretch. There’s a good chance we will hit 30% unemployment, which is just short of Great Depression numbers.
The most important thing to remember is this will pass, and we will get back to work. The saying, “Tough times don’t last, tough people do,” is appropriate in these circumstances. While we’ve never lived through a pandemic before, we know that this is temporary.
Our advice is not to wait until that time comes to start your job search. Be proactive and follow the suggestions below to best position yourself to re-enter the workforce now.
Update Your LinkedIn Profile
Does your profile accurately reflect your skills, experience, education, certifications, and job duties? Change your profile to “Open to opportunities”; this lets employers and recruiters know that you’re looking. Also, comb through the copy for typos and make sure your resume aligns with your LinkedIn profile (title, promotions, length of employment, etc). This is the low-hanging fruit.
Beyond that, when you’re notified how many searches your profile appears in each week, identify the industries and the common job titles of the people who perform those searches. Also, examine the companies and job titles of the people who view your profile. Combined, these data points can paint a picture of what your profile is optimized for, and you can take action from there.
Lastly, consider sharing your experiences by publishing blogs on LinkedIn. If writing isn’t your strong suit, curate interesting and relevant articles and share them on your feed to add value. An article you post may be shared, which can expand your reach and lead to new connections.
Optimize Your Resume
The time to refresh your resume is not once you find the job you want. The time is now.
While it’s true that your resume should be customized for the role that you’re applying to, you also should have a default resume ready to go. In your resume, listing your general job functions is not as helpful as specific results that you were responsible for (or contributed to) in past jobs. Brevity is important; don’t create a three-page resume.
Finally, it’s fine to have friends and family review your resume, but it’s better to seek help from a neutral third-party. In fact, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll take a look.
Tap Into Your Network
A spray-and-pray approach to job hunting is better than nothing, but it’s not as effective as targeted outreach through a mutual connection. Find someone who can vouch for you with a person who works at the company you are applying at. This could help you bypass the normal application process and increase the odds that your resume is read. You may even be able to skip the HR representative and speak directly to the hiring manager.
Also, do not worry about imposing on friends and family by asking for a connection. Lots of companies have employee referral programs to incentivize their workforce to find and hire talent. So there may be something in it for them aside from just doing you a solid.
Find Interactive Webinars
The new networking is interactive webinars. Since you can’t attend events in-person right now, search for webinars where you can meet other attendees virtually or where there are breakout rooms.
Also, another place to meet people is through private Facebook groups or industry-specific subreddits. In Austin, for instance, many professionals who work in digital marketing join Remote Digital Jobs, Austin Digital Jobs, and Austin Freelance Gigs to learn of new employment opportunities.
Identify Industries That Are Hiring
Fish where the fish are. Focus on jobs in industries that are growing even in this harsh economic climate. This Stackline report highlights some e-commerce categories that are booming, while McKinsey breaks down the sector-specific impact of COVID-19 here (pages 27-33).
Video cloud collaboration, cybersecurity, food delivery, and groceries are just a few industries that remain strong.
Managing expectations is important in this environment. Companies that are hiring do not have to settle right now. There’s an oversupply of talent. Keep that in mind when negotiating.
If you are looking for interim work as a freelancer, be creative. Evaluate each potential client individually. While a loss-leader approach may be tough to swallow in the short-term, if you’re confident that you can leverage the work to find more business at higher margins in the future, then perhaps it’s worth considering.
Also, think about barter agreements. You may be able to avoid hard costs by trading labor with a vendor that you need for a project. This is not always feasible, but it’s one potential solution to a common problem in this economy (i.e. cash conservation).
If there’s anything we can do to help your job search, or if you’d like to set up an appointment with one of our recruiters, email us at email@example.com.