In the best of times, starting a job search can be a daunting and confusing task. But in extremely uncertain and rapidly evolving times like these, many job-seekers are wondering, “Are there companies even hiring now? And if so, how do I start searching for a new job during the chaos of this coronavirus pandemic?”
It’s true as our current job market continues to shift, many companies will respond with layoffs, furloughs, cutting of work hours and overtime pay, and hiring freezes. But not all companies are following this path. Numerous companies are actively hiring and posting new jobs daily.
So while no one can predict when current work-related challenges will subside and the job market will steady itself, there are ways you can stay positive and proactive, and move forward in your efforts to job search, interview, network, communicate a compelling personal brand to land a great new role.
Here’s a list of 12 things you can do to set yourself up for quick success now and later, once the economy starts to rebound.
1. Know who’s hiring right now
Start your search on a job board like Moonlighting where you can find more than 200,000 remote and work-from-home jobs posted in the last 30 days, with new jobs posted every day.
Prioritize jobs that have been posted most recently as those companies are more likely to have a current role that needs to be filled immediately. Know if a posting has been up for weeks, it may be less of a priority for the company right now.
2. Take on a temp or freelance gig
If you don’t currently have a job, consider taking on temp and freelance work to pay bills. Gig work or freelance jobs can also be a great opportunity to gain in-demand skills and if you impress your co-workers, could lead to a full-time job when the job market improves.
If it’s your first time entering the realm of freelance, take stock of your top transferable skills and then search for opportunities to leverage these in a different capacity. Think of a passion or a potential side hustle that you haven’t tapped into yet. How can you spin that activity into a part-time job or freelance opportunity? Be flexible and willing to pivot as needed.
3. Get creative with pay and hours
Hiring has slowed, making the market more competitive. Leverage this time to offer more creative and flexible solutions for employers. Consider working on a consulting basis if an employer cannot hire full-time staff or negotiate a lower pay rate in the short term that will increase later if certain benchmarks are met.
4. Show off your transferable and soft skills
Many of the open jobs you’ll find right now are work-from-home positions. When applying for remote jobs, remember that employers are looking for people who are self-disciplined, have the excellent written and verbal communication skills necessary to communicate with colleagues and clients remotely, and are organized and efficient. Use your resume and cover letter to showcase soft skills required to successfully work from home.
New to remote work? Be confident when you’re reading job postings and remember you can still get the job even if you don’t meet all of the job qualifications. Take this opportunity to draw connections and showcase transferable skills from other positions.
5. Revamp your online profiles
Now is the perfect time to review your online profiles and add any new career accomplishments, education, passions, skills, and recommendations. Lean into developing your personal brand to give employers a sense of your narrative and mission, which will differentiate you from many applicants.
6. Explore new ways to promote yourself
Search out additional free promotional opportunities beyond the usual LinkedIn profile. To help workers during this difficult time, Moonlighting has made its business tools and services free to use. Create your free profile and post unlimited services to reach additional employers and set yourself up to get hired for freelance work available on Moonlighting.
7. Engage your network
People understand this is a difficult time and most want to help however they can. Tap into your networks including friends, family, professional mentors, and old colleagues to let them know you’re searching for work. Tell them about the types of jobs you’re looking for, your target companies, and arm them with a link to your Moonlighting profile (and any other professional profiles). Ask them to share your profile with their network to help expand your reach and if they have any connections with companies you’d like to work with, ask them if they would be willing to make an email introduction.
8. Prepare to interview virtually
While we’re all social distancing, virtual interviewing will be our new normal, so be prepared. Dress professionally, as though you’re heading into the company’s office, control your environment and find a place that’s quiet, clutter-free, and well-lit. Stay ahead of the curve by downloading video platforms like Zoom to ensure your interview runs smoothly from the start.
Prepare for the longer-term
9. Build relationships now that will help you later
Seek out like-minded professionals that you admire online to spark conversations about possible opportunities, virtual networking events, and chats. Join professional groups online available on Facebook and LinkedIn to expand your job search and network. During this downtime, it’s the perfect opportunity to make new authentic connections and revive old ones.
Then be sure to stay in touch, both to keep top-of-mind and to build a real relationship with new contacts so they’ll want to help you (and vice versa).
10. Get (and stay) organized
Everyone helping you in your search, now or when the economy improves, should be entered into a contact management database. This could be as elaborate as Salesforce or could be just a simple spreadsheet. Properly managed, a contact management document can help ensure that no opportunities slip by due to a missed outreach opportunity or follow-up. Simply utilize two crucial fields for every contact to stay on top of your outreach: “next action” and “date of next action.”
11. Upskill or re-skill for career or industry change
If you’re considering a career or industry change, pay attention to sectors growing as a result of this pandemic or its aftermath. Tech and other companies that are equipped to transition their in-office roles to remote ones, healthcare and manufacturing, media and entertainment sectors have all gotten a boost, as well as certain legal, tax and financial advisory service providers.
If you’re not already working in these fields, build the foundation now for a successful career or industry change when the time is right. Conduct research online, learn more by talking to people in your target areas, get involved with relevant associations, or consider freelancing to gain experience.
Don’t be afraid to enroll in online courses to expand your professional skill set. Having a few certifications under your belt could certainly help when applying for new roles. Given the current climate, several online learning companies have offered to share professional training and courses for free, like Coursera.
12. Be patient
Try to be patient with yourself and employers. This is a tough time for us all and companies are experiencing challenges undergoing so much change in such a short time. Recognize hiring processes may take longer than usual, given companies are trying to adapt to the new normal imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.
And don’t get discouraged; we’re here to help you get your job search started. Join Moonlighting today to receive alerts to new jobs posted and create a professional profile and service posts that help put you in front of people hiring today.