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Use your extra time spent indoors to revise your resume and online portfolio. Pay special attention to your career milestones, passions and skills. Fix any potential grammatical errors and use active language to highlight your achievements. If you have a fun hobby that pertains to your career search, add that in. Work to create your brand and show employers what differentiates you from other candidates vying for the same opportunity.
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Customize your resume and cover letter for each job submission. When you apply for a position online, your resume likely goes through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). The ATS scans your resume, looking for keywords — like job titles and skills — that would indicate you fit the job listing’s requirements. The trick to making it past the scan is to verify that keywords in your resume match what’s in the job posting. According to Monster, an online career finder, approximately 75% of resumes are eliminated after going through an ATS because they lack the requirements that a hiring manager particularized. It might seem time-consuming, but in the end, this extra step can be what lands you the job you’ve been looking for.
Mastering how to successfully work from home is a key skill many employers will be looking for during the hiring process. Yes, you can be the perfect employee when you’re in the office, but explaining how you’re a great communicator and hard worker even when you have to work from your couch is just as important.
The best way to grow your network when you’re stuck at home is to utilize online platforms and reach out to former contacts. Message old colleagues, professional mentors, coworkers and close friends. Coffee shops and restaurants might be unavailable as meet-up spots, but you can still stay connected virtually. Schedule virtual coffee meetings or plan a virtual lunch.
Former connections might be able to help you land your dream job, but work to expand your network with new contacts. Join professional groups on Facebook or LinkedIn. If you’re interested in a new role at an unfamiliar company, reach out to someone in a similar position and schedule an informational interview. Ask background questions about a typical workday, skills needed to land the gig and the most fulfilling part of the job. Be open, honest and authentic about your pursuits.
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In response to coronavirus, many states have made online resources available for individuals who are out of work or hoping to improve their skillset. Check regularly for guides and tools like financial literacy sessions and recruitment and placement services.
Although there are a number of businesses that have closed their doors or laid off employees due to coronavirus, there are plenty of companies and industries that are still hiring, and more than a few are high-paying positions. Aim for the industries that are thriving in the wake of the pandemic or are offering work that can be completed both in the office and remotely.
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According to a report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that documented employment rates for the month of March, leisure and hospitality, education and health services, professional and business services, and retail and trade were the industries hit the hardest by the spread of coronavirus. Employment fell by 459,000 in the leisure and hospitality field alone. If you work in one of the former fields, it might be time to consider a new career path and set yourself on a path of financial security.
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The hiring process for a new, full-time gig might be slow. Keep your finances in order by remaining flexible and considering temporary openings. Freelance writing, proofreading or virtually tutoring students at home can all be side jobs that earn you extra cash. Part-time work might not be ideal, but if you see a position you like, apply for it.
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In a slow job market, you might be tempted to apply to every job that pops up on your radar. Don’t waste your time applying to opportunities that don’t align with your career goals. Quality should always overrule quantity. Spend your time crafting your resume for opportunities that allow you to demonstrate the wide set of skills you have and will help you grow.
If you have all of the qualifications required to apply to a position, perfect. But if you don’t check all of the boxes, don’t allow it to stop you from submitting your resume. There’s a difference between under-qualified and unqualified. If you have achievements that align with the role, can add value to the position and match almost all of the requirements for the position, you might be a shoo-in. Make the case for why you’re the perfect candidate with your resume.
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Soft skills are character traits and non-technical abilities that improve your capability to work with others in a team setting. Listening, leadership, communication, adaptability, creativity and time management are all examples of soft skills. Look within to determine what skills you have and sell them. While it’s important to be able to handle the technicalities of a job, knowing how to be polite and work collaboratively with others can make or break your chance at landing a role.
There’s no such thing as having too many skills in your professional toolbelt. From writing to gardening, there are plenty of cool online classes you can take to not only fill in your time but also to enhance your skillset.
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Once you’ve been selected out of the applicant pool, chances are your interviews will be held virtually, either through video or over the phone. Phone interviews might be tricky because it’s difficult to decipher someone’s tone over the line, and video calls can easily make a turn toward being awkward if you feel nervous on camera. Practice for a video call by finding a spot in your home that will suffice as a background and choosing the proper attire. Pick the least stress-inducing place in your home with good service and jot down notes ahead of your interview to serve as guiding points.
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Don’t let the news that an employer isn’t currently hiring deter you from the job hunt. Ask the hiring manager to keep you in mind. Future opportunities might open up, or a position could be created that aligns perfectly with your skills.
Try your best to be patient. These are trying times for everyone. Just as there are a number of people on the job hunt, there are businesses having to restructure what their every day looks like. Put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager if you’re anxious or worried about what might be happening behind the scenes. An overload of applications, a hold on the job, or a pile of work on their plates could be delaying the hiring process.
This is most likely a lesson your parents taught you as a child, but don’t be afraid to hear the word “no.” Rejection is, unfortunately, a part of life, so don’t take it personally. Allow yourself to process the rejection, ask for feedback and keep the search moving.
Take time each week to decompress and reevaluate your resume, cover letter and online portfolio to see if you’re properly reflecting your brand and what you can bring to the table. Ask yourself whether the opportunities that you’ve added to your search list align with your career goals, skills and experiences.
As hard as you might try to sound like the perfect applicant for a role, the most important thing is that you remain authentically you. The only way to guarantee that a role is a perfect fit is to be yourself during the interview process.
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Applying for a new position can easily begin to feel like a full-time job. Keep up your momentum by creating a schedule and setting aside time each day to search and apply for opportunities. Reward yourself in small ways by doing a fun workout, reading a book or streaming one of these happy shows on Netflix or Hulu.
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