Job Hunting Tips

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Job Hunting During Coronavirus? Here Are 20 Steps to Take

Job Hunting During Coronavirus? Here Are 20 Steps to Take

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Job Hunting Tips

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Job-hunting is a daunting task whether you’ve recently been laid off, are reentering the workforce to earn extra money or are trying to find a new job that’s a better fit for you than your current position. Before you even begin your search, however, there are certain steps you should take to set yourself up for success and ease the stress of the job application process.

Give yourself breathing room

Give yourself breathing room

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Job hunting can easily feel like a full-time job. Even if you’re trying to leave your current job as soon as possible or you are unemployed, don’t put too much pressure on yourself or you will burn out quickly. If you’ve been recently laid off unexpectedly, give yourself permission to emotionally recover before throwing yourself into the job search.

Set guidelines for yourself

Set guidelines for yourself

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Set attainable daily, weekly or monthly goals for yourself while on the job hunt. An example could be: apply to three jobs every week. These guidelines can help you feel less overwhelmed and stay motivated. To limit your stress, you can also set other rules for yourself, such as no checking your email past 8 p.m. or only checking the job listing at your dream company once a week instead of obsessively checking every day.

Hone in on your career goals

Hone in on your career goals

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Before you even start searching for jobs to apply for, take some time to think about what you would change about your last or current job and why.  What are your long-term career goals, and what’s the next logical step you can take to get yourself there? What kind of corporate culture or workplace environment will help you thrive? Making a “wish list” of aspects you’re looking for in a job will help you narrow down your search and avoid wasting time applying for jobs that aren’t a good fit for you.

Know your deal-breakers

Know your deal-breakers

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Once you know your wish list for things you’re looking for in a new job, it’s also important to settle on your deal-breakers, if any. Working hours, commute time, the ability to work from home and certain benefits options could be make-or-break depending on your needs. It can be easy to consider settling for a less-than-optimal work situation, but knowing these must-haves will help you be patient and hold out for a position that will be better for you in the long run.

Review your current finances

Review your current finances

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One potential deal-breaker on your list could be the salary range of the position. Before you start your job hunt, take a look at your finances to help determine the lower limit for a salary you’re willing to accept. You might be willing to take a lower salary or pay cut for your dream job but you need to know how much you need to make to support you and your family.

Consider a new career path

Consider a new career path

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As you look into changing positions or finding a new job, you should also take the time to consider whether it’s time to make a bigger change. This might be the time to change your career path. This can seem difficult and intimidating, but it’s possible to make a career change even if you’re years or decades into your chosen path. Do some preliminary research into fields that are easy to break into as well as the fastest-growing jobs in the U.S. and see if any of them appeal to you.

Refresh your resume

Refresh your resume

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Before starting your job search, you should do more than simply make sure your resume is up to date with your last position. You should also update your skills, refresh your resume’s formatting, remove any dated jargon and add keywords that will make your resume stand out from the crowd.

Plan to customize each application

Plan to customize each application

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You might try to boost your productivity by crafting a one-size-fits-all resume and cover letter, however, you could actually be hindering your chances of getting the job with that approach. Your resume and your cover letter should each be tailored to the job you are applying for. For your resume, you can keep the same basic structure but should tailor your skills and accomplishments sections to reflect the qualifications of each position you are applying for.

Update your website

Update your website

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If it’s been a while since you’ve given your personal website or portfolio a polish, now is the time to refresh it with your latest and greatest work. Technology and design trends are always changing, so make sure your website doesn’t look out of date even if the information on it is updated.

Clean up your social media

Clean up your social media

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Employers have become increasingly concerned about how their employees conduct themselves on social media. Some jobs and companies might ask for your social media handles when you apply for a job, while others will look for your profiles themselves. In fact, a study by the Society For Human Resource Management found that 43% of employers screen job candidates through social networks and search engines. You want to make sure anything that might come up won’t disqualify you from your dream job, so do a quick audit to make sure everything is work appropriate.

Use a second pair of eyes

Use a second pair of eyes

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It sometimes helps to have a second pair of eyes look over things and offer a fresh perspective. Have a friend or family member read over your resume, peruse your portfolio or check out your social media pages. They might pick up on things you didn’t notice, from small errors to potential problems.

Consult with an expert

Consult with an expert

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Another option to get a helpful second opinion would be to hire a professional resume service. Especially if you are reentering the workforce, haven’t been on the job hunt in years or are switching industries, an expert can give you the latest, industry-specific advice on tone, formatting and more.

Rehearse any explanations you may need to give

Rehearse any explanations you may need to give

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If there are any items on your resume that might be a red flag for employers, be prepared with an explanation. These include leaving a job after a short period of time or having a huge employment gap on your resume. Know how to briefly discuss the circumstances and try to put a positive spin on how you dealt with the situation.

Do a practice interview

Do a practice interview

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Besides just explaining certain elements on your resume, you should begin rehearsing your “elevator pitch” — a short, engaging response about who you are and why you’d be a great candidate for a job. One of the best ways to test out your elevator pitch is to do a practice interview. Ask a friend or family member to pose common interview questions so you won’t feel put on the spot when it comes time for a real interview.

Ask for letters of recommendation

Ask for letters of recommendation

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When you’re applying for jobs, some employers may require you to include a letter of recommendation. To give individuals time to write one for you, consider asking them before you dive into your job hunt. You should choose former managers or colleagues that can attest to your work skills rather than friends or family members. You might be asked to provide names and contact information of potential references. As a courtesy, reach out to the people you plan to put as references in advance to let them know you plan on listing their name and contact information.

Make sure your skills are up to date

Make sure your skills are up to date

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Before you begin applying for jobs, make sure any trainings or certifications you need for the position are up to date. If you haven’t used certain skills in a while that you plan to list on your resume, take a quick refresher. If you’re feeling rusty, you can give yourself practice exercises or perhaps even volunteer at an organization that would allow you to use the skills you need to refresh.

Take online classes

Take online classes

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If you realize you’re lacking in a skill to get your dream job or could use something to beef up your resume, consider taking an online course. There are a wide variety of both paid and free classes that can teach you everything from coding to social media marketing. It could be something short or a multi-week or even college-level program.

Improve your soft skills

Improve your soft skills

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While there are plenty of new skills you can learn to add to your resume, you can also put in work on improving your “soft skills.” These are intangible, interpersonal skills such as time management, business etiquette, communication and empathy. They are often hard to quantify but can make just as much of a difference when it comes to getting the job. Think about stories that demonstrate your soft skills to tell in interviews. You can also impress a potential employer by explaining how you’ve been putting in the work to improve a soft skill you were previously lacking in.

Reach out to your network

Reach out to your network

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Before you start your job search, leverage the network you’ve already established. Update your social media and job networking platforms like LinkedIn to reflect that you’re on the job hunt. Message any former employers or coworkers to inquire about positions at their company or elsewhere in the industry that you might be a good fit for. You just might save yourself the stress of combing through job listing sites with a recommendation from within your network.

Expand your network

Expand your network

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You can do more than rely on the network you already have. Expand your network by joining professional groups on Facebook or LinkedIn, find local professional organizations, and ask people in your current network to make virtual introductions to other people in your industry or the one you’re hoping to break into. If you’re considering strategically switching career fields or even moving cities for a stellar position, consider looking at the best cities for jobs in the U.S.

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