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Everything was probably going according to plan, and you had high hopes of landing your first-or even a new job soon. Then COVID-19 happened.
Layoffs, redundancies, and the shift to remote working is no doubt bound to leave you disillusioned, anxious and discouraged.
Fortunately, while hiring has slowed down the world over, there are still companies out there that are recruiting, albeit more competitively.
Here are some ways to leverage this time to stand out in your job search efforts and bag that role.
1. Strengthen Your Connections
While waiting for this cloud to pass, you can use your time to strengthen your networks and create and nurture newer ones.
If you ever doubted the power of networks, bear in mind that as many as 85% of roles that fall vacant are filled by way of networking.
With these figures in mind, it’s wise to reestablish contact with your existing network. This can bring up new job leads and viable current and future prospects you could benefit from.
2. Update Your Professional Toolkit
Whether you are a job seeker or have some years of experience under your belt, you can always benefit from a skill update.
Identify webinars in your industry and even online courses you can take during this time.
Adding a few certifications to your profile will be helpful when applying to new roles, fills up career gaps, and shows your initiative as a professional.
3. Embrace Flexibility
With opportunities being few and far between, it might be time to be more flexible as pertains to the kind of role you are looking for.
Gig work and freelancing are great options to tide you over. If you are just joining the job market, these job options can contribute to your work experience, which will help inch you closer to the role you want later on.
Evaluate your transferable skills and use this to create a profile that will help you nab some jobs in the coming weeks or months.
4. Brush up on Interviewing
If all goes well, you will be required to attend a screening, and other follow up interviews.
Despite your academic profile and work experience, how well you interview can be the difference between getting an offer or a regret letter.
Because most companies have implemented social distancing, prepare yourself for the possibility of a virtual interview.
For this to go on smoothly, dress like you would do for an in-person interview. This reflects well on you and prepares you psychologically as well.
In addition to this, control your environment by finding a silent, neat room with good lighting to interview in.
Keep in mind that employers are also looking for hires to work remotely if you interview in a less than productive environment, it will be challenging to convince them that you will be productive working from home.
5. Plan Your Job Search
This will call for you to approach your job search actively and strategically.
If you are finding yourself doing random searches a couple of times a week, you are doing yourself a disservice.
Instead, carve out specific blocks of time and dedicate this to your job search. You might choose to do this every single day or on every alternate day without fail.
Further, narrow these blocks down to cover precisely what you will be doing. Some of the activities to schedule include sourcing for open positions, sending actual applications, following up with prospective employers and recruitment agencies and so on.
While it might be easy to sit back and wait to resume your job search after the pandemic, there are actual gains to be made from accelerating your efforts at this time.
With any luck, you will have a new role or will be waiting to get started in one once the uncertainty is over.