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7 Tips for Navigating Your Job Search During COVID-19

by Jessica Palm | Apr 08, 2020

Experiencing job loss is already stressful, and job loss during COVID-19 can add even more anxiety. To help you navigate your job search during this time, consider the following tips from TeamKC, a network of 1,100+ corporate recruiters from across the KC region:

1. Validate Your Feelings

It’s ok to feel what you’re feeling. Take a moment to let yourself process your new situation - you may be overwhelmed, angry, scared, or even relieved to move on to a new opportunity. All of your thoughts are valid. 

Acknowledging your feelings upfront helps minimize an ongoing and overwhelming sense of urgency and panic as you actively start your job search. 

Try this: Share how you’re feeling with someone close to you. Write down the emotions you’re experiencing. Take a quick walk or a find a few minutes of quiet time to reflect on the news you just received. 

2. Set Goals

Looking for a new job can seem like a daunting task. You may be thinking, “where do I even start?!” Effectively manage your search by developing a plan of action with specific goals.

Try this: Each day, write two immediate action items and three ongoing goals that support your job search. For example, immediate actions could include: update my resume and identify new references; ongoing goals could include: reach out to 5 people in my personal or professional network each day; review 3 of 20 job boards daily; apply to at least one position or work to secure an informational interview at least once a week. 

3. Know Your Skills

With unexpected job loss, and the impact of COVID-19 on business, the type of position you’d typically apply to might not exist right now. It’s important to know how your skills might benefit a different role or a new industry. 

Try this: Make a list of your top skills and/or attributes and compare your experiences to qualifications listed in job listings that seem interesting to you. For example, a restaurant server has exceptional customer service skills, conflict resolution experience and sales experience. These skills all transfer really well to customer service, call center / customer contact center, and even some sales positions.  

4. Dust Off Your Resume

That pesky resume. It’s really hard to want to update it, but think of it as THE number one thing that entices a recruiter, hiring manager, or business leader to get to know you more. A stellar resume can be your golden ticket to an interview and/or introductory conversation when there isn’t currently a position available - getting into an employer’s talent community is a “win,” too! 

Try this: Check out this TeamKC blog post on polishing your resume. Use the list you made of your skills (tip # 3) to refine what your resume says. Quantify your skills as much as possible. Example: instead of “waited tables,” try “provided service to more than 50 patrons’ tables in a four-hour shift.” Have someone you trust review your resume - their outside perspective helps you know if your resume is impactful to someone who doesn't know you. And, tailor your resume for each position you apply to if possible.

5. Get Comfortable with Tech

With the stay-at-home order and social distancing a must right now, make sure you’re prepared to conduct your job search in an all-digital format. From email and phone calls to video interviews and text messages, make sure you feel comfortable with all of the platforms in which people are communicating today. 

Try this: Add a signature with your contact information to your personal email account. Make sure all of your public social media platforms are up-to-snuff, most importantly your LinkedIn profile (you can house your awesome new resume there, too). Practice using Skype, Zoom, Google Hangout and other video conference platforms, and check out this blog post from TeamKC partner, Morgan Hunter Companies, on nailing the video interview. 

6. Tell Everyone

If there’s ever a time to let people know you’re looking, it’s right now! Especially in KC, tapping into your network’s personal and professional connections can mean access to information on what companies are hiring, someone who could refer you within an employer, etc.

Try this: Post on your social media platforms that you’re actively looking due to being laid off in response to COVID-19 on business, and make sure the “open to new opportunities” button is clicked on your LinkedIn profile. Reconnect with friends, family, professional colleagues - but don’t simply email them your resume. Include these three things in your outreach: 

    - Why you’re reaching out | to reconnect and update them on your employment  status. 

    - What you’re hoping to accomplish | insight into the industry in which your contact  currently works, other people in your contact’s network that you should get to know, advice they can give on your search.

    - How you can support your contact in return | also connecting them with people you think they should get to know as you expand your network, advice or insight you find helpful, etc.

7. Search Creatively 

Checking out traditional job boards like ZipRecruiter, Google Jobs, Indeed and Linkedin Jobs are all things you should do, but try expanding your search with non-traditional resources.

Try this: Connect with alumni or professional trade associations. Review local and state-led job boards, and reach out to see if your local Chamber of Commerce offers a job board for employers in your area. Review bulletins shared by religious organizations, and don’t forget platforms like NextDoor and Neighborhood groups that may post job opportunities within the community as well.   

In addition to these tips and resources, make sure to also check out KC Career Network to view a listing of employers across the KC region that are actively hiring. 

At the end of the day, remember that these are unprecedented times. While we’re experiencing a “new normal” that may feel full of uncertainty, try to take comfort knowing this moment in time will pass. We, the KC community, will get through this together. 

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