17M people are looking for work across the United States. Analysts are predicting a potential unemployment rate of 30% by the end of April.
Whether you have already been let go or you are bracing for the phone/zoom call, it is essential to have a strategy in place BEFORE you begin applying for positions. I have been through several job searches in my career as a Recruiting and Human Resources professional. Did I panic? YES? Did I freak out and go into chicken little mode: You bet I did. However, by day two, I began building a job search project plan to help me bring a laser focus to what I needed to do.
5 key strategies to have in place right now:
1. Create a Plan. You have been notified that your position is being eliminated. Your heart will sink, fight or flight will kick in, and you will want to start applying for jobs immediately. STOP. Take a day or two (no more) to breathe, get the pity party out of your system and then build out your job search strategy by day three.
Here are the key elements of my project plan:
a. Am I open to relocation?
b. Do I want to stay in the same industry?
c. What size company do I want to work for?
d. Who are my target companies?
e. What are my values and how do they align with my target company cultures?
f. Who do I know at those companies?
g. What employer review sites like Glassdoor saying about what it is like to work at your target companies?
2. Put together your story. What led you to choose your profession, what were the impactful accomplishments you had with every organization. Did you win company awards? Did you present on specific topics?
We all like to talk about what worked and share success stories. But we have had projects or results where the outcome was not positive. Write them down as well.
3. Build out your resume using the accomplishments you mentioned. I have a certain style I like to use with my clients. Chronological and bulleted. High level with some element of detail to get you noticed by the applicant tracking system algorithms and the recruiter.
4. Begin Networking. Let people know you are in a job search. You and 16,999,999 people are in the same boat so there is no shame in saying you are looking for your next opportunity. Post it out to the social sites. People want to help other people so put it out there that you are looking for new opportunities.
The first rule in networking – Don’t ask for a job. Networking is about building rapport and relationships with people you know. Most people when working stop networking outright so it becomes obvious that when you do reach out you need something. Asking for a job will generally be a conversation ender.
Start with people you know – close friends and family, former colleagues, 1st connections or friends (that you know well) on LinkedIn and Facebook. Focus on telling your story, including what you outlined in your job search strategy as this becomes your 30-second elevator pitch. Before you end the call, obtain the names of at least two people they think could help you. The key is to grow your network.
Be sure to send a follow-up thank you email after every person you network with including friends and family. Many job seekers miss this step so this is your opportunity to stand out.
Look for a deeper dive into networking strategies in my next post.
5. Create a daily routine and follow it just as if you are working. Like it or not, the job search is a full-time job. Be sure to eat healthily and exercise. Temperatures are warming up so get out there and take a walk or ride your bike…just practice social distancing. I find that exercising before it gets warm makes me more productive and focused during the day.
I did not mention applying for jobs on purpose. Of course, you can apply for positions but be sure to have steps 1-3 locked down, thought through, and embedded into your brain. My recommendation is that applying online should only be about 10% of your search. Be prepared to wait for a response.
Recruiters are being asked to do more with fewer resources and co-workers. Just applying for roles will frustrate you especially when you do not hear back. Therefore, networking and prep work is where you need to be spending time.
Are you ready or need some help? Schedule some time with me to talk about helping you with your job search prep.