Out of work, looking for a job during a pandemic? Oh Boy. But there are strategies that work.

Out of work, looking for a job during a pandemic? Oh Boy. But there are strategies that work.

If you are unemployed and looking for full time employment, you are having the challenge of your business life right now.

In this unprecedented pandemic, people are stressed, confused, worried, perplexed and in various stages of emotional overload while the daily influx of more bad news continues. And they are worried about losing their job as well.

So, is there good news here, you say? Yes.

There are many things that you can implement to influence your odds and impact in securing job interviews and the attention of hiring managers that are distracted and in crisis management mode. It will be a bigger challenge to secure interviews, let’s be very clear, but you have the power and time to make changes that will help increase your job search effectiveness.

How do you get the attention of hiring managers in this crisis?

How do you demonstrate you are the person to hire over the others?

How do you find the jobs other than applying to only the posted jobs?

How do you tap into the next level of your network to leverage job leads?

How do you explain your reasons for your job loss/job changes effectively?

Here are some critical considerations:

1. Prepare for your search to be longer. Don’t take rejections or no return calls personally. It’s a pandemic and people are confused. Acknowledge the hiring manager’s challenges in leading their teams and then share how you have also led/worked in challenging times. Accept, acknowledge, offer help.

2. Review your skills list and experience to demonstrate how you’ve been successful and dependable in other tough situations: 9/11, SARS, Y2K, floods, hurricanes, recessions/depressions, active shooter experiences, etc. Don’t exploit these tragedies but practice talking about what you learned about yourself, how you and your team helped others and stress your resiliency and positive attitude and successes.

3. Be very succinct with your messages, emails and texts. Be specific, polite and ask for a response to insure the person understands exactly what you are looking for.

4. Recruiters will only be so effective. 80% of jobs are thru personal efforts and not search professionals, so commit your time to proactive work to find jobs.

5. LinkedIn profile: If it is not current, you are compromising your job search. Be sure you have a photo of you that shows a confident, pleasant appearance. No cute pictures to be clever. This world is in a state of confusion, look like you are ready to handle the task. Be sure your summary is short, direct and consider asking questions that you can be the solution. Focus your message and profile to attract a person that can hire you. That is the goal. Speak their language and ask them questions that you suspect they are dealing with in their role. Research and phrase your summary to their language.

6. Resume: Content should reflect the energy and consistency of your LI profile.
Customize the content for each job you apply for. Use that industry’s language, address challenges they are facing that you have solved similar problems for.

7. Use LinkedIn to find out and watch what jobs people left and follow the trail to see if that job is still open. Be creative and determined to trace the trail to that job. Don’t only look for posted jobs–that’s where all the competition goes. Target companies that your successful skills and experience will tie back directly to solving a problem quickly. Make a case to them as capitalists why they should meet you–even if they don’t have an immediate opening. Especially right now when layoffs are coming, hiring freezes looming. You have to look like you are worth investing in to have on the team.

8. Pursue calls with people outside of your immediate network. The people closest to you–if they have not led you to a job lead–will not be a viable help. Sorry, it’s true. Support, yes. But will they find you a job lead? Unlikely. Pursue new leaders and companies that you can create a compelling story and leverage your knowledge.

9. Have proof ready to sell yourself. If you have excessive job changes in the last six years for example be prepared to show how you are fixing the flaws in whatever may have created these job changes (i.e. poor decision-making, lack of research on your part, mistaken loyalty, lack of proactive training and professional development, a personal crisis you have turned around, etc.). Show the listener you realize it may be your fault regarding some of the job issues and you are fixing your mistakes. Gather documents to prove your work is great. If you can’t prove it, they won’t believe it or they will make you a low ball offer to protect themselves.

9.5. Prove you are studying your craft every week. What best selling books/seminars/workshops are you viewing right now? You’re not reading anything to improve? Uh-oh. What magazines, TED Talks, LinkedIn Groups are you participating in? What industry associations are you active in? If you can’t show you are urgently, consistently working to improve your sales, marketing, banking, managerial, supply chain, operations skills, how can you expect to demand a great offer or convince a employer you are the best-in-show?

10. Have your references ready at a moment’s notice. If you can’t get a reference from your the company that laid you off or terminated you, this will create problems in getting an offer, let alone an interview. Work hard to insure a reference can be secured.

11. Practice your interview skills. Rehearse, be tough on yourself, test drive your weak answers and be ready to be scrutinized to prove you are the best for the job. If you are not willing to address and accept your the weak parts of your presentation, you job search will continue to be challenged. Seek out a paid professional or coach to prepare you for this critical interview process.

Best of luck, keep a steady path, don’t let up and be self-aware of how you present your skills to a confused world at work.

About the author:

Dr. Russ Riendeau is an award-winning headhunter since 1985, senior partner of New Frontier Search Company and a private pilot. As the author of eleven books on peak performance, sales and leadership topics, he’s also a behavioral psychologist and TEDx presenter. His job search ideas have appeared in 1000s of national media outlets. This is his first pandemic. He can be reached at russriendeau@gmail.com.