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Guest Blog Writer – Matt Williams
Are you one of the many remote workers who experienced a COVID-19 job cut? As companies adjust their spending to the new world situation, you might feel like finding work is impossible. Despite the pandemic, there are opportunities out there. Evolution Career Consulting wants you to thrive, so check out these terrific resources to help you find them.
Start With Yourself
Dealing with the uncertainty of COVID-19 and a job loss is super stressful, so it’s critical to keep up self-care practices. Taking care of yourself ensures you remain happy and healthy while you’re on the hunt for a new job.
● The first thing you should do is ensure you maintain a productive schedule.
● Practice good self-care while you’re job hunting, such as eating right, exercising, and staying connected with friends and family.
● If money is tight, look for ways to slash your expenses.
● Consider adding meditation for stress management to your daily regimen.
Rethink Your Workspace
Could your existing office use a little tweaking? Take time to ensure you have an optimal work environment, so when the right position comes your way, stepping back into a daily work habit is no big deal.
● Appropriate lighting can make a world of difference in keeping you healthy and productive in your workspace.
● If you struggle with staying focused, you may need to create a distraction-free environment.
● Even the colors on your walls can affect your productivity, and now is the perfect time to apply a new coat of paint if necessary.
● Design an office space that fits thoughtfully with your lifestyle and work habits.
Choose Solid Job-Hunting Strategies
Part of every day should be dedicated to some aspect of your search for a new job. There are employers who are looking, so it’s a matter of connecting with them.
● A career coach can guide you through improving your professional presentation, from interviewing skills to a more polished resume.
● As Inc. explains, building a personal brand across multiple platforms will give you a critical edge over other job hunters.
● You can use job boards to post listings for any freelancers you may need.
● Leverage your social network in your job search.
Consider A Startup
One way to get back into the swing of things is to start your own business. With remote work the new norm, it’s a logical option to consider, and it doesn’t need to be as risky as you might think.
● Choose a business with minimal overhead costs and start time.
● Protect your personal finances by establishing an LLC.
● A formal business plan can help with developing your strategies and timelines and provides validation to lenders.
● Networking can be the key to finding investors, resources and customers.
● Find tools that will help you collaborate easily with clients and freelancers.
Losing a job is hard on you, especially in the midst of a world pandemic. Take proper care of yourself, adjust your workspace as needed, and employ great job-hunting strategies. It might feel like finding a great new job is impossible right now, but you can turn to Evolution Career Consulting for advice, interview tips, and much more. Put these resources in your back pocket so you can find the right position soon.
Are you refining your networking skills? Trying to find a way into that company you’d love to work for? I’m here to tell you to avoid Human Resources. Seriously. This may seem hypocritical seeing that I’m an experienced HR professional, but it’s true, especially in this economy. While HR is normally heavily involved with the recruiting, interviewing and hiring process, it is not this department’s job to help you as a candidate. In fact, HR personnel can often be part of the “wall” standing between you and the hiring manager. They will screen your resume (or these days, an automated screening application will do this) to determine if it makes the cut to get into the hands of the hiring manager. You need to get straight to the hiring manager, or a reliable information source that can shed some light on what issues the company or that department has been dealing with. This will help you structure your resume and cover letter to show how you’ve handled similar situations.
So how do you get to the hiring manager?
Utilize social media sites. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other sites are all very useful. Many of these sites have specialized job search capabilities. Ideally you want to connect with people you know who work or have worked at your desired company. But what if you don’t think you know anyone like that? How about posting the question, “Who do you know at XYZ Company…?” on these sites and see what comes up? This can be “six degrees of separation” at it’s finest, and you would be surprised how this simple question can land great results! But remember, it’s not about what they can do for you, it’s initially about what you can do for them. You need to establish a relationship first. Congratulate them on a recent promotion. Tell them you want to interview them to gather more information about their company or department. These suggestions yield more response than asking for an introduction from the get-go.
No one is insignificant. Of course, get the word out to friends and family that you are targeting a certain company or position. But, there are less thought about people you can tell, like your dentist, doctor, vet, cleaners, etc. It may seem silly, but if these are people you see or talk to regularly, you already have an established relationship with them. Why not mention you are looking? I have heard countless stories of people talking to unlikely contacts and getting their foot in the door that way. For example, I had a client mention to her hair stylist that she was looking for a new marketing position. The hair stylist’s brother happened to be a recruiter for a well known company, who was looking to hire additional sales and marketing staff. A bit of luck, yes, but the connection never would have happened had my client not shared with her stylist that she was looking!
Use your college alumni association and career services center. No matter how long ago you graduated. I’ve had clients that utilized their alma mater’s career services years after graduating and it directly led to their next big opportunity. Staff in these departments often have good contacts at many notable organizations around the country, and are also the ones that set up career fairs throughout the year. Utilize this often forgotten resource and you will be ahead of the game.
It’s not how many contacts you have, it’s the quality of the contacts. It doesn’t matter if you have 500 contacts that know your name, having 10 quality contacts is far more productive. So make a point to stay in touch with your most promising leads. You don’t want to be intrusive or a stalker, but it’s a good idea to make contact at least once every 3-4 months. What do you say? Ask how business is going. If you know them personally, ask how their family is doing, kids, even pets. Invite them to dinner, or coffee, to catch up. Do you have sports in common? Connect on that. The idea is to keep the connection there so they think of you if an opportunity presents itself. You can always mention casually that you are still looking in case they hear of anything, just as a reminder.
Don’t let people tell you that networking is easy. It’s not, it takes a lot of work. But with these tips, you will find yourself better able to uncover that next big opportunity. Happy networking!
Is anyone else highly anticipating November 7th? The day we can finally say the elections are over. This won’t be a political post I promise (at least not in the sense of supporting any one person or party), I just have to vent about how done I am with the phone calls, the media, the debates, the negative campaigning, the visits to my door, all of it. Here are a few things I’ve learned from the 2012 elections. You might even be able to take something away from it in your job search.
1) Smear campaigns are unethical. Don’t do it. It does not make you look better than other candidates. It makes me question your integrity.
2)The amount of soliciting both over the phone and in person is maddening. It borders on harassment. This will not get me to “hire” you. I don’t get this much attention from anyone, including my family. Please stop. Thank goodness for caller ID. We barely answer our phone anymore.
3) There is nothing wrong with changing your mind on your views. However, changing them multiple times will make voters (even party-supporting voters) question where you really stand. Will you change your mind again if you get elected?
4) When you are asked a question, just answer it! No double talk. No pointing the finger at your opponent. No skirting the issue and changing the subject. I want the truth. I want to know I can trust who I’m voting for.
I try to be an informed citizen, and I take my right to vote very seriously. But as in past years, I find it hard to fully support any candidate, whether it’s for President, State Representative, State Senator, or Congressman/woman. My opinion year after year remains the same – I don’t trust our politicians. I don’t trust them to make the right decisions for us as individuals, or communities. Our country is in trouble with the path we are on, and we need to fix it. It’s not up to one person, it won’t be easy, and it’s going to take time. But we all have some hard questions to ask ourselves. Do we love our country enough to personally sacrifice for its continued financial, economical, and social well-being? Can we get past our desire to point fingers and all take some responsibility for cleaning up this mess? Yes – politicians, the rich, the middle class and the poor, the young and the old, in every color, creed, and nationality, I’m talking to you.
I love how a personal story can really bring a cover letter to life. In working with clients on cover letters, I’m always looking for that teaser to grab the reader’s attention. Similar to an interesting fact, news story or piece of information that sparks a lively conversation with colleagues or friends (tasteful and appropriate, of course), I want to know something about you or your experiences that will make me want to learn more. Recently I wrote a cover letter for a client looking to take a new step in her career. After learning more about her background, both personally and professionally, the “aha moment” struck me as she talked about her visit to the Olympic games, two different times. Not only was this timely with the Summer Olympics in London, it was a unique experience that set her apart from thousands of other candidates, and no doubt an interesting fact that would pique a reader’s interest. I was excited to use this in her cover letter, and it allowed me to further highlight her passion and commitment for continuous improvement. She loved the results and happily reported that it helped get her foot in the door.
What does this mean for you? Many job seekers forego the cover letter thinking it won’t help them. I disagree. In my experience, I do think traditional cover letters are often ignored. But, find that conversation piece in your work experience or personal life that you can relate to your career or skills, and a cover letter can easily be like a good book that grabs the reader’s attention in the first few words or sentence. They don’t want to put it down! My cover letter motto: unique, conversational, and short. Dangle the carrot for the company recruiter, VP, or department manager so they just have to learn more about you. And if your resume is equally as compelling, you will be one step closer to your next career opportunity.
Pop quiz question: how long do you think a recruiter spends on a typical resume? A) 1 minute, B) 2 minutes, C) 30 seconds, D) 6 seconds. I didn’t make this very hard, given my post title. Yes, the answer is D! According to new research from theladders.com, recruiters spend an average of only 6.25 seconds on a resume before deciding whether that candidate may be a good fit for the job. Now more than ever, candidates have to work hard to wow the recruiters, and do it in well under 10 seconds! Here are some additional statistics that I found interesting – 80% of that 6.25 seconds is spent on basic resume content, like name, job titles and employer names, start/end dates of employment, and education. The other 20% goes toward scanning for keywords matching the job description.
What does this mean for you, the job seeker? First and foremost – no typos or grammatical errors. This may seem obvious, but for those of you who have spent countless hours writing and refining your resume, it’s easier than you think to miss something. Make sure to get a second, and even a third, pair of eyes to review your resume before it goes to anyone. Second, a resume should have concise and easy to read content from start to finish. More specifically, don’t use paragraph explanations of your experience, keep bullet points short (use sub-bullets if you must, for must-have details), and remember that your resume doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t!) include every last detail of your past employment. Lastly, when applying for a specific job opening, be sure to review the ad or job description for keywords so you can include them in your resume. This does take more work, but your goal is to perk up that recruiter on the first pass of your resume. Matching multiple keywords will help you get to the top of the list. You have just over six seconds to make an impression, so make those six seconds count!
You have probably read several articles about the basics of a successful job search. Professional resume, check. Complete LinkedIn profile, check. Telling everyone you know that you are looking for a new job, check. So now what? Here are a few essential tips to take you beyond the basics.
Sell yourself. Your resume needs to be more than a job description of your experiences. What were your specific accomplishments? You might not be in sales, but you definitely need to establish a personal brand and sell yourself to land that next big opportunity. Also, do you have your “elevator pitch” nailed down? Can you confidently sell your personal brand over the phone or in person to any prospective decision maker?
Don’t skimp on time dedicated to your job search. With today’s economy and technology, browsing the job sites a few times a week for new job listings and sending out resumes just won’t cut it. This is a full time job. Set up a weekly schedule for your job search, allowing enough time to check in with contacts, research target companies, customize resumes for specific job openings, and evaluate your overall progress. This is where an experienced career consultant can help.
Join professional groups related to your career field or industry. Start by checking out what groups are on LinkedIn and choose at least 3-5 targeted toward your career goals. Then, get involved – participate in discussion forums, get to know other members, and ask for connections. Studies show that 80% of jobs are not advertised and over 50% are filled through networking. Having a solid network of contacts within your industry or field will improve your reach and significantly increase your chances of achieving the next level in your career.
It’s no surprise that finding a new job takes a lot of time and patience. But as with any step in your career, hard work nearly always pays off. Stay motivated, keep a positive attitude, go beyond the basics, and the right opportunity will come knocking. Bottom line – don’t give up. Happy hunting!