Job Hunting in a Pandemic: Getting Hired No Matter The Odds
You need a job. Where do you start?
Be it recession, depression, or pandemic, there are rules to smart, effective, and efficient job hunting.
First a few truths you need to know and accept before you send out that resume: you can be brilliant, qualified, passionate, and perfect for the job. And you can still be ignored. You WILL still be ignored. You will be rejected time and time again. It is not personal.
The key is to not take rejection personally – you will apply to jobs, painstakingly filling out tedious online questionnaires and applications, only to never hear from an employer. Hiring parties are getting hundreds, sometimes thousands, of applications for the roles they post. They may never even get to look at your resume. What it really boils down to is a numbers game. But there are some advantages you can give yourself, certain things you can leverage.
Before applying to any job, make sure you’ve read the job description VERY carefully. This is helpful not only in tailoring your resume and cover letter with keywords relevant to the role (important for algorithms), but it will many times also tell you the exact application requirements – how to apply, deadlines, documents needed, format preferences and contacts. Make sure you adhere to this CAREFULLY. There is nothing worse for your chances of landing a job than an application submitted incorrectly. Even if it does get to the hiring manager’s desk, you’ve managed to irritate them at best, sabotage your chances of even being seen at worst..
The next thing to remember is that applying to jobs is a numbers game. The more you apply to, the better your chances of progressing to the next steps. In the case of job hunting, both quantity AND quality matter.
Here’s what you do:
- Apply to as many jobs as you can online. Liberally, across all platforms.
- For companies you’re especially interested in, scour their websites and find a contact, or two, or five. Email those contacts your resumes and cover letters.
- If you’re feeling particularly bold, go to visit the company’s office if there is one locally, and drop off a resume in person.
- If you know who the hiring manager is, you can of course personally send them an email, but you can also mail them a handwritten/signed note plus cover letter and your resume. Send it in a nice professional A4 sized envelope so your papers don’t need to be folded awkwardly. This is also your chance to include copies of anything else you might want to share, such as articles you’ve written, presentations, magazines you’ve designed, marketing collateral, etc.
- Connect with HR people and decision makers at those same companies on social media. Tell them you’ve applied for a position and you’re extremely excited about the opportunity and looking forward to next steps. ASSUME the close. Speak as if you are already moving forward with next steps, as if you already have the job.
- Follow up with everyone over and over again. Send nice emails “checking in” on the status of your application. Give them a call to “double check” they received your application and ask whoever you get on the phone on when you can expect a response.
- Do this a billion times until you get an interview.
- Remind yourself that job hunting is in itself a full time job and if you’re serious, you have to work smart AND hard.
Persistence is key. Being creative in the way you get in front of decision-makers is equally key. Job hunting is as much trial and error as it is anything else – see what kind of emails and what communication approach is getting you the most responses (even if they’re not the ones you want to hear). What are you saying in your cover letters? Are you writing short, concise emails to hiring managers when sending over your resume or are you writing long, epic sagas (a surefire way to make sure you get ignored immediately)? Be clear, be concise, and be unforgettable – in a good way.
Ready? Get started now.