With the recent global pandemic crisis, many of our nation’s businesses, education institutions, and entertainment venues have either lowered or ceased operations completely.
However, if you are in an active job search mode, there are plenty of ways you can still focus on your job search within the safety of your own home. Meaning…don’t use a global crisis or “social distancing” as excuses to stop your job search (March Madness is out-so do you really have anything else to do?).
Here are some tips for staying on top of your job search and getting closer to landing your dream job, even if you have to do so from home.
Fine-tune Your Resume:
Even if you are working remotely from home, you can still find time to dust of your old resume and get it ready for your job search. Focus on updating your achievements, skills, professional development activities, and of course any employment/promotion changes since your last update. Be sure your format and writing quality align with today’s standards, and last but not least, proofread the entire document to ensure it does not have any typos or other errors. If you need help, don’t hesitate to hire a professional resume writing service.
Beef Up Your LinkedIn Profile:
Be honest―when was the last time you actually updated your LinkedIn profile? As this is the biggest professional networking/job search site in the world, you need to use it– and use it daily! Like your resume, your profile needs to contain content that is current and well-written. Are the skills you have on your profile relevant to the skills/qualifications listed in the postings you’re applying to? When was the last time you changed your profile picture? When you created your profile in 2014? Use this site for everything it has to offer―join groups, check out job postings, add to your network, reach out for recommendations, update your settings so recruiters can contact you, etc. With so many people working remotely, you know they are going to be online and not at the water cooler.
Reach out to colleagues and other industry-specific clients who may know of openings in their own workplaces. Email, text, or pick up the phone and call these individuals and let them know you’re looking to make a change in your career. If you’re interested in certain companies, go to their websites and learn more about what they do and if they’re hiring. If so, reach out to the “contact” person listed on the site. Get your name out there!
Plus, during a time of crisis is when people band together in unity. This is a great time to deepen your network even more. Reach out, offer free advice (relating to what you do if applicable), join discussions, and help where you can.
Prepare For Your Interview:
If you’re really ready for a new job, then you really need to be ready to nail the interview. Do you have an interview strategy or style? In today’s professional world, many companies start out with a phone interview, prior to bringing you on-site. How do you sound over the phone? Confident or shaky? Practice answering potential questions and with a voice that is upbeat, full of confidence, and markets you and your credentials. If you’re interview is done via video conferencing, Skype, or FaceTime, then you’re probably also going to need to work on how you will look as you’re answering questions. Practice in the mirror so you can see your facial expressions (my face gives everything away, unfortunately… does yours?).
Do your homework! Know who your audience is (this can be done when talking with the person(s) scheduling the interview with you), as well as the culture of the company so that you have an idea of what to wear to your interview. Gather all of your supporting documentation (resume, references, certifications, etc.), and lastly, look at the travel logistics from your home to the location of the interview, if you do actually have to meet in-person at the company or another remote site.
As with any crisis, there are always things to do to stay positive and keep moving forward in your job search and in life. You may not be able to meet with a hiring manager or recruiter in person for the next few weeks, but you can get yourself prepared to do so in the very near future. While we are all trying to deal with our own version of “Social Distancing”, it certainly does not have to stop job seekers from pursuing their dream jobs. This includes you!
When I joined Twitter in 2008 I had no clue who to follow or even what to do. After learning a bit more about it, I gathered my little list of resume experts that quickly expanded to experts throughout the careers industry. Through the years I’ve added more people to that list. With vast and various experience, these folks offer daily and weekly expert advice. Whether you are new to Twitter or have been using it for a while, count these experts among your favorite go-to’s for career advice. I’m sure I am missing some (and will remember as soon as I hit “publish”) but for now, here are my fave peeps!
@amyladler Specializes in career transition and strength finding. Spot-on job search tweets.
@debrawheatman Resume writer and career coach offering tips and insight into job search and resume writing. @avidcareerist With a background in retained search and current role as executive resume writer, Donna offers sage advice on resumes and job search.
@greatresume Jessica Hernandez packs nuggets of heart into her career tips, tweet, and posts.
@hireimaging Barb Pool is a career strategist, coach, and resume writer with over 30 years of experience.
@karensilins Career coach, resume writer, presenter, personal branding specialist, and HR consultant fills her Twitter feed with valuable career information.
@laurieberenson Straight-forward resume writing and job search advice for professionals.
@lisarangel A triple threat! With experience as a former recruiter, current resume writer, and humorous wit, Lisa’s tweets offer insight into the recruiting and resume writing worlds.
@pushcareers Brenda Cunningham offers outplacement experience, job search strategies, resume writing, and career management tips. @resumeservice Rosa Vargas offers authentic resume branding advice and career coaching.
@susanwhitcomb Resume writing pioneer, trainer, and job coach. She is the founder and President of The Academies and combines her vast experience with practical career tips.
@valueintowords Jacqui Poindexter turns your career history into a value-infused story. Follow her for resume and career tips.
@CareerTL CEO of Career Thought Leader Consortium, Marie Zimenoff heaps on loads of expert career advice from resume writing to social media advice.
@careerhero President of Career Directors International, Laura DeCarlo’s offers consistently informative career tweets.
@kccareercoach As a career coach and marketing strategist for executives, Meg Montford shares resources, tips and advice.
@krisplantrich 9X certified Career Coach specializing in job search, interview, career transition, salary, and LinkedIn coaching.
@phyllismufson Career Coach and catalyst for personal and career transformation. Helps with job search, career change, and small business.
@susanguarneri Career assessment expert, certified branding strategist and management coach, and resume writer.
@coachwolfgang Career coaches and counselors specializing in multiple coaching disciplines that help individuals take ownership of their careers.
CAREER ADVICE & JOB SEARCH
@careerbliss Online company reviews, salaries, job listings, hiring trends and interview tips. Your one-stop shop.
@careersingov Looking for a career in the government? Check out the nation’s largest State and Local Government Job Board and Career Center.
@classycareer List as Forbes Top 35 Most Influential Career Site and E-Learning Platform, launching dream careers, and businesses. Passionate about helping women succeed in their careers.
@flexjobs Looking for tips on finding a flexible hours, remote work, freelance, or just more work life balance? Look no further. Flexjobs posts jobs and informative articles every day.
@healthcareitcentral Weekly job alerts, an employer directory, and articles for clients in healthcareIT.
@jacobshare Job search expert, blogger, and community builder. His career tweets are interesting and plenty.
@jobhuntorg A careers pioneer whose website and posts offer guidance and tips on everything career-related.
@markadyson Career consultant, blogger, and expert podcaster, Mark keeps his tweets light and jam-packed with everything career.
@social_hire Helps candidates find their next great job. Daily tips and job search advice.
@themuse Offers career advice and matches candidates with companies and jobs looking for them.
@williamarruda Personal branding expert and motivational speaker offers daily job search advice.
@workcoachcafe Tips to help people become more successful in their jobs and job search. Forbes Top 100 Career Site.
@youtern Enables young talent to become highly employable by connecting them to high-impact internships, mentors, and thru contemporary career advice that works!
RECRUITERS & HR
@absolutely_abby Abby Kohut offers job search and recruiting advice to professionals. Selected as one of ‘Forbes Top 100 Career Websites’ and Fast Company’s ‘The Monster 11 for 2011: Career Experts Who Can Help Your Job Search’.
@chrisrussell Online recruiting, job board secrets, and HR consultant. Find out what recruiters are looking for.
@hrbartender Sharlyn Lauby delivers corporate HR tweets daily. Spot-on advice for interested job seekers.
@nickcorcodilos The author of Fearless Job Hunting and Ask The Headhunter, Nick’s tweets answer the burning job search and recruiting questions job seekers are asking.
@recruitmentgv Recruitment and Talent Acquisition news provided by the leading magazine for Recruitment Consultants.
@talentculture HR, Recruiting, Leadership and more. Be sure to save this social community as one of your favorite tweeters.
If your goal is to get a new job this year, here are seven things you need to do to prepare yourself for your job search.
1. Update your résumé. While ideally your résumé is customized for a specific job, having an up-to-date résumé targeted for a specific “type” of position is the next best thing. So if you’ve taken on additional responsibilities in your current job, or you’ve changed your job target, or you’ve added new training or educational credentials, now is the time to talk with your résumé writer about updating your résumé. (And if you don’t have a résumé at all, now is definitely the time to put one together! A professional résumé writer can help!)
2. Develop — or update — your LinkedIn profile. A LinkedIn profile doesn’t replace the résumé…it complements it. Someone looking for a candidate with your skills and experience might conduct a search on LinkedIn and find your profile. Or, someone in your network might be interested in recommending you, and forward your LinkedIn profile URL. So make sure you have a LinkedIn profile — and make sure that it’s updated. (Yes, this is something your résumé writer can help you with.)
3. Know what you’re worth: conduct salary research. One of the most often-cited reasons to consider a job search is to increase your salary. But how do you know what you’re worth? There is more salary research data available than ever before. Websites like Glassdoor.com and Salary.com can help you see how your current salary and benefits package stacks up.
4. Build your network. It’s estimated that 70-80% of jobs are found through networking. Networking effectiveness is not just about quality — although that’s important. It’s also about quantity. It’s not just about who you know. It’s about who your contacts know. Many times, it’s the friend-of-a-friend who can help you land your dream job. Grow your network both professionally and personally. You never know who will be the one to introduce you to your next job opportunity.
5. Manage your online reputation. More and more hiring managers are checking you out online before they interview you. What will they find when they type your name into Google? How about if they check out your Twitter profile? Or find you on Facebook? Now is the time to conduct a social media assessment and clean up your online profiles.
6. Define your ideal job. “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” That line, from Alice in Wonderland, is important to remember in your job search. If you don’t know what your dream job looks like, how will you know how to find it? What job title and responsibilities are you interested in? Do you want to work independently, as part of a team, or both? Do you like short-term projects or long-term projects? Who would you report to? Who would report to you? Answering these questions can help you define your ideal position.
7. Create a target list of companies you’d like to work for. Like your ideal job, you probably have a preference for the type of organization you want as your employer. Things to consider include: company size, industry, culture, location, and structure (public, private, family-owned, franchise, nonprofit, etc.). Once you’ve made your list, look for companies that fit your criteria.
I hope that by now you have a LinkedIn profile because this social media platform is one of the best ways to keep your career viable — if you use it wisely. But once you have completed your profile and started exploring your options, how do you decide what is a good thing to do? And how do you figure out how to do it?
Search Engine Journal has recently given us some good ideas in Kristi Hines’ 10 LinkedIn Tips and Strategies You Need To Know. These are helpful suggestions that may be exactly what you are looking for:
How to unsubscribe from blog posts — a great help in uncluttering your inbox
How to quickly change group digest frequency — another de-clutter benefit
How to see where you rank — it can make a difference
How to put links on your profile — to your site, your writing, etc.
How to get LinkedIn Premium features for less — who doesn’t like a bargain?
How to schedule updates to LinkedIn — and take some of the drudgery out of your life
How to get LinkedIn testimonials on your website — you do have a website by now, right?
How to research customers on LinkedIn — or anybody else, like potential employers
How to target Facebook and Twitter ads to LinkedIn connections — you may not be actually putting out ads, but it is good to know
How to research competitors on LinkedIn — and see how you stack up
How Is Marketing Like Career Building?
It’s true that Search Engine Journal is not usually a site you’d find career advice on, but the line between marketing and career building is very fuzzy. If you think about it, marketing is just presenting the best of your business to the public in various ways so the people see and respond appropriately. Isn’t career building presenting the best of your skills, knowledge, and experience to get an appropriate response?
In fact, skill marketing is a way to get people thinking about you as a potential asset for new positions. The more you can utilize platforms like LinkedIn to show what you have to offer, the easier it is for people to see what you bring to the table.
Are you one of the people they were talking about on NPR recently?Please Do Not Leave A Message: Why Millennials Hate Voice Mail is taking a look at the way that leaving a message is fast falling out of favor as a communication mode. You don’t have to be part of the Millennials to hate voice mail because it can be a sudden challenge you don’t do well. But there’s a problem with refusing to deal with voice mail because it is used in business all the time.
If you are searching for a job, there’s a good chance you will need to leave a voice message. If you are contacting your manager or a client, there’s an equally good chance that voicemail will be involved. The game of Phone Tag came about because of the way busy people can’t always pick up the phone and being able to text doesn’t exactly replace it.
Deal With It & Do It Right
If you know you struggle with sounding professional at the sound of the recording beep, you can learn how to deal with it and do it right. Think about the goal of your call and have a message prepared if you have to leave a voice mail. If you have to write it down before you make the call, that’s practice for the next time you need to use the skill.
The same basic rules that apply to a phone interview apply to a business call, and therefore also apply to a business voice mail.
Don’t make a call from a noisy environment. Go to a spot that is quiet and allows your voice to be heard.
It should be obvious that nothing is in your mouth, right?
Be prepared to state your name, phone number, the reason for the call, and repeat the name & number. Keep it short.
Speak clearly and don’t try to cram too much into the message. You can tell them more when they call you back.
Whether you are leaving a message for business or as part of your job search, this is one business skill that you really do need to make sure you can do even if you hate voice mail.
There comes a point in good interviews where the job applicant is asked, “do you have any questions for me?” This is a tipping point that can go in your favor if you show that you have researched the company and care about the job itself more than the paycheck or benefits. It doesn’t have to be scary, deer-in-the-headlight feeling, though. Here are three questions you can ask that will make you feel more confident during the Q&A part of the interview: Ask a question that shows you know their mission statement. The company’s mission statement has usually been the result of a lot of research and debate. If they care about community service, for example, ask how they invest in the local community and are expected of volunteers. If they care about the environment, ask how they go about reducing their carbon footprint or the recycling program. Ask a question that shows you care about results. What goals do you have for this job? What are the benchmarks and deadlines? What qualities would you say are important to filling this position successfully? The answers you get should be on your list of “make-sure-to-do-it” once you are hired, because you know that is what will be considered in your job performance review. Ask a question that shows you want to understand their company culture. Does the company observe holidays with special traditions? Are there regular contests, like decorating competitions between departments? Does this company have any fun quirks that make it unique in workplaces? Every business will have its own culture and traditions, and it’s a good idea to find out if you’ll fit in, if possible. It also can be a good conversation item that puts you in a favorable light. Interview questions are really important, and it’s a good idea to be prepared for all the possibilities that you could encounter during your job search. Both asking and answering questions is the bulk of what happens in a job interview. If you feel unprepared for what that will entail, consider one of our coaching services for individual help with interview skills. That job is worth it!
Sometimes the combination of your job or your lack of job with all the details that have accumulated over the months comes crashing down and you get overwhelmed. This is common at the end of the year when you start to look around for financial papers in anticipation of tax season…plus the New Year’s Resolutions game…plus whatever else is in your life right now. Too much stuff to think about is a recipe for feeling like not doing anything about it. Am I right?
This is why the Coaching Services offered by Professional Resume Services was established. Sometimes, everybody just needs an outside voice, giving a fresh perspective on your problems and suggesting concrete steps to resolve them. It’s a good service, one that pays off in multiple ways for every penny you invest in it.
If you are hesitant about hiring a professional, here are a few practical places to start when you feel overwhelmed:
Take a break. Walk, play solitaire, nap, or get a snack. Sometimes that break helps your brain to process the details that have piled up and you get inspired to do something.
Make a list. Start with all the things you have already done and draw a line through them. See how far you already are?
Plot a plan. Break down the things that overwhelm you into smaller chunks to deal with. Decide on a few realistic steps to do each day toward your goals.
Evaluate the results. Your plans and lists are not inflexible. If you don’t get something done one day, shift it to the next reasonable time. The idea is to consistently move toward a goal, not get it all done in one shot.
Being overwhelmed with the enormity of all there is to do is a very normal state of affairs for most of us. We can’t do it all, and we can’t do it alone.
Questions You Should Ask During Your Job Interview
Most of the time, a job interview will consist of you answering questions. But most interviewers will also ask if you have any questions, and it’s a good idea to be prepared to ask the right kind. You don’t have to use my phrasing, but think through why these questions are good to ask and how you can ask something similar:
“The job description cites these responsibilities. How are those responsibilities filled in a typical workday?” This gives you an idea about the work load and expectations involved.
“What do you hope to see this position accomplish for your company?” A question like this gives you an opportunity to hear what their goals are for this particular job and get an idea of the long term plans you will be a part of.
“Is there any reason you think I might have trouble accomplishing your goals for this job?” This is a scary question to ask, but it will let you address their concerns and possibly correct misconceptions they may have about you.
“I see from the mission statement that you value creativity. How does this position employ creativity in meeting that goal?” This is a sample question…what matters is your display of knowledge about the company and their goals. You can use recent press statements, mission statements, or anything that shows you cared enough about the job to learn more about it and think about how you will do it.
“Is this a newly created position or one that has been in place?” An established job description for a position that has been in place usually has a lot of support in place, too. They’ve figured out what works and you just slip into the spot and carry on. You can ask if the previous worker moved into another position, if you will be part of a team, etc. But a newly created position is fuzzier because the bugs haven’t been worked out yet. You can ask what the problems were that led to the creation of the position and how flexible the job description will be as you work on fixing them, for instance.
If the idea of asking questions like these fills you with fear, consider something like our career coaching services to help you prepare. You can choose a packaged deal or a la carte coaching and use the investment to gain the confidence to interact with ease. A coach helps you learn what you need to know and improve the skills you already have to be the best candidate for the job you want.