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!
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 are an increasing number of interviews conducted over the phone, and it is important to pay attention to your phone skills. When you think about it, your interview will probably be set up with a phone call and that call will influence the impression you make. You can’t control where you will be when the call comes in to schedule an interview, but if you know what will sabotage your chances of a job, then you can control as much as possible.
Background noise is distracting. If you are called in a noisy environment, apologize and get to a quiet spot immediately. But don’t make the mistake of going into the bathroom to be alone because the hard surfaces cause an echo that is unmistakable and the potential for another customer to make noise you don’t want is always there. Arrange to talk further in another place.
If you are actually doing a phone interview, treat it like you would any other meeting. Be prepared with all documents (resume, etc.) and be alone in the room. Don’t have the tv on or background music.
No gum, food, or drink. Talking with something in your mouth will change the way you sound, even if they can’t see you.
Smile and sit up straight. People can tell by the sound of your voice when your smiling. Smiling while you are talking exudes confidence and ease. Practice to a friend if you need to. Sitting up in a straight-backed chair will make you feel slightly less relaxed and more professional, and remind you that even if you and the other person are hitting it off, you are still on an interview.
During a phone call the only information that is transmitted is by sound. Anything that will adversely affect that sound will cause problems so take care to remove yourself from any interruptions..
More and more of my clients are telling me that their first interview is a phone interview. Today, it is common to participate in a phone interview as a first step. Phone interviews are designed to weed out candidates who are not a good fit for the company, in spite of their qualifications. Taking the time to understand the phone interview process and following a few common sense tips can help make your phone interview successful. Remember, that in order to land the all-important in person interview, your first hurdle is the phone interview.
Phone interviews should be thought of as any other interview. This means preparing for a phone interview just as you would a ‘real’ interview. Researching the company to which you have applied, developing a list of thought provoking questions, being well rested and eating prior to the interview are all important steps–hint: don’t eat anything sugary before the interview or you might be likely to “crash” 20 minutes into your conversation–trust me on this one. You may even want your coffee handy as it will give you the boost you need, and keep you feeling and sounding alert. The phone interview is a unique opportunity to sell yourself using just your words. Be sure to have prepared responses to typical interview questions and be prepared to put your best ‘voice’ forward. Just like an in-person interview has etiquette rules that must be followed, so does a phone interview. Being mindful of the etiquette of phone interviews is critical for successfully completing the stage of the interview process.
Interview at home: This is the best way to ensure you have a quiet environment for the interview. Participating in a phone interview while driving, while at a restaurant or another noisy environment is a sure way to appear distracted and disinterested. Stay at home for your interview and make sure the house is peaceful. Stay in one spot to avoid sounding like you are walking or breathless. If sitting, sit straight up.
Make adequate plans: Be sure to plan for the interview. If you have children, arrange for a caregiver during the interview process. Allow for adequate time before scheduling other interviews or appointments. Interruptions are in poor form so be sure to plan adequately in order to avoid them. Tell friends and family you will be interviewing at that time and NOT to call or stop by.
Your voice matters: Because phone interviews are solely auditory, your voice matters. Be sure to focus not only on being articulate and intelligent but also on showing enthusiasm and excitement. As always, take your time when answering, but avoid sounding bored or slow.
Be relevant: Interviews conducted over the phone have one major downfall for the applicant: it is easy to become complacent or to get off topic. Be sure to focus your answers on relevant information and experience. Avoid veering off topic or becoming too personal. Professionalism and relevance are critical for success.
Smile. How many times have you talked to someone who was smiling on the other end of the phone? You can literally feel the smile. Smiling projects self-confidence and a cheery disposition.
If you prepare for a phone interview just like any other interview, the process becomes simplified. Being aware of what the interviewer is looking for, and tailoring your responses and answers to these needs is equally important.