The job hunt has always been tough. Finding your dream job is even harder.
However, finding any job in the current job market climate within the context of the global pandemic is an increasingly complex task, especially the more senior you are. Entire industries have pivoted their direction. Many businesses have hit a big ‘pause’ button on their work. Those who can, have adapted to remote work. Unemployment rates are at record highs.
What does this means for those who are currently searching for a job?
It means that there is an increased need for creative approaches in order to secure employment.
This article will walk through a few ‘out of the box’ strategies to creatively overcome some of the new challenges confronting those on the job hunt without taking a risk that could hurt your professionalism or decrease your chances of getting hired. For senior-level professionals and executives, these methods may seem a bit unorthodox but in unique times like these they could help you stand out above the crowd and even help you discover hidden opportunities.
Don’t Look for Job Posts – Look for Companies
Traditionally, job boards are the first stop for most people seeking employment.
However, with many companies struggling to keep their doors open, leaning on wage subsidies, or scrambling to replace lost employees, a job post is not necessarily the best indicator for a good employment opportunity.
Of course, it certainly indicates a job opening, but during these times, it’s important to look a little further as to the driving reason that a company needs to make a hire. Research individual companies that are interesting to you to see how they’ve weathered the pandemic, as well as their current team structure.
While you can still use job posts to get a sense of which companies are currently hiring, you can also look to identify companies that have perhaps avoided the worst of the pandemic or are within an industry that is not as severely impacted.
Take note that the absence of a job opening does not necessarily mean that a company doesn’t need help and that it is possible to write and pitch your own job description if you understand the unique value that you can bring to a company during these times.
Network, Network, Network
Most high-level executives already understand the value of networking and relationships when seeking employment, but how do you connect with new people when social distancing and quarantine measures are in place?
Leverage LinkedIn To Start Conversations
There are literally millions of users on LinkedIn and the vast majority of people are currently held captive in front of their computers due to self-isolation.
If you have a strong sense of the companies or industry that you are interested in working within, there is no better time than now to strike up some casual conversation on LinkedIn and see where it takes you!
Check Out Remote Conferences
Many conferences have pivoted to provide an alternative remote version of the events that were canceled this year. This is one smart way to connect with people within your industry and with those who hold similar interests.
Keep a keen eye on the attendee lists and look for ways to connect with those people directly through social media or email. Some online events even have an open chat function to get things started.
Turn the Tables by Interviewing Potential Employers
A creative way to connect with potential employers and simultaneously strengthen your professional presentation is to start a small content series that interviews leaders in your industry.
It’s easy to find a platform for sharing professional content such as LinkedIn Pulse or Medium, and it’s not too complicated to set up a personal website with a blog.
With a platform in place, start by creating a few thoughtful articles on important topics relevant to your industry. Then identify leadership at companies that present interesting employment opportunities and reach out with a request to interview them for your next article.
This will act as a soft way to engage with potential employers, generate interesting conversation related to your industry, and demonstrate your expertise and thoughtfulness within your field.
Not only could this start some interesting conversations, but the process will also help you build out a strong online presence that will aid your application to other jobs.
Share What Makes You Unique
High unemployment rates means that there is more competition out there for any given job. This means it is more important than ever to find a way to get an advantage over other applicants or else you may risk getting lost in the shuffle of hundreds of other resumes.
Build a Personal Website
An online portfolio or website that highlights your accomplishments and experience is a smart way to stand out from other applicants. Most people do not take the time to do this, but it will leave a more lasting impression than a PDF resume or standard submission form.
Take a Leap With Your Cover Letter
A cover letter will be your one chance to convince a potential employer that they should hire you over other applicants. It’s easy to fall into the trap of a ‘professional’ cover letter that is anticipated and dull. Take a leap of faith with your cover letter and try something different. If it’s memorable – you’re more likely to end up on the short list of applicants.
It’s a tough job market right now, so don’t be discouraged in your job hunt. It’s important to realize companies are moving slower and more cautiously than normal, so it may just take more time before you actually land your next job.
Regardless, be persistent and ensure that you remain aware of the next opportunity that presents itself.