Job hunters have been dealt a blow as the media reports businesses shutter their doors and companies freeze hiring. The number of newly unemployed is predicted to hit 5 million in April 2020. However, there is hope, but only if you take a strategic approach to your job hunting. What does the present state of the job market in the U.S look like and are there any good opportunities available?
Although the total number of job vacancies has fallen, there are still plenty of jobs available in a range of industries that are essential services. Your next position could be in a company where the majority of tasks are completed in a work-from-home arrangement, or you could be on the front lines directly supporting the government.
It is expected that job openings in certain industries, such as government, biotechnology, health, and essential services will remain positive or even increase. Some industries, such as retail, travel, tourism, and other businesses that have been closed across the board, will simply vanish until they’re cleared to open to trade again. If you’re employed in one of these industries, don’t stress. There are plenty of things you can do to find work even though the country is entering a period of unemployment not seen for 40 years.
Prepare to land a job right now
Whether you are in the middle of a job hunt or have just been laid off, there is certainly hope that your next role, regardless of whether it is big or small, is just around the corner. Here is a list of ways you can increase your chances of landing a new job during this challenging time.
1. Keep your brain sharp by reading widely and playing brain games
This could mean reading free E-books online, following a new source that challenges your ideas or gives you new ways to think, or taking up a mental game such as online Scrabble or Sudoku. The worst part about job hunting is being stuck at home, feeling like your skills are going to waste. This is only exacerbated during times of crisis. Find something satisfying and stay prepared to ace that interview!
2. Do a thorough review of your CV and cover letter
If you’re like most people, your CV could always be improved. Does the way you describe your most recent role truly reflect the skills and abilities? Does your cover letter truly convey your skills and abilities? Look at your CV and cover letter with a critical eye, take a look at some expert advice, or have a friend review your application to see whether it reflects the person they know you are. Sometimes, the people who know you best are more capable of seeing your strengths than you are.
3. Perform a career audit
The job you take now doesn’t have to be the job you will have forever. It could be something that just sees you through this challenging time. Make a list of all the jobs you’ve held and the tasks you’ve done, and then see where you can apply these skills in an industry that is currently accepting applications. You may just have the skills and experience you need to break into an essential service role.
4. Do your best to stay in good physical shape
First impressions count, and while it is not essential to be the fittest person in the room, a bit of exercise will give you that extra energy you may need during what will most likely be a challenging interview. If you’re able to take a walk, why not incorporate a daily stroll or run into your routine. If that’s not possible, consider one of the many free workouts available online.
5. Get networking
The power of networking still applies even in these challenging times. Why not make a profile on a career site such as LinkedIn? Spend time connecting with people you know and people you’ve worked with, but also make sure you spend time talking to them about any potential offerings. If you see something that fits, apply for the job.
6. Prepare to ace an aptitude test
Aptitude tests are used in most jobs, which tend to frighten many candidates, but this shouldn’t be daunting. In fact, with a little practice each day you can turn this weakness into your greatest strength. There are plenty of companies offering innovative ways to improve your aptitude test-taking ability online. Give yourself a head start and incorporate relevant aptitude test practice into your daily routine. Why not try a free practice aptitude test today?
7. Get a mentor
Mentorship doesn’t have to fall apart during times of crisis; it becomes more important. Is there someone you know who works in your goal industry or company to talk to discuss your employment goals and how to best prepare to interview for the role? Don’t feel guilty about reaching out for help during a challenging time. A great employee would welcome queries from a potential employee in a time when capable employees are needed most of all.
8. Talk to someone about it
This is a time of unprecedented stress, change, sadness, and uncertainty. No doubt you are feeling a little bit more stressed than you would have during a normal interview, which is stressful in itself. Consider talking to a friend about what you’re going through and while you’re at it, be a listening ear for them as well. You’ll come through it stronger and with greater confidence. If that’s not your thing, consider talking through your challenges with a free online emotional support service.
9. Prepare for a video interview
Video interviews are very different from standard interviews; a delay in communication can result in an awkward experience or a decreased sense of connection. The situation can feel detached or unnatural, and you might find yourself fumbling, especially if you rely on body language or gestures that don’t communicate well online. Overcome this by signing up with a video conferencing software and practice mock interviews with a friend or family member.
10. Consider a volunteer position
While you are job hunting, why not consider taking on an online volunteer role for a couple of hours a week? An online volunteer position will help you gain additional skills, will enable you to contribute to your community in a meaningful way, boost your self-esteem, and will look great on your CV.
Although it may take time, don’t give up on your goal of finding a new job. While a challenge, it is not unreasonable to land a job of some description during this time. All you can do in a difficult time is to make choices your future self will thank you for. Remember to be kind to yourself, but think smart; the right job is out there just waiting to be found. Practice, prepare, and the job will be yours!