With more than 3.2 million people filing for unemployment in March, we’ve moved into an unprecedented job market as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. While many recently unemployed workers have likely decided to wait to look for a job until the world settles down a bit, I want to challenge this approach.

Now is the time to act. We don’t know how long the pandemic will last, so I encourage you to move quickly to get in front of those seeking new employment.

The good news is that there are plenty of opportunities for you to successfully land a job. The other good news is that hiring managers know the reason why so many people are out of work right now, so the adage that “it’s easier to get a job when you have a job” no longer applies.

Here are some suggestions to fine-tune and speed up your job search.

Network Everywhere

First of all, remember to leverage your networks. Use social media, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, to get the word out about your job search. Find, connect with, and contact recruiters and hiring managers in your preferred companies. Call or email your friends, family, and LinkedIn network to explain your job situation and ask for help.

Define and Maintain Your Brand

Managers rarely hire someone who will do “anything.” Companies hire people who want to perform a specific job. They want folks who are specialized or wish to be specialized in a particular career. Unfortunately, with 93% of recruiters using LinkedIn to vet applicant resumes, it’s almost impossible to pursue multiple career opportunities at the same time. So, you must define your career direction and tune all of your job search and online branding in that direction.

Fine-Tune Your Resume

Once you have clarity on your career direction, update your resume and clearly brand it to that career. Update your keywords. Use the hybrid resume style to sell your functional skills and use the STAR technique to turn your resume bullets into achievement statements. Be sure to include an achievement statement that indicates an ability to work remotely, such as: “Remotely communicated throughout the organization using tools including Zoom, instant messenger, Hangouts Meet, Slack, or Microsoft Teams, maintaining close contact with leadership, teammates, and customers.”

Update Your LinkedIn Profile

Utilize keywords and other SEO techniques to raise the visibility of your profile and improve your opportunity to be discovered. Copy your resume, word-for-word and section-to-section, into your LinkedIn profile. Then, actively network into each company to get your resume seen by hiring managers.

Prepare for Virtual Job Interviews

Make sure you’re comfortable with video conferencing. Practice using Skype and Zoom with your friends before the interview. Be sure the room lighting is adequate and that the person on the other side of the camera can only see a favorable setting. As with any interview, you want to be sure to do your homework by researching the company. Practice interview techniques, including the STAR methodology and the Sandwich Technique, to respond to the most common questions. Prepare your response to the “Tell me about yourself” question so that it sells your brand, including your strengths, industry technical skills, and transferable skills.

Search for Jobs Every Day

Importantly, remember that you are not on vacation. Each day matters when searching for a new job. Spend at least 6 hours every day looking for employment and tuning your brand and LinkedIn SEO.

Use the Top Tier Job Search Engines

The best job search engines are Indeed, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor. Put your most substantial focus on the paid job posting (Indeed – Easily Apply, LinkedIn – All, Glassdoor – Easy Apply). The paid job postings are likely still open since many companies will pull down their job posting when they have a strong pool of candidates. Secondly, look for jobs that have been posted in the previous 1-10 days as these may still be open. Be sure to check LinkedIn to see if you have any connections or alumni that may help open a door for you.

Look for Remote Work

Remote jobs are a great solution because they offer social distancing and the potential for a full-time job. You can find remote jobs on Indeed, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor by using search terms such as Remote, Work at Home, Distributed Workforce, and Virtual. Several job boards focus specifically on remote placement, including Remote.com, FlexJobs, and Upwork. However, be careful. Job scammers tend to use remote jobs as a way to attract potential victims. To avoid being scammed, use your gut instinct and avoid opportunities where they ask for your bank account or other financial information, use bad grammar and spelling, request you to pay for expenses, or promise quick financial rewards.

Stay Emotionally Positive

This is a difficult time already, and searching for a job only adds more to your mental plate. Be sure to take care of yourself and maintain an emotional balance.

  • Identify your targets, develop a plan, and create checklists to keep yourself going. Prioritize your list, break up projects into smaller actions, and focus on the easiest and quickest tasks to give yourself a sense of accomplishment.
  • Journal your positive experiences each day. Write down all of the things you are grateful for, and review your journal frequently to keep positive and appreciative.
  • Surround yourself with positive people. Call, Zoom, Facetime, or Skype at least two positive people each day to be seen, heard, and valued. Provide positive support in return.
  • Minimize your time watching the news and reading Facebook. Ignore negative posts, follow positive people, and join supportive groups.
  • Connect with industry influencers and follow them on social media.
  • Improve your industry technical skills by taking advantage of LinkedIn Learning to develop subject matter expertise or gain a certification.
  • Move around and be active. Take frequent breaks from your job search to walk around your home or go outside and run in the neighborhood.

Have you discovered any new job search approaches that you want to share? If so, please comment on my post.

Written by Scott Kukowski who provides career coaching services through Coaching 4 Good. Scott is a member of the Coaching 4 Good Collective and provides clients with the expertise and tools to showcase your career brand including:

  • Resume Services
  • LinkedIn Training
  • Interview Training
  • Career Identification
  • And more.