Job Search Ideas
Job Search Momentum Ideas: Things To Do During a Pandemic
As the world succumbed to a highly contagious deadly virus, we must not let it kill our progress toward our next big gig.
This week, metropolises around the world have shut down because of the deadly coronavirus COVID-19.
State governor closed the doors to thousands of schools statewide.
Large gatherings, retail stores, and even restaurants disappeared overnight.
Millions have self-quarantined themselves at home even when they are healthy (except for the occasional trips to Costco to be one of the lucky ones to grab toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes).
The end is nowhere in sight.
But as the saying goes, with every challenge comes opportunity.
This is not the time to hibernate. This is the time to up our game. To prepare ourselves to hit the ground running when the dust settles.
So keep your momentum going with the following ideas.
Start Virtual Networking
With social interactions nearly destroyed, one of the most crucial components in looking for new opportunity has also been eliminated: in-person networking.
However, that does NOT mean we cannot make new connections or build on existing relationships at all.
Take the socializing online.
If you already do this, fabulous.
If social media has never been your thing, well, this crisis might just be the thing to kick you into gear.
When we think jobs and careers, LinkedIn is the first platform that pops into our minds. Message recruiters or contact someone whose career catches your attention. Reconnect with people you have lost touch with. You could even join and interact with people in industry or career groups.
Another social platform to take advantage of is Facebook. Most of us do not think of Facebook as a place to conduct professional networking. Nevertheless, job-seeking and career groups do exist on the mainstream platform and a substantial amount of open positions do get announced by word-of-mouth within these groups.
Conduct Virtual Interviews
Everyone might be advised to stay home and keep a distance away from others, but these same people still need to work. That includes recruiters.
With this virus, it goes without saying that recruiters and hiring managers are moving the in-person, campus interviews online.
So get comfortable and familiar with it.
Prepare. Research the company and the interviewers. Compile your questions.
Identify a location in your living space that has good lighting and that is private enough for you to talk without distractions.
If you find that your lighting is inadequate or that there are too much sound around you, this would be a good time to invest in some camera lighting or a microphone. Either can be very affordable.
Granted that after the virus settles and the business world starts to get back to normal, companies may still wish to conduct an on-campus interview with you. But this is still some good, serious practice.
Create a Résumé Video
Creating a promotional video for yourself is a great medium to attract recruiters and head hunters on LinkedIn. You can show and endorse yourself in a manner that a resume cannot. Not only can you put a face to a name, but you can also inject your personality into your work history.
The better you are able to capture people’s attention, the higher the chances of you getting that interview and dream job.
There are two approaches:
Find a neat location with good lighting and film a video of yourself on your smartphone for a maximum of two minutes.
Unlike a selfie photo, which mostly shows the face from an awkward angle, aim for something a little more thought out.
Shoot yourself from the chest or waist up.
Wear attire that you would wear to an actual interview.
Make sure the lighting flatters you.
If you have video editing software and know how to use it, excellent. This is especially essential for those of you targeting media or more graphics-related positions. For the rest of us, however, it may not be necessary, but wouldn’t it be fun?
If stage fright consumes you, then the second option would be to construct a video with PowerPoint.
How many of you know how to do this?
I recently had to learn this in order to display my testimonials better online.
You obviously need a copy of Microsoft PowerPoint.
And if you have PowerPoint 2010 and later, you can do minor audio edits directly on the application.
If you do not, then you will need to edit your audio with a separate application such as GarageBand or Microsoft Photo’s Video Editor.
Build your PowerPoint deck like you would with any presentation. Add transitions and set a timer for each slide so that it automatically changes.
You can, of course, add your own visuals and audio, but if you don’t have any or rather not, royalty-free stock photos can be downloaded from websites such as unsplash.com. Royalty-free audio tracks can also be obtained from websites like bensound.com.
Once the visual slides and the audio have been combined and reviewed to your liking, save it as a video file (i.e. mp4, avi) and upload it to LinkedIn and other social media platforms.
Instead of regurgitating the work history on your resume, pick your top 2–3 accomplishments, then spend the rest of the time elaborating on your strengths, values, passions, or professional philosophies.
Just ensure the final product is watchable and boosts you.
Boost Your Personal Brand Online
It goes without saying that if you are early in your job search process or if you have not reviewed your resume in a while, this is the time to really sit down and give that marketing document some much needed love.
On the other hand, if you have been searching for you next job for a while, then you probably know your resume quite well already.
But what about your online presence?
Whether you are a social media butterfly or not, you cannot deny that companies are diligently looking at how to present yourself to the world away from your resume.
They google your name, examine your LinkedIn profile, or even scrutinize your Facebook page for any red flags.
Well, firstly, right now is the perfect time to do some spring cleaning on your personal and professional online presence.
Check to see for yourself whether anything pops up that might deter some recruiters and hiring manager. Make every effort to create a clean slate as much as possible.
Now, you can recreate or build your presence nearly from scratch.
This could mean establishing a Facebook fan page for yourself.
Maybe this is a chance to give Twitter or Instagram a try.
Then there’s writing articles promoting your expertise and viewpoints, as I am doing here on Medium.
Instill Project Management with Kids
With multiple states shutting school doors, the kids will be stuck at home with you.
However, rather than seeing this as a disruption to your job search efforts, see it as a gift to spend precious time with your kids.
Yes, your kids will likely need to finish their school year with online homeschooling as planned by your school officials, and helping them with school work certainly spurs intellectual and interpersonal growth for both you and the children.
But wouldn’t it be more exciting for the entire family to start a family project?
Have the kids decide on what kind of a project they want to do, and you can either hone or retain your project management skills.
Design a schedule with your kids.
Plan the steps with your kids.
Delegate the work with your kids.
Gather the resources with your kids.
Control the scope. Ok, you might need to this one on your own unless you have a very disciplined child.
All these are important elements of project management for you to exercise. As a matter of fact, wouldn’t it be entertaining for the kids to learn as well?
After all, isn’t it entirely possible that the kids would learn how to use project management applications such as Microsoft Project, Trello, or Monday better than you can?
Learn with Kids
Along the same vein, you can convince your kids to be your classmates.
Have you been meaning to learn a new computer language or a new business concept or a new hands-on skill, but have not been able to curve out time to do so?
With the kids around, they can learn with you.
First, convince them what the end result could possibly look like.
Ask them if they want to know how to make a video game, how to design a production line, or how to make soap.
Then read books or watch how-to videos or take online courses together.
Do the assignments together. Keep each other accountable. Make it fun and crafty.
This way, you both gain.
Hatch Your Entrepreneurial Idea
The world economy has grind to a screeching halt. Companies have either slowed operations or put all their energy in keeping what they have running.
Perhaps this is the universe saying it’s about time you finally focus on that business idea that has been brewing in your brain for years.
Time to sit down and create that business plan.
Time to research for names of people you need to get in contact with to realize your product or service.
Time to develop your logistics or design prototypes.
Time to create some buzz.
All of the aforementioned recommendations above can be utilized in an entrepreneurial sense. Get the kids involved. Create your business presence online. Network with people who will help you with supply chain.
Like people say, there’s no better time than now. And as this virus intensifies, there literally is no better time.
So What Are You Waiting For
Just because the coronavirus has taken over the world doesn’t mean we need to press pause on our job search endeavors.
It is a time to self-reflect, reassess, and regroup our mindsets.
Upgrade your technical prowess.
Enter the new age of networking.
Spend time with the kids so that it is productive and enjoyable for both parties.
Start that dream life that you have fantasized about since you were five.
Those are the things this virus has given us.