Lately, the pandemic news has been almost all good as COVID-19 declines in the United States. Here in NYC, we’ve had super-low infection rates, and the city celebrated in style with fireworks when the state reached the threshold of 70 percent vaccination. The job market is also starting to rebound as restrictions are lifted and businesses reopen. Unemployment rates are dropping, and many employers report new positions they are eager to fill.
Whenever the job market experiences a major change—for the worse or the better—it also means you must adjust your approach to finding a job. While there are certainly more good positions available than there were a few months ago, there are also plenty of people vying for those positions. Whether you’ve been “sitting out” your job search during the pandemic, or whether you adapted your search techniques this past year, it may be time to take a breath, re-evaluate your current strategies, and retool your approach. Here are some tips to help you keep your competitive edge.
Revise Your Resume and/or Your LinkedIn Profile
Crisis changes people—often for the better. Chances are during the lockdowns, you learned some new skills or accomplished some projects on your own. If you did, consider whether any of those accomplishments could be used to enhance your resume. Perhaps you even did some soul searching and decided you wanted to take a fresh direction with your career. Retool your resume to reflect your current focus. If you have been doing networking and job searching using LinkedIn as a resume, make sure your profile reflects these changes, as well. Let your public persona reflect who you are now, not who you were before COVID. By doing so, you’ll seek out (and attract) job opportunities that are more suited for the “post-pandemic you.”
Additional tips: Don’t forget—employers like resumes that speak directly to their needs. Before sending in a resume for a specific job opening, take a few minutes to customize it, highlighting the specific skills and accomplishments (both old and new) that will convince the employer that you’d make a valuable member of their team. Also, since your resume is likely to be competing with a lot of others, take steps to make sure it stands out—both in appearance and in highlighting your abilities.
Maintain Your At-Home Work Skills
During the lockdowns and ongoing social distancing, many of us learned how to do remote job interviews from home, and many of us even began working remotely. Now that companies have learned this is a viable way to do things, many will continue to offer remote work—and many will even continue to offer interviews via Zoom and other online videoconferencing platforms. If you’ve been honing these skills, don’t let them get rusty. Keep practicing your interview techniques for video interviews, and keep your options open for work-from-home positions. Doing so may even open you up to job opportunities in other locations besides your hometown—jobs that wouldn’t have been available to you before the COVID crisis.
Look for “Niche” Opportunities
As new jobs open up over the next few months, employers are likely to be overwhelmed with resumes from interested (and sometimes desperate?) job seekers. Instead of just blasting out hundreds of resumes for generic job openings (which are likely to get lost in a sea of other resumes), try honing your job search toward specific skills you have that others might not have. In other words, now is a great time to look for a “niche” within your field of expertise and look for jobs that require that niche. This is a great way to narrow the field of eligible applicants so your resume is far more competitive. (In many cases, specialized skills also lead to higher salaries.)
If you want some personal help sharpening your job search skills for this rebounding job market, I’m here as always. Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s set you up with a free 30-minute consultation.