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13 Things You Need To Know About Job Hunting Right Now

If you learn nothing else here, learn to look into the camera during your interview.

1. First, if you’re looking for a job right now, what you’re doing is hard and you deserve credit.

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Let’s start with something you probably know but is worth repeating: Finding a new job was a hard thing to do before 2020, but now? COVID-19 and all the economic turmoil it's caused mean that the job-hunting game is now 100% on hard mode. So whether you’re just out of college, you’ve been laid off, or you're just looking for your next challenge, you deserve credit for doing a very hard thing. Go easy on yourself. You're doing great. We believe in you!

2. It pays to be flexible.

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COVID-19 has thrown the whole world for a loop, and a lot of things have been forced to change in a short period of time. Just as nations, governments, and industries have had to adapt, so must those of us looking for our next gig. The more flexible you can be with what your next job looks like, the better off you’ll be. The change in your next gig might be as simple as working from home rather than going to an office, but it might also be as big as transitioning to an entirely new role or industry.

3. Don’t be afraid to think short-term.

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A lot of your work life is focused on building skills that are useful in the long term. It’s still good to have those skills, but right now, your needs might be a bit more immediate. Furthermore, what the workplace looks like is changing quickly as well. Think about what’s most beneficial for you in the next one to three months. The job that can help you build a cash safety net may look different than the job wherein you’re trying to fulfill professional aspirations.

4. Focus on companies that are making money right now.

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Some companies have been hit harder by the pandemic than others, so it makes sense to narrow your focus to companies that are doing well enough right now that they're hiring more employees. Which companies are those? The Los Angeles Times notes that “tech companies helping large businesses pivot to working remotely, retail management, delivery work, and home healthcare are hiring more than other industries.” But those probably aren’t the only places to look. A little bit of research can make your job hunt way more productive.

5. Look especially hard at companies that are actively advertising open positions.

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In this particular moment, TopResume career expert Amanda Augustine suggests that “you’ll need to be strategic and focus on those organizations that are actively advertising new job listings.” It may seem a bit obvious, but you can know for sure that these companies need help right now.

6. Networking is just as important today as it was before…

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While you should certainly prioritize jobs that are advertising open positions, you'll still need to keep up your networking skills to find the roughly 70% of jobs that might not be listed. Keep in touch with the people in your network, and make new contacts whenever possible.

7. ...But it’s going to look a little different now.

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Granted, you can't go to meetups and sling business cards like you could in 2019, but that doesn't mean there aren't ways to keep in touch with professional contacts. Online social networks and videoconferencing software are tools that make it easy to stay in touch with your existing contacts. Some people are even doing it the old-fashioned way and calling their contacts on the phone. For meeting new contacts, you can find virtual networking events. Check out the series "Finding a Job During Challenging Economic Times" for more tips on digital networking strategies.

8. Now is the perfect time to learn new skills online.

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Right now, there are many places you can turn to for free or discounted online classes. If you find there's a certain professional skill that would make your resume pop a bit, theres a good chance you can find an online course to get proficient in that skill. The US Chamber of Commerce has a great list of cheap and free courses that can get you started.

9. It's also the perfect time to clean up your social media a bit.

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According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers look at their applicants' social media presence online. In a year when nearly everything is remote, that's going to be doubly true. Furthermore, social media is a great jumping-off point for networking, as well as scoping out prospective employers by looking at their social presence.

For all these reasons, make sure that the image you're putting out there on all your social media platforms is one that you'd feel comfortable talking about in a job interview. And if that picture of you partying hard in Amsterdam isn't something you want to talk about, take it down.

10. You should add your remote-work experience to your resume.

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For lots of jobs you could be hired for right now, you'll be working from home on day one. That means you want your WFH skills to shine through on your resume. Are you familiar with the most common types of video software for meetings? Put that on the resume! How about collaborative document-sharing tools? Put that down too! Do you have a track record of proven productivity in a remote environment? Have you led a team remotely? Let the world know!

11. The informational interview is your friend.

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People are much more likely to speak with you if you're asking for information rather than asking for a job. That makes informational interviews a great way to expand your network while gaining valuable insight into your fields of interest. Best of all, they can totally be conducted remotely.

Noelle Gross, a career coach in Stamford, Connecticut says, “A good informational interview is part research and part building rapport." You can check out her starter questions here.

12. Got a video chat interview coming up? Look into the camera, not at the screen.

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Kevin Grice, a former recruiter at Google, says you can create the illusion of eye contact in a remote video interview if you look into your computer's camera rather than at your computer screen. He also has other tips for your interview, such as making sure the area you're in has nice lighting, closing any apps with notifications that could distract you or the interviewer, and, of course, dressing like you're at a job interview and not like you're hanging out on your sofa.

13. Remember, you have some advantages in this new world of remote interviewing.

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For instance, it's easier to slip away and take a phone interview when you're at home already. Plus, in such an interview, Amanda Augustine points out that "you have the luxury of referencing notes you’ve prepared without the interviewer’s knowledge."

She also notes that "if you’re working remotely, you can register for an online course or follow up on a job lead without fearing your boss will catch you in the act."