Career Off Script | How To Job Search When The World Is A Mess
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How To Job Search When The World Is A Mess

There is no denying it, 2020 has been a terrible year, and we’re only halfway there. I’m not going to rehash the myriad of upsets that were the last seven months. Suffice it to say the world is in chaos right now. People are tired. I am tired. And if you’re reading this right now I can safely assume that you are having to add another layer onto your plate, as you are also trying to job search.

To you, I first want to say I’m sorry. Whether you are one of the millions that has lost your job, or you are finding your present work so unmanageable that you are willing to job search in this economy, I’m genuinely sorry for the position you are in. The state of the world is difficult enough right now, and you are being forced to navigate yet another difficulty.

Secondly though I would like to say – and now to the good news – what you are attempting can be done. Employers are still hiring, there are still jobs to be had, and as an Ex-Corporate Recruiter, I’m going to walk you through it. My five golden tips for job searching when the world is a mess.

#1 – Choose Your Priorities Wisely

Trust me, I get the inclination to want to ‘do it all’. But you can’t.  Here’s the thing – each day we have a certain amount of energy to allocate. Let’s say, maybe $100. But as you start to endure stress from life, that energy is zapped away. With the current state of the world I would say most people have $70 to play with, if that. A job search is going to take a huge chunk of any energy reserve you have, so when your levels are already depleted, you have to be careful what else you are putting on your plate. I suggest taking stock of your activities. Anything that depletes you and is not a necessity might be better placed on the back burner for now.

#2 – Amp Up Your LinkedIn Game

If you were a novice when it came to LinkedIn, now is the time to bring the horse power. Build out your profile fully, make sure you’ve set your profile as ‘open to opportunities’ so Recruiters can find you, and start getting social on the platform. Post your own updates, but also comment on others wherever you can and look to add value (and ‘nice post!’ isn’t of value). Look to be targeted in your activity; make a list of the companies you are interested in and the individuals you would like to build a relationship with. Then begin engaging with them! Consistency in your activity is key here. The pandemic has created an employer market where the competition for jobs between candidates is fierce. Don’t underestimate the power of your relationships in opening doors for you.

#3 – Make Recruiters Your Friend

I know a lot of people hesitate before going to a Recruitment Agency, for various reasons. If you are one of them you are selling yourself short. Why? Because Recruiters that work for an agency are commission based. Not only that, their commission is directly tied to the salary they negotiate for you. So it is in their best interests to get you a job AND get you the highest salary possible. Companies also partner with Recruitment Agencies at times when they are not able to work on the role in house, perhaps due to capacity or the confidentiality of the search. That means these Agencies can provide access to opportunities you wouldn’t have otherwise! This is definitely a tactic in your job search strategy you want to include, just be sure that you thoroughly vet any role they approach you with – a Recruiter might present you with an opportunity but you are never under any obligation to interview with the organization (or even accept an offer).

#4 – Be Flexible

The harsh reality is that you may have to accept a less-than-ideal role right now, especially if you are in a tight situation with money, or your current job is that soul crushing. The current economy is not one where people can afford to be picky and hold out for that ‘dream job’. The trick is to start looking at all job postings as possible opportunities, and ask yourself how these roles might bring you a step further (even a baby step) in your career path. For instance, what new skills can you develop in the contract role? Or perhaps a more ‘administrative’ position is being offered at a company you have always followed – what individuals would you be able to add to your network here? This is the time to start thinking out of the box and explore the ways to make the available jobs work for you!

#5 – Don’t Burn Yourself Out

For all my pushing about focusing on your job search right now, I am a complete advocate for taking care of yourself above all else. Now more than ever we need to put ourselves first, especially if we want to also be there for our friends and family. So yes, make your job search a priority, but don’t burn yourself out by thinking it’s your only priority. I recommend setting up a schedule for yourself that outlines how many hours per day/week you are going to dedicate to your job search. This will keep you focused and accountable. But it will also give you permission to rest (and de-stress) when you are not focused on your search. This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Treat it as such and you will and you will reach the finish line in one piece.

And there you have it, my five hard and fast methods for finding a job when I feel like the odds are stacked against me. Are you surprised by any of this? I wish I had better words of wisdom for you, or a magic secret to pull out of my Ex-Recruiter toolkit. The truth is it’s really all about patience, consistency and perseverance. But I happen to think that’s really great news. Finding a job right now is not about fancy Google tricks or reformatting your resume in a certain way. It’s about you, putting one foot in front of the other and allowing yourself to be open to the possibilities that lie ahead. Because in a time when the world has flipped on its head, and people are unsure what our new ‘normal’ will look like, you can be sure of yourself. Just remember to take care of you right now, you’ll get there.

Allison xo

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