As the economy reacts to the realities of the pandemic, many people are finding themselves unexpectedly looking for work. Heidi Shierholz, a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, estimates that as of last fall at least 30 million Americans were unemployed. Because my responsibilities at BEMC include managing Human Resources, I’d like to offer some tips that may help members looking for a job increase their chances of success.
First, be sure your resume is current, and be prepared to speak to your areas of expertise and accomplishments in a concise way. If it’s been a while since you’ve job hunted, you should know that more than 80% of employers actively recruit on social media. Having a presence on LinkedIn, a networking site that allows you to connect with recruiters and decision makers, can yield results. Your profile should include your skills, experience, and testimonials from past colleagues and clients. Other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter can also connect you directly with employers. Companies also post positions on job sites; Indeed.com is the most popular, where you can search for openings, post your resume, and research companies.
It’s important to note that your behavior on social media affects your site favorability rating, which influences how often you pop up in searches; reading articles in newsfeeds, responding to posts, and posting often elevates your profile. Observing what others are doing on these sites can be beneficial, and you can get comfortable by first connecting with people you know.
Experts say that more than 70% of jobs are found through networking. Make sure you nurture the relationships you have with people that you’ve worked with before, and who know your skill set. Talk to people in your broader network, including those in organizations you belong to, about where opportunities are today. This can help you broaden your perspective about fields you might not have considered, especially if someone with a background similar to yours has landed successfully there. It’s important to be flexible. Be prepared to learn a new skill or software program, and be willing to adapt to changing circumstances regarding how work gets done. Our economy has shifted, and because everyone has instant access to information, employers highly value people that can do things, as opposed to know things.
Once you’ve landed an interview, prepare by researching the company and the interviewer through their website and social media. Practice your answers to common interview questions, and prepare a list of references and some smart questions for the interviewer. During the interview, answer questions using the STAR method (situation, task, action, result), highlighting your accomplishments, and convey your flexibility in adapting to the needs of the company. Afterwards, follow-up with a thank you email or note.