Our world has changed dramatically since the start of 2020 in ways we never anticipated. While many have been dealing with personal losses during the pandemic, other recent graduates have also lost the opportunity to start their careers and ensure stability after college.
Whether you’re a recent graduate or you decided to make a big career move right before the pandemic, know that it is possible to bounce back after a derailed job hunt. These are several ways to keep on top of the job market, develop your skills, and take steps to land the career of your dreams.
- Continue to network and foster professional relationships
When there is a lack of jobs to apply for, a great first step is to embrace and grow your professional network. Send requests on LinkedIn to college alumni, or branch out to connect with other professionals in your industry. Many people in your network may have been in the same situation as you. Use this time to cultivate relationships, even if they aren’t just to land a job.
Reach out to contacts at your preferred companies and inquire about doing an informational interview, which is a meeting with a current employee who can give insight on the role or department you would hope to work for when there is an open position. Virtually network with college alumni and set up Zoom meetings to talk about their job hunting experience and advice they may have for you. Having professional contacts will always come in handy for future job searches or projects!
- Start new projects
A great option for difficult job hunting seasons is to put your energy into other projects. Use a tool like Wix to create a professional website, polish your social media presence, or try a new resume template. These will all be useful when the job market bounces back again.
Offering your skills to your personal network could bring in work as well. For example, if you are a singer, create a professional Instagram and let your followers know you’re available for upcoming events. It’s easy after a job loss or lack of opportunities to lose interest in your work, but simple projects can reignite your love for what you do.
- Expand your skill set
Take this time to gain some new professional skills. LinkedIn Learning provides several courses to expand your skillset, including ones in leadership and inclusion or SEO for social media. Upon completion, you’ll even get a badge on your profile that employers can take notice of!
It could be helpful to read literature related to your field as well or expand your knowledge to skills you never had the time to master, like coding or Photoshop. Check out sites like edX, which offer free online courses from schools such as Harvard, Boston University and more. Learn the sought-after skills in your industry and add them to your resume.
- Stay informed on company updates
Whether it be via LinkedIn or another social media site, it’s important to keep a close eye on any updates from companies you would love to work for. A softer delivery of an open position may come in the form of a social media post rather than a posting on a job board.
In the case of COVID-19, many companies have periodically given updates regarding hiring freezes or unfreezes via social media announcements. Keeping up to date with the companies you really admire — instead of sending applications into the void — will get you closer to where you want to be.
- Embrace positivity
The loss of a job or job opportunity is incredibly disheartening, especially when it is due to reasons out of your control. Recent Temple University graduate Sabrina Mohamed reflects on her state of mind after graduation this past May.
“In the spring, it felt like all of the potential job leads and hard work I put into my future just dissolved all within a couple of days. It was was really disheartening,” she recalls. “But, we have to pick ourselves back up and make do with what we have and accept that these things are beyond our control.”
Remind yourself that the difficulties in your life only make you stronger, and no matter how rough a go job hunting is the right job is bound to come in time.
“It’s assuring to remember that most of the 2020 graduating class is in the same boat, so we’re all in this together and we will bounce back,” says Mohamed.
Practice patience and stay positive!