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How to find a job during a pandemic and a recession

This may be the most difficult time to look for a new job, but there are still opportunities if you’re flexible.

How to find a job during a pandemic and a recession
[Photo: BongkarnThanyakij/iStock]

Let’s be honest—in many ways, this is probably the worst time in recent history to be job hunting. By some estimates, nearly 20% of Americans are unemployed, and social distancing requirements mean job fairs, in-person interviews, and networking events are all canceled.

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But while there are hiring freezes and cutbacks at many companies, there are still some opportunities. Like much else these days, job hunting now requires some flexible thinking and adapting. Now might not necessarily be the time to climb the ladder to a bigger job, but it is the time to explore career opportunities you may have put on the back burner in more comfortable times.

On this week’s episode of Secrets of the Most Productive People, we talk about the mental health struggles so many of us are facing right now. We also speak with Dorianne St Fleur, a diversity and inclusion strategist, a career development coach, and the founder of Your Career Girl Inc. She gave us advice on how to rethink your career, find online networking opportunities, deal with some of the bleak feelings you may be having, and more.

You can listen and subscribe to Secrets of the Most Productive People on Apple PodcastsGoogle Play, Stitcher, Spotify, RadioPublic, or wherever you get your podcasts.

In the meantime, here are a few ways you can start thinking about your job hunt in this trying time:

1. Think short-term. This might be somewhat counterintuitive advice, given that a career is a marathon, not a sprint. However, we are living in a time when things are changing extremely fast. In this instance, it’s best to plan for what would be best for you in the next 30, 60, or 90 days. Ask yourself what your priorities are during this time. Is it to build a financial cushion? Are you looking for a job that can provide a degree of stability and consistency? Or are you in a financial position to focus solely on professional opportunities, with the understanding that finding that right next position can take you longer in this pandemic?

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2. Network in digital spaces. Now’s the time to update that LinkedIn profile, because companies are still hiring, and some industries, such as healthcare, logistics, and those who provide tools and services for remote work, actually have had to ramp up recruitment to meet increased demand. Because companies are generally not conducting on-site or face-to-face interviews or hosting events, a recruiter will likely turn to LinkedIn to source candidates. Make sure that your profile is up-to-date and that you’ve provided quantifiable achievements in your role descriptions. That’s what they’ll scan and use to decide whether or not to reach out to you.

3. Look beyond full-time roles. Being an independent contractor or freelancer isn’t for everyone, but it still allows you to bring in an income and keep your professional skills fresh when full-time opportunities might be limited. It’s also a great way to network with companies so that if a full-time role does become available, you’ll have an in with the company and might even be able to bypass the traditional application process.

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About the author

Kathleen Davis is Deputy Editor at FastCompany.com. Previously, she has worked as an editor at Entrepreneur.com, WomansDay.com and Popular Photography magazine.

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