3 steps to success in your COVID-era job search

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(Image: Surface)

By shifting the workforce online, the pandemic has removed certain barriers to employment and opened up new opportunities to savvy jobseekers. If your COVID-era job search has begun to feel overwhelming, follow these tips to re-frame your challenges and get back on track, drawn from articles on CNBC Make It and regular Career Insight contributor Job Hunt.

Focus on what you’d like to do, not just on what you’ve already done.

Afraid you don’t measure up for a position that’s caught your eye? Research shows that many jobseekers, especially women, are reluctant to apply for jobs that don’t feel like a 100 percent match for their experience. Career coach and former recruiter Sarah Sheehan told CNBC that this is a mistake: “So often, skills are transferable, and may be a stronger match for the job than someone who’s done that job directly.”

Instead of retreating, try reframing: Tell the story of your work history in terms of the skills you’ve acquired, rather than the precise roles you’ve filled.

If you’re interested in a position and believe that your experience has prepared you for it, then go ahead and apply. Chances are high that your confidence will leave the hiring team with a positive impression, even if your history doesn’t align exactly with the job description. They may even be more receptive to working with someone who doesn’t have pre-existing ideas about the industry or the role.

Remember that remote work comes with its own skill set, and update your resume accordingly.

When applying to jobs outside your current industry, reframe your resume to highlight skills relevant to both the open position and your ability to meet the unique challenges of COVID-era work. For instance:

  • Are you a freelancer with remote work experience? 
  • Do you adapt well to change? 
  • Do you have a strong sense of self-direction and time management skills? 
  • Are you comfortable communicating online via email and video conferences? 
  • Are you a Google Drive guru?

If your answers to any of these questions are affirmative, then you’re in a good position to acquire COVID-era work. Reformat your resume to highlight these experiences just as well as your past positions, and use your cover letter to expand on how you’re specifically suited to meet the demands of working from home in uncertain times.

Be bold in your approach to networking.

Some of the greatest barriers removed by the COVID era relate to geography. Perhaps most significant for jobseekers: The global shift to remote work means you can cast a much wider net geographically.

Additionally, many professional conferences and workshops have moved online, allowing a far more diverse group of people to attend. Taking advantage of these opportunities is a wonderful way to grow your network and get new ideas about what you can bring to the table within your targeted fields.

Finally, no matter where people are in their career journey, they are feeling at least a little starved for connection. Many have been more active in engaging with others across social networks, so reach out to people you admire – you will be surprised by the strength of the relationships you can build.

Likewise, consider your past colleagues and classmates. There is no time like the present for reconnecting online and exploring how you may be able to help each other.

No matter how you approach your job search at the moment, the most important thing is to keep going and remain open to changing your course as needed.

Kelli Karanovich is an editor at Work for Good, as well as a professional copywriter and educator who also publishes as Kelli Lynn Grey.

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