When I wrote the article Beating the Conventional Job Hunt I was still job searching and quickly realized the power of networking. Networking helps even in learning about a new opportunity during these times. Fast forward to now, around 4-5 months later… I was blessed that someone I had networked with decided to take me on and it was great that their company was looking to expand in ways that fit my skill set. So I wanted to follow up on my previous article – consider this as a part 2 – where I tell you to NETWORK NETWORK NETWORK.
Here are some facts making the (already super difficult) job search so much harder during a pandemic:
- Increase in competition. The pandemic has prompted many companies to furlough or layoff a ton of their staff to downsize — with the mind of surviving!
- Caution is causing companies to think twice before releasing new job positions — making more of us compete for whatever positions are leftover.
- Companies have been struggling (there have been ups and downs) in terms of continuing to produce revenue and just survive so hiring has been on the lower end
- The companies that are claiming to have so many jobs available on their websites have either not had the time or resources to update it, or have not figured out a timeline to bring new people on board. They have a plan to grow…they are just not sure how fast they want to grow. And comes the bigger point — how to onboard/to offboard employees through an online/remote process.
- Great segway into the current work situation: Most opportunities are remote now — which can come with complexities on time zone, compensation, living arrangements, etc.
Given all these above constraints, the best way to get an offer letter during this time (and any other) is by getting yourself in front of the decision-makers of companies that you are interested in joining. ← How do you do this?! (Imagine Dora’s face from Dora and Boots when she asks a question and waits for your response)
You are correct – You need to network! This step in your life isn’t easy — especially while hunting for a job during a pandemic. Even with all the constraints, you need to keep trying, stay resilient, be aggressive and respectful, and do the most to get to where you want to be. The time and effort needed to plan which events you are going to attend, which people you must speak with, and the act of speaking with people can be energy consuming, especially for introverts. But I assure you, doing the most now and doing the more optimal strategy to maximize your success in getting an offer, will pay off when you are happy and living life at your new job.
Pulling from Part 1 of the Job Search article, here is an overview of how you can network. See Part 1 for more details!
- Start close: Tell your immediate friend group and family to keep an eye out for positions that may fit what you’re looking for.
- Utilize online resources by attending free events happening in your industry: Even if the event is not relevant to you or your interests, begin to see it as an opportunity to grow your network. You can connect with the hosts and lecturers/speakers, add them on LinkedIn, and evaluate who these people are connected within their networks.
- Put in a word with all your trusted mentors, old bosses, connections, etc. It is never a bad thing to ask for help! The worst thing someone could say is…. NO. Smile, thank them for their time, and MOVE ON! Some bridges are harder to build — over time it will work out. You will never be devalued for asking for help and advice. Remember to be kind, patient, and respectful of their time!
- Meetup and Alumni chapters: Use Meetup and Alumni chapters to attend events in your community and expand outside of your usual circles and within your industry interests.
Now get out there (figuratively… the pandemic is still going strong) and get talking. Start with informational interviews and let them know you are job hunting (Do not ASK for a job right away) and always remember to end your conversation by asking if there is anyone they know you can connect with for more exposure. This ensures that the tree branches on your network keep growing.