The New York Times recently published a great article called “How to Get Back into the Job Market,” in which they give some tips for people who have been out of work for a while and are trying to get back into the swing of the job hunt. We’re not going to reiterate that whole article here, but we want to make sure you’re aware of it if you’re currently looking for work.
While the aforementioned article gives some great advice, we want to provide our own tips for job hunting in 2021 and beyond. So without further ado, here are five tips for looking for work in a post-COVID era.
The world is going digital. While this was the trend well before the COVID pandemic (you can check out this 2015 study by the Pew Research Center to verify this), COVID has only expediated the digitization of the workplace. Remote work options that didn’t exist before are now the norm. The application process is more digital than it’s ever been. Your online presence is crucial.
Looking for a new job without thinking digitally is a little bit like riding a horse to a job interview; you’ll certainly turn heads, but not in a good way. You’re going to need some internet savvy if you want to prove yourself a valuable asset in the digital world.
We recently published an article about how you can prepare for the job hunt in the digital age, and another about the importance of social media. Both of those are good resources if you’re looking to update your job-hunting strategy for the 21st Century, but we understand that going digital will look different for every person. For some, this means rewriting your resume to place a larger focus on digital skills; for others, this means practicing the fine art of the remote interview.
The bottom line: The world is turning and you can’t afford to be left behind.
Go where the jobs are.
Some industries need workers more than others; that’s always been true. However, the landscape of job vacancies is constantly changing, and with a world that’s still in a state of flux, it’s changing more rapidly than usual.
In fact, there’s an odd trend right now where both unemployment rates and unfilled openings are unusually high at the same time. The reason, as this Wall Street Journal article explains, is because of skill/location mismatches. People with the right skills are in the wrong locations.
If you want to maximize the potential of your job search, you’ll want to look in the right places. This means opening yourself up to opportunities in other locations or industries.
If you’re willing to learn new skills and transition into a new career field, you should look into this as soon as possible. If you’re not willing to do so, you might want to start looking for work in other parts of the country – or even the world. Either way, it’s quite possible you’ll need to adapt to a major change this year. That said, this could be the first step on a grand new adventure.
And speaking of adventure…
Job seekers like to play it safe. We can’t blame you if this is your approach; your career could be on the line, after all. However, most successful people are risk-takers. When approached with two options – one low-risk and low-reward, the other high-risk and high-reward – most people will choose the former. But when the power is in your hands, you should take the riskier option.
And if you’re a job seeker, that power is very much in your hands.
So be adventurous. Look for jobs in other states – or even other countries. Look for work in fields that are only tangentially related to your work experience. More importantly, look for work that interests you. Do some research to see if you can find some off-the-beaten-path career options you’ve never thought of before, and then apply for those.
The time for adventure is now. We don’t know how long this era will last, and you might not see an opportunity like this again in your life. Just go for it. The worst thing that could happen is that you reset your perspective a little bit.
Ask for the world.
When job seekers have little power, it’s difficult to make big asks. It’s far too easy to ask for less than you know you deserve simply to get your foot in the door. However, when the power belongs to the job seekers, you can ask for more than ever before.
First, there are personal benefits to big asks. Many companies can no longer afford to outright reject you for an offer they perceive as too high. So even if you shoot for more than is considered reasonable, the worst thing that can happen is you’ll get a lower counteroffer. Asking for more sets the expectations higher, and it will lead you to a higher wage and better benefits.
And second, there are collective benefits. By asking for way more than you think you’ll ever receive, you’re sending a message to employers that they need to adjust what they’re willing to give in order to find and retain top talent. You’re adjusting their expectations. When enough people do this all at once, employers are going to be forced to offer more if they want to stay competitive.
So ask for a higher wage than you’ve ever made. Ask for more vacation days, more flexibility, and better bonuses. You have the power to reset what normal means, so ask high and see what happens. You might be surprised to find yourself living a vastly better life than you were before COVID.
So go for it!
Use a staffing agency.
The New York Times article we referenced in the beginning of this article did mention staffing agencies, but we agree so strongly that we thought it was worth bringing up in our own list of tips as well.
Perhaps you’re overwhelmed. Maybe digital job-hunting feels too unfamiliar. Perhaps you’re struggling to figure out where to even begin your search. Why not talk to a staffing agency?
A staffing agency can put you on the right track. With expertise in matching seekers with careers, they’ll be able to show you offers you weren’t even aware of. Many agencies can even give you advice on how to best approach a particular company.
If you’re not sure where to start your job hunt in this new era, contact a staffing agency today.
We’ve truly entered a new era, and job seekers have a lot of power that they didn’t have just a few years ago. It’s definitely time to use that power to advance your career and, ultimately, better your quality of life.