As businesses remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, nearly 2 million people have filed for unemployment during the past month. And with more layoffs expected, the job market will only continue to get more competitive.
The simple truth is that most job seekers won’t get hired right away, which is why it’s important to know which industries are hiring and be diligent in submitting applications. But that’s not the only thing you should be doing. As an experience recruiter, the biggest mistake I see people making when job hunting, especially during times of desperation, is limiting their strategy to only sending out as many resumes as possible — and not taking a few minutes out of their day to focus on networking.
Don’t overlook the power of networking
According to research, 70% jobs are found through networking. So if you want to boost your chances of getting hired, you need to put yourself on the radar of those who can really help you land an interview.
The pandemic certainly makes the job of finding a job even more stressful. But the good news is that if there was ever a perfect time to network, this is it. The work-from-home experience has created a captive audience for networking. People aren’t traveling for business or going to conferences. Instead, many are staying put and working from home, meaning they’re likely to be available and pay attention when you reach out (via a simple email or call).
The wrong way to network
Networking poorly is worse than not networking at all. For example, reaching out to someone you haven’t had any contact with for years and blatantly asking for help is huge turnoff.
Lead with your ‘give’ before you seek to ‘get’
Right now, think of a person in your network who could help with your job search. Who can make an introduction or connect you with someone at a company you’d like to work at? Who can help you brainstorm or provide you with perspective from their own career journey?
Then, write down a list of things you can do for them. Even if it’s a minor gesture, it can still jump-start your networking — as long as the act is genuinely meaningful to them.
...never underestimate the power of simply being a sounding board for someone going through a tough time — or having a laugh with them to help ease their worries.
What information or assistance can you offer?
Maybe you heard they need help with a project or initiative. Look at their Twitter, Facebook, blog or website. Are they or their company supporting charitable causes (i.e., making face masks for frontline workers, donating food to homeless shelters) that you can help with?
In these turbulent times, offering an extra set of hands is a great way to lead with your “give” and develop a reputation for going the extra mile. Also, never underestimate the power of simply being a sounding board for someone going through a tough time — or having a laugh with them to help ease their worries.