In this guide, Mock Questions walks you through looking for a job when it feels like nobody is hiring. We break down job market misconceptions and show you the industries that are always hiring. We also teach you how to uncover new opportunities when the job market feels slow and how to use your downtime when you're unemployed. We even break down a variety of ways that you can generate job activity by approaching your search uniquely and creatively.
IT'S A TOUGH JOB, BUT YOU HAVE TO DO IT
Finding a new job is a challenging process, and seeking out a career opportunity can feel like a full-time gig in itself! You spend hours combing through job listings, you take the time to tailor your resume for each application, and you dedicate time practicing for interviews.
But, what if you can't even find the right job postings to apply to in the first place?
When we come up short on appealing job postings, our first instinct is to say; nobody is hiring right now. Maybe the economy is terrible, or perhaps a global pandemic just hit (hello!).
Rather than feeling hopeless, let's flip this into a positive situation and learn how to work smarter, not harder.
Here's how to look for a job when it feels like nobody is hiring.
BREAKING DOWN MISCONCEPTIONS
One common misconception is that when things 'go bad,' companies stop hiring. However, here is some food for thought. Across the world, companies are actively recruiting, even amid economic shifts and global dilemmas.
TRUTH: Essential businesses are hiring in droves during the COVID-19 crisis. These include:
During the COVID-19 crisis, Amazon announced its need to hire 100,000 people across the U.S. in response to an enormous increase in orders from consumers shopping online. 24-7 Intouch is hiring 400 work-from-home customer service representatives. Wal-Mart and other retailers are hiring thousands to keep up with consumer demand.
It's long been said that any job that alleviates pain is recession-proof, and the examples above show this saying to be true.
TRUTH: Temporary work opportunities increase during economic shifts.
Experts have long reported that economic pivots translate to an increase in the need for temporary employees. Temporary work is not just reserved for labor-based positions, either.
The old adage goes, 'Good things come to those who wait.' This saying is far from the truth when it comes to job-seeking in a slow economy. We like to say that 'Opportunities come to those who pounce!'
Consider this scenario: You are in a job interview two months from now. The interviewer asks you, 'What kept you busy in the last few months? How did you keep your skills sharp?' What will you say?
TIP #1: Waiting for the economy to come around will only slow you down. While other candidates are day-drinking and binging Tiger King on Netflix, consider being the one who takes the time to keep your skills sharp. By investing a few hours a day into professional development, you'll come out on top once it's time to shine in a job interview. Professional development could mean practicing your interview skills, cleaning up your resume, or learning how to become a better public speaker.
TIP #2: Waiting for job postings to come to you is not a strategy. Setting up email alerts on popular job boards is not a real job-search strategy. Take the time to deep-dive into your favorite companies and dedicate 30 minutes a day to discovering career opportunities that align with your skills.
TIP #3: Waiting for 'comfortable' job opportunities may be limiting you. Consider applying to jobs outside of your core skills, or primary industry. If there seem to be few career opportunities parallel to your ideal situation, think about opening some new doors. By researching industries outside of your comfort zone, you may start to see alternatives rise to the surface.
USE 'SLOWER' TIMES TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
"Personal development is a major time-saver. The better you become, the less time it takes you to achieve your goals." - Brian Tracy
STRATEGY #1: Invest in self-education. Investing does not have to mean a financial commitment. It can also mean investing time back into yourself. Self-education is where it's at, no matter the state of the economy. Luckily, in our age of digital innovation, there are plenty of options for practical online learning. These resources include Stanford Online, edX, and Khan Academy - just to name a few.
STRATEGY #2: Spend time practicing. For years, Mock Questions has helped millions of job seekers practice the art of job interviews. By practicing interview answers for just 30 minutes a day, you gain a significant advantage against competing candidates. This practice ensures improved interview outcomes, once the market picks up again.
STRATEGY #3: Create a list of targets. When you outline your top objectives, such as ideal employers, or optimal job titles, you can attract a career momentum. With a targeted list of 'must-haves' you'll be more focused and engaged in the job search process. Collect your thoughts and research using a spreadsheet, a Google doc, or by putting pen to paper. Make detailed notes on what you want to achieve in your career. Your list doesn't have to be fancy, but it should include notes on company values and areas of alignment.
STRATEGY #4: Clean up your online presence. It's critical to have a professional brand across every online channel where you are present. This clean up includes updating your LinkedIn profile, making your Facebook and Instagram accounts private, and removing any potentially offensive content from Twitter. Take the time to check out how your online presence appeals on all platforms so that, when the right opportunities arise, you can apply quickly with confidence.
STRATEGY #5: Fix up your resume and cover letter. Resumes are far from dead. In fact, they are still the number one tool used by hiring authorities when vetting candidates. The traditional resume and cover letter, however, have fallen by the wayside. Today, your resume and cover letter are 'sales documents' that deserve your attention.
STRATEGY #6: Join support groups. LinkedIn Groups and Facebook Groups are the most trustworthy sources for job seekers who are looking for additional support. There are groups available for nearly every topic, including the MockQuestions interview support group that you can request to join here.
KNOW WHERE THE QUALITY JOBS ARE HIDING
The quality of your job search resources will define the quality of opportunities that you find. A few of our favorite resources for job seekers include:
Local Recruiters. Connect with local recruitment agencies for an inside look at available temporary and permanent opportunities. If you aren't sure which agency to connect with, check out this list of the highest-rated recruitment firms, according to Forbes. Some recruitment agencies handle both permanent and temporary opportunities, while some take care of only one type of employment. Pick up the phone or go to the agency's website to find out who might be interested in receiving your resume.
LinkedIn Jobs. With LinkedIn, you can set up alerts for new job postings that match your preferences. You can arrange daily or weekly alerts by email and app. The LinkedIn algorithm is intuitive, and it knows the jobs you have applied to and viewed. LinkedIn then utilizes that data to send you fresh suggestions. With LinkedIn, you can create job alerts for specific companies. You can also alert recruiters that you are open to new job opportunities.
Zip Recruiter. Not all job boards are created equal. We like Zip Recruiter because candidates and employers appear to gain faster results with their unique approach. Zip Recruiter offers a one-click apply, and they also let you know where your application stands with various statuses such as 'application viewed.' This feature takes some of the mystery and frustration out of the waiting phase. Narrow down your settings to jobs posted in the last 2 weeks or so, then relax your search criteria as needed. By starting with tight parameters, you can quickly see which companies are actively recruiting.
Social Media. Studies show that over 90% of companies leverage social media for candidate attraction. It's called 'Social Media Recruitment.' Some of the worlds' most innovative companies are using TikTok, Snapchat, and other unexpected platforms to find job seekers like you! Clean up your presence on all the social platforms that an employer could find you. Use your real name, or a handle close to your real name, and make sure that your personal brand shines. Years ago, I landed a job interview after tweeting the CEO of a company I had my eye on. Give it a shot - what do you have to lose?
Government Websites. Most government entities have websites with robust job boards, offering roles from permanent, temporary, contract, and seasonal positions. Often, these jobs are harder to land; however, they can provide more job security considering many are union-based opportunities. If you aren't' sure where to start, try to Google 'your city + government jobs' and follow the yellow brick road.
Your Professional Network. It's reported that at least 70% of jobs are filled through networking. Many experts also claim that nearly 80% of jobs are never publicly advertised. They are simply filled with 'who do you know?' conversations. So, although it may be uncomfortable to network, it's one of your most viable options in a tighter job market. To get you started, we have a free email template that you can use to start the conversation. Download it here.
CREATE YOUR OWN OPPORTUNITY
Are you still coming up short? If you genuinely cannot find opportunities that fit the bill, consider being your own source of income until the right position shows up.
Upwork.Upwork connects freelancers to businesses of all sizes with a variety of needs. Looking at your core skills, take the time to think of essential services you could offer a client who is looking for a freelancer to help them out. Browse through the freelancer categories on Upwork to generate ideas. Top freelancer categories include Web & Software Development, Legal, Translation, Customer Service & Admin Support.
Toptal.Toptal is a global freelancing platform similar to Upwork; however, they take only freelancers in the categories of Development, Design, Finance, Project Management, and Product Management. Toptal has a higher tier of clients, including Airbnb, Shopify, and Zendesk, which can bring opportunities with enterprise clients.
Task Rabbit.TaskRabbit is an online and mobile marketplace that matches freelance labor with local demand. TaskRabbit helps consumers to find immediate help with everyday tasks, including cleaning, moving, delivery, and handy work.
While we cannot promise that your job search will be easy, it will be worth it. The companies that hire in an unstable market show internal stability and an ability to withstand outside factors.
If you are coming up empty-handed on dream jobs, are you willing to consider a temporary pivot to continue earning a paycheck? If so, there are endless opportunities available to you.
No matter the path you choose to take, you will still need interview skills that are on point. Mock Questions coaches are here to help you in a variety of ways, from free offerings to affordable coaching packages available here.
Learn more professional advice from any of these articles.