by Ella Manashil

Job hunting is rarely easy and Covid-19 has not made the process any easier. Searching for a job during a pandemic is something none of us have ever done before, which can easily make job hunters feel lost and overwhelmed. However, at last Wednesday’s panel, The Job Forum panelists helped to give job hunters some direction by providing a number of tips to aid in their search process.

How to Actually do Networking

As I’m sure many of you have been told, networking often plays an important role in identifying and securing jobs. However, many of the typical ways that we think about networking, like physically meeting up with former colleagues or friends, have been disrupted during this time. Therefore, it was not surprising that networking was an issue brought up frequently during our panel to help job hunters.

One job hunter asked: “I’m feeling I am connected with everyone I know already. What else do I need to do? And how do I do it now that we are only at home?”

Although it may seem scary and unfamiliar, the experts at the Job Forum, say there are still ways that job hunters can continue networking effectively during a pandemic!

First, it is still possible to reach out to people in your network such as friends, former coworkers, and supervisors virtually. Although different from in person meetings, connecting virtually can still aid your job search.  Be specific about your job search and ask for contacts.

One Job Forum panel member advised or said: “Be active on social media and in your industry’s specialized groups. Share relevant articles, build a personal brand and begin to make a name for yourself as an expert in your target field.

The Job Forum highly recommends utilizing professional networking tools like LinkedIn, as well as social networking and meetup sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Meetup. These sites allow you to virtually connect with people you know and talk to others about your areas of interest.

How to use Social Media

When using social media sites you should be sure to do the following for improved networking:

Join groups for people with your interests, profession, location, school alumni, etc. For example, if you are looking for a position in the tech industry, it would be helpful to join the “Software and Technology Professionals” group on LinkedIn. The panelists at The Job Forum highly recommend not only joining, but also being active in these groups to increase your ability to make connections and get noticed. If you are active you are commenting on or forwarding what others post.

Identify the top organizations for which you’d like to work, then use social media to follow them on these networking sites, and regularly check their websites. Following these organizations will not only keep you informed about their job opportunities, but also allow you to see if there are people in your network who are affiliated with those institutions. This can also help you stay up to date with current discussions happening in your professional communities, which is especially helpful for job hunters who have a gap in their resume.

Attend virtual events put on by these sites like Meetup groups to meet new people and expand your network. Job Forum events are also a great place to do networking!

What can be helpful for your resume

Another aspect of job hunting that many panel attendees identified as difficult is creating an enticing resume. Many people are competing for jobs during this time, which makes it even more important to have an effective resume that effectively communicates your value. Below are some resume tips brought forward by the Job Forum panelists:

Utilize structured anecdotes to make your resume more inviting.

Use action-oriented statements.

Be succinct. Long and wordy explanations can distract the reader and make your resume look cluttered.

Highlight and expand further on your most recent and relevant positions.

Add something unique and eye catching to your resume to make yourself stand out. Maybe you do interesting hobbies or volunteer work in your spare time. You can include those in your resume!

Discuss your willingness to work remotely and note any experience you might have with virtual work. For example, maybe you have prior experience working with Zoom. Including this information or mentioning something about your results and productivity will help identify you as someone who can still work effectively during such an unusual time.

These suggestions are not an exhaustive list. If you’d like to discuss other job-hunting questions and issues, and your own job search challenges, please consider attending the next virtual Job Forum event! The Job Forum panelists provide customized advice to address your specific job search needs and questions. If you’d like to hear about others’ experiences with job searching during this time and receive some personalized suggestions, we’d love to meet you at a Wed evening or Thursday evening free job Forum event soon.

The Job Forum is sponsored by the SF Chamber of Commerce and LinkedIn.

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