Discouraged and hopeless may come to mind when thinking about how layoffs, furloughs, and canceled internships have become the norm in response to COVID-19. Now transitioning into the summer, many of us anxiously await for post-crisis opportunities amid a market heading into an unprecedented recession. Though openings remain scarce, there are concrete actions you can take from home to prepare yourself for long-term change and stand out amongst potential candidates.
Here are five steps that can make a difference in times of fear and uncertainty.
(For more advice, check out Suitably: a D2C startup that offers staple workwear and resources for young professionals to jumpstart their careers)
Ask for recommendation letters
As you update your resume and LinkedIn, think about former colleagues and alumni associations you could reach out to write on your behalf. Now more than ever, people seek authentic voices. Stories about your trust and accountability add more value and say more about you as a person than condensed, bulleted summaries.
Increase your online visibility
Even if you lack experiences with SEO, or search engine optimization, you can add keywords and phrases that reflect qualifications sought out by the desired company and/or role. On LinkedIn, utilize the summary section to highlight the attributes that separate you from the crowd and support your personal brand image.
Even without coding skills, you can also build an online portfolio. Many software programs offer drag-and-drop options, and I started a blog on Wix before transitioning to WordPress for sharing my passion projects and past, published work.
Prepare for online interviews
Shifting to remote hiring and interviewing, though unexpected and uncomfortable for some, should not hinder you from thorough preparation. As if in-person interviews weren’t stressful enough, we now think about our camera angle and internet connection. If worried about how you look and sound on video, you can do a test run with a trusted friend or family member who would be willing to offer honest feedback.
We also joke about dressing up from the waist up, but you may be surprised about how video cameras pick up color and lighting, even if unflattering. Consider what people wear in your industry and how you wish to present yourself.
Master the cold email template
Though intimidating, sending a cold email can help get your foot in the door. Remain wary of sounding professional versus pushy, but don’t be afraid to space out a second or even third follow-up email if you don’t initially hear back.
Check out this article on Suitably for a free, cold-email template.