May 28, 2020
Grace O’Hara, Account Manager
In April, the U.S. unemployment rate reached the highest level since the Great Depression—a devastating 14.7 percent. No industry, business, nor individual is immune to the immense stress and changes that COVID-19 has rendered. As many companies have struggled to stay afloat, more than 20.5 million people have in turn found themselves out of a job.
All of us here at BLEND360 have witnessed firsthand the impact of the pandemic. While the present climate around COVID-19 remains uncertain, it has been incredible to watch our personal and professional communities support one another within this unprecedented environment. Friends, family, and professional connections alike have come together (from a safe distance) to remind us that even under the most challenging of circumstances, brighter times are ahead, and we will persevere.
In that spirit, the BLEND360 team has created a “road map” for marketers navigating the job search in the COVID-19 environment. Approach your job search like a marketing campaign and get ready to flex those marketing muscles!
As with any successful marketing campaign, the first step of your job search is to identify the essential questions before you begin to formulate a plan. Below, we walk you through a step-by-step guide to asking yourself the right questions and treating your job search like a marketing campaign, as well as our best practices to help you land your next gig.
Start Here: Asking Yourself the Right Questions
1. How has COVID-19 impacted my industry and my job?
a. Identify the changes the pandemic has created for your industry, especially the short-term and long-term impacts. Do you believe that jobs in your niche will come back sooner rather than later? Which jobs within your industry are going to be the most in-demand?
b. Identify any gaps in your own skill sets that you may require in this new environment to be successful. Perhaps you are a traditional, direct mail type of marketer. Now may be the time to complete an online course (Coursera is a good one- and you can join for free) in digital marketing, further develop your creative skills, or find new ways in which your marketing skills may be transferable into a more digital-focused role.
2. How will I find new job opportunities?
a. If your previous industry has been significantly impacted by COVID-19, are you open to looking for opportunities in growing industries?
b. There are a wealth of free resources on the internet, such as news articles, LinkedIn posts, and shared Google Docs highlighting companies that are currently hiring. From the BLEND360 perspective, we have witnessed exponential growth in areas such as healthcare (particularly telehealth and pharmaceuticals), telecom, tech, home improvement, and supply chain management. Now is the perfect time to make a career change into new and exciting fields.
c. Determine how flexible you are willing to be. Are you open to taking gigs and/or part-time roles instead of full-time opportunities?
3. How will you market yourself?
a. Create a personal value proposition. In today’s competitive marketplace, you need a clear value proposition stating the skills and unique experiences you bring to the table. It is important to emphasize transferable skills, especially if you are targeting industries outside of your prior experience.
b. LinkedIn is one of your best bets in enhancing your professional network and developing valuable connections that may lead to your next role. Use your bio to tell a creative story with your personal value proposition being the focus. Create valuable content such as a video series on a subject in which you are an expert or build your credentials as a thought leader in your field by writing insightful and informative articles.
c. Expand and utilize your network. Inform your connections that you are seeking new opportunities and expand the message throughout your network. Comment on and share LinkedIn posts by influential people in your network, or people with many followers. The larger the audience, the more likely it is that your profile will be noticed, and the right opportunity will find you.
4. Who is your target consumer?
a. Much like a marketing campaign, when seeking new job opportunities, it is essential to identify your audience: Target influencers and thought leaders in your field. Ask your network connections for introductions to people who can help you better understand your target industry. People are especially willing to connect during these difficult times, so pick up the phone and take advantage of the wealth of information within your network.
b. When you arrive at the initial connection or interview stage of a new opportunity, remember the “Helpful, Humble” approach. Avoid bee-lining towards a hard sell. Instead, articulate how your skills and expertise could serve the company interviewing you. Every hiring manager has heard “I am the best person for this role because X, Y, Z” countless times. Employ the approach of understanding their needs and identify if you are the right person to help them achieve their goals.
c. Target… and test! Try out different approaches in your job search. Get your personal value proposition out in a variety of ways, such as featuring it in your LinkedIn bio or creating a personal website. Talk to people in different industries, and adjust your strategies of contacting potential employers. Identifying approaches that are the most successful for you will greatly improve your chances of landing the right opportunity for you.
5. How do I stay focused and energized during this period?
a. This is a difficult time for all, and a job search can add to an already stressful time. Ensure that you prioritize self-care each day. Create a routine to keep you motivated and focused each morning, take breaks, phone a friend, and stay connected. Find opportunities to connect with other job seekers, such as joining online communities or professional networks that can aid in your transition.
b. Treat your job search as your new full-time job and utilize the time you have now to explore the wealth of new opportunities that lie ahead. Prepare yourself for the mental stamina your job search may require. Having a map for your job search can make all the difference in staying focused and positive on your journey ahead.
We hope this road map to navigating the job search amid COVID-19 empowers job seekers to feel confident in their approach to looking for new opportunities. Disruption to the day to day routine of life has created space for all of us to reflect on what truly matters to us, in both our personal and professional lives. Now is the time to shoot for your dream job, make a career change, or start your own company- the options are limitless. As author George Bernard Shaw wrote, “Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”