So… Now What? Steps Towards Conducting an Effective Virtual Job Search
By: Brian Hallahan
Conducing a job search is never easy…so keep in mind that you are not at an unfair advantage because you have to conduct your search virtually. Also, this is the current situation that everyone is in. Regardless of whether your job search is in-person or virtual, you have to put in the work, be disciplined and consistent, and strategic in your approach.
Consider the advantages of a virtual job search – by conducting your job search from home, you are not spending your time driving to networking events and can balance your home obligations with your job search. You also have the flexibility of conducting some of your job search activities in the early morning or late at night.
As with any job search, you first need to start with an honest assessment of your skills and job experience along with where you want to go with your career. If you haven’t already, consider using a career coach as these professionals can quickly assimilate your background and offer a point of view that approximates a hiring manager. They can give practical advice on how to position and market yourself for the role you want. A career coach can also provide informed guidance on whether you should use this time to take online courses or certifications that will enhance your skill set or marketability. Coaches can also keep you on track and accountable in your job search.
Look into professional organizations – platforms like these are conducting their meetings and even social events via video and social media so you can network, position yourself, and market yourself in these forums.
Now is also the time to leverage LinkedIn. Make sure your profile is up to date and professional. Free and low cost resources are available to guide you, and you can look at profiles of others who have similar backgrounds or hold the position you are seeking to gain insights into what makes an effective profile.
Use LinkedIn also to establish yourself by writing posts that showcase your subject matter expertise and point of view. Likewise, respond to the posts of others in your field to further raise your profile. While you are on LinkedIn researching profiles and reading posts, do not be afraid to reach out and ask for informational interviews – you never know where outreach like this can take you.
Informational interviews are opportunities to learn about a company, someone’s background, how they landed their job, and to learn the particulars of a role. You are no longer constrained by those in your immediate area, so the request to meet someone at a distance will likely not seem odd. Be prepared by researching the company and the individual you plan to meet with. Be able to concisely and cogently explain why you are requesting the informational interview and why you feel it will be helpful in your job search. By being prepared, professional, and rehearsed, you can make a positive impression that may lead that person to making a referral within their trusted circle of acquaintances or to their company.
This is also a time to research and apply for positions. Some companies are hiring, and jobs are available. Continue to research them, write a targeted cover letter, and apply. Likewise, you can research targeted companies within your field even if they are not currently hiring. Use this time to research and reach out. Establish a rapport that can be leveraged for when the company starts hiring again.
Finally, just as with any job search under any circumstances, use this time to connect with family, friends, and former co-workers as your personal network may hold the key to finding your next job.
In the end, the hard work of your job search will pay off. Best of luck to you. What other tips do you have for conducting a successful virtual job search? Feel free to comment below!