Job Search Strategy FAQs: What to Do When the Market Takes a Hard Turn

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Market turns are not kind to job seekers. Whether you recently graduated from college or decided it was time for a career change, your job search strategy just went from a well-thought-out plan to a pretty big question mark.

At this point, the thought of finding a job might feel overwhelming — or maybe even impossible. But here’s the good news: You don’t have to let a major market shift throw off your game! Instead, adjust your approach to fit the current climate. 

Of course, we understand that this task is easier said than done. So to help you get started, we’re answering some FAQs about how to assess this ‘new’ market and modify your job search strategy in times of uncertainty:

Q: How has COVID-19 changed the job market?

A: It might be easiest to answer this question with another question — is there any way the coronavirus hasn’t impacted the job market? 

Our economy is clearly struggling. According to estimates from the Economic Policy Institute, the pandemic could lead to at least 18 million lost jobs in the U.S. by summer. And many economists say we might be on our way to an economic depression.

In short, there are a lot of unknowns when it comes to the future of the job market. But here’s what we do know (and why you shouldn’t give up on finding a job):

  • Many companies are still hiring
  • New jobs are being created in response to this crisis
  • Recruiters continue to look for top talent
  • Tech industries are thriving

Q: Should I keep sending out my resume?

A: Yes! Don’t pause your job search. However, with that being said, the market shift means you may want to be a little pickier with the roles you apply for. 

While that may sound counterintuitive, the reality is not everyone’s hiring. And you don’t want to waste your time tailoring resumes and cover letters for a company that won’t get back to you for months.

Here’s how to adjust your job search strategy and prioritize applications:

  • Check job boards and social media pages to find which companies are actively hiring.
  • Pay attention to the posting date. If it’s more than a few weeks old, move it to the bottom of your to-do list.
  • Analyze job descriptions. When positions mention the possibility (or necessity) of remote work, it’s usually a good sign that the company’s already well-adjusted to the current crisis.

Q: Which companies are most reliable during a market shift?

A: Unfortunately, we don’t have a cheat sheet of names that you can reference. But with a little research, you’ll be able to narrow down the right companies and roles for you.

Start by reviewing how companies handled a previous crisis. Digging into their past can help you predict future trends. For example, you might Google, “How much revenue did _____ lose during the 2008 recession?” or “Did _____ lay off workers when its stock dropped?”

Next, use the market shift as a unique opportunity to evaluate company culture. Thanks to social media and news coverage, we get to see how businesses treat their employees during emergency situations. Do they allow a flexible work schedule to accommodate parents who now have kids at home? Do staff get to work remotely? How does management promote employee safety and well-being?

Focus on the companies that prove they’re able to continue business — and support their staff — through this global crisis.

Q: How do I continue networking?

A: The job search process is personal, and it can be hard to ask for help. But when the market takes a hard turn, your social circle may be one of your greatest networking tools.

Reach out to friends and family to let them know you’re in the process of looking for a new job. Provide specific details about the type of work you’re hoping to find. That way, it’ll be easier for them to help brainstorm opportunities or think of people they can refer you to.

Also, try to connect with others in your field via Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. Find out if there’s a professional group you can join. You might not have originally imagined using social media as part of your job search strategy, but it’s a valuable resource! Posting and commenting in an online professional setting can both increase your visibility and widen your network. 

Remember: With job fairs and career events on hold, you have to find other ways to discover new companies — and have them discover you

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Val Matta
Val Matta
Val Matta is the co-owner and leader of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution for companies, outplacement firms, job seekers and university career centers. You can connect with her and the CareerShift team on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, LinkedIn.