Stacey Ross Cohen, CEO/President of Co-Communications
Since the onset of the pandemic, more than 50 million job claims have been filed. If you are one of the many seeking a new job, you need to develop a compelling narrative and competitive advantage. To succeed, it is not enough to merely update your resume – – you need to put your best self out there. Here are six steps to stand-out:
1) Be the Best Version of you. The job search is not about me, me, me — — it’s about your value to others. What’s important to the hiring company? How can you solve their needs better than your competition? To make strides in this challenging job market, it’s particularly important to showcase your good fit values and why they should choose YOU. Highlight your experience and problem solving capabilities which will make you excel in the role.. Also, showcase your value with a “wow” portfolio of testimonials, achievements, success stories, and a professional profile with headshot.
2) Establish yourself as an expert in your field to give you a competitive edge. Those hiring are apt to question what you have been doing in between jobs during the pandemic. It’s a great time to get a certification (e.g., social media, Google Analytics) to build your skills and knowledge in your field. You may also want to develop content that reinforces your thought leadership. Whether you develop articles, blog posts, e-books, white papers or videos, make certain the topics are relevant to your audience.
3) Grow Your Network. It’s been said that “Your network is your net worth” Networking is one of the most important investments you can make to uncover job opportunities during the pandemic. Engage and build relationships with mentors, influencers, and industry leaders. No need to focus on how many people you meet networking — focus on meeting the right people. Reinforce existing relationship and connect with past meaningful ones. Be social — — attend virtual networking events and be sure to connect with your new contact promptly via LinkedIn, etc. Seek out professional groups within your industry on LinkedIn and invest the time in engaging with the community and building authentic relationships.
4) Strive for top of mind awareness during the interview process. Besides sending the traditional thank you note (within an hour), connect with the recruiter via LinkedIn. Since, hiring decisions are lagging during this unprecedented time, find creative ways to stay in touch. If you go dark, the hiring manager may think you have lost interest. Make sure that you actively engage even if it’s something as small as liking a LinkedIn post. You can also share any updates to your skill set (e.g., certification). And of course, communicating with empathy and clarity is of upmost importance during the pandemic.
5) Ace your virtual interview. Make sure that you are camera ready. Consider your appearance, lighting and background. While a Zoom virtual background of a tropical island is fun to share with your friends during a happy hour, a business-like background (e.g., bookshelves) is more fitting for this interview format. Instead of considering every question the interviewer may ask you, prepare 4-5 talking points (with supporting evidence) that you want to get across that will demonstrate your good fit value.
6) Do your homework. It’s important to be in the know. Make sure you set up Google alerts for the companies of interest which will allow you to get real-time information. You can then leverage some of these “news items” during the interview. The hiring manger will appreciate that you have not only done your research but that you are keeping current on how they are faring during the pandemic. You can also share your good fit values related to the challenges the company may be currently facing.
During this uncertain time, try to remember that this is a temporary state and the job market will rebound. With some grit, patience and a positive outlook, securing a new job can soon be within your reach.
Stacey Ross Cohen is CEO/President of Co-Communications (www.cocommunications.com), a full-service marketing communications agency, with offices in New York and Connecticut. She can be reached at email@example.com She is also a personal branding authority and recently made her debut on the TED stage.
About the Author: Stacey is an award-winning communications professional who earned her marketing stripes on Madison Avenue and at major television networks before launching Co-Communications, an integrated marketing communications firm with offices in New York and Connecticut. Co-Communications serves clients in education, healthcare, real estate, professional services, technology, and the nonprofit realm. Services include branding, website development, inbound marketing, PR and social media. Stacey excels at taking brands to market — leveraging each client’s unique voice to make an indelible impact on social media, in board rooms, and everywhere in between. She has garnered the Forbes Enterprise and PRSA Practitioner of the Year awards for her work in the communications field.
Stacey is a sought-after speaker and recently made her debut on the TED stage. She is a blogger at the Huffington Post and Thrive Global and has been featured in Entrepreneur, Forbes, Crain’s, and a suite of other national media. Stacey holds a B.S. from Syracuse University, MBA from Fordham University and recently completed a certificate program in Media, Technology and Entertainment at NYU Leonard Stern School of Business.