How to Stand Out as a Candidate When Unemployment is high


Last week 3.84MM new unemployment claims were filled. The number of claims since the corona-virus pandemic hit are in excess of 30MM total. While many people are in new and unfamiliar territory, there are things that you can do to stand out while unemployment is high.

1-Assess the market to see what companies are positioned for success – While its easy to focus on the negative, one of the most prudent strategies is trying to identify companies that are positioned to succeed when the economy reopens. There are companies that were hiring before the pandemic and have pent up demand on critical hires. There are also companies that will have increased demand on the other side of the recovery. Some examples of industries that may not be as adversely affected are – Pharma, Healthcare, Video technology and Information technology companies, Medical device manufacturing, Medical supplies, etc. 

2-Use your network - Now is the time to look back on past connections. Former colleagues, associates, business partners, recruiters, accountants, attorneys. Your strategy can be two-fold, check in on them and their family, and let them know of your situation. You can ask for referrals to any recruitment firms that they feel could add value to your search. Have your resume and an email ready post conversation, so that you can share your document and thank the person that you reached to.

3-Focus on your Personal Brand – LinkedIn has become a predominant tool in the market bridging connectivity between opportunities and candidates. Now is the time to conduct an analysis on your LinkedIn profile. Things to think of - Are you using an image that reflects your professionalism, Do you illustrate your experience adequately,  Is the content relevant, Are you reflecting that you are open to opportunities, Are there groups that you can join to collaborate and identify potential opportunities. These are all elements that should be addressed on the front end of a search. Another critical element of your personal brand is your resume.  Update your resume- Take the time to evaluate, make any changes you feel could be advantageous and appropriate. Try to keep to a traditional 1-2-page document. Focus on accomplishments and value that you can deliver.

4-Flexibility/Adaptability – Given the scope and magnitude of the external conditions, now is the time to be flexible.  When the economy reopens the permanent hiring market may not be as robust initially. It may make sense to evaluate contract/interim and fractional roles.  While companies struggle to get solid footing, the way they approach certain functions certainly will change. While it may be clear that permanent employment is your focus, Interim and/or fractional work may make more sense on the front end of the recovery. This requires a change in mind set for many as it relates to their traditional job search methodology. Consider roles that would potentially add to your portfolio of skills and do not underestimate the power of keeping active and staying busy.   Keep an open mind when evaluating different types of opportunities and do not immediately discount an opportunity based on where it stands on the time continuum.

5-Stay Positive - – Keep yourself engaged professionally as best you can. Focus on self-development, reading, CPE catch-up and any other activity that keeps you productive.  Invest in yourself – work on interview skills.  Keep a positive outlook.



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