The COVID-19 pandemic put a halt on businesses large and small. From hospitality groups to financial firms to tech companies, businesses paused to figure out what comes next.
What does this mean for job seekers? Can you still find a post-military job when unemployment claims are skyrocketing and furloughs are becoming commonplace?
Yes, many companies are hiring. While recruiting, interviewing and onboarding are mostly done remotely now, there are still people finding jobs, getting promoted and growing their careers.
Whether you’re getting ready to transition out of the military or you’re in the job market currently, here are 20 things you could be doing to secure your next position:
- Clarify your personal brand. Who are you, what do you want, and what can you offer? You need to be an expert on you, so spend the time to understand your brand and goals.
- Consider your values. What is your moral compass, and what are your non-negotiables? What do YOU stand for, and how will you move through your values to create value for others? Write down your values.
- Decide what will be your career path. Are you looking for a job or a career? What path have you laid out, starting with the first position and including any education you may need to arrive at your desired career? Map this out.
- Understand your ideal employer. Who are they, what do they want, and what value do they seek? Write down what you believe this employer needs from ideal employees.
- Who do you need to know? Are you connected to people with the influence, information and ability to endorse you to your ideal employer? Make a list of people you need to connect with.
- What do you want them to know about you/feel about you? Make lists of your goals regarding perception: What should your networking contacts know about you to best empower them to serve you?
- What do you need from them -- information, introductions, referrals? Each person in your network can provide a different value to you. Write down, next to their name, how you believe they can serve you.
- How can you help them? Are you returning value, gratitude and referrals? Offer to write a recommendation on their LinkedIn profile, send a personalized thank you note, or introduce them to someone of value to them.
- Connect on LinkedIn with people you’ve identified you need to know. Personalize the connection request and indicate how or why you believe a connection would be mutually beneficial.
- Initiate the conversation on LinkedIn. Personalize the message and perhaps suggest a phone call to learn more about their business.
- Review your LinkedIn contacts. Remove those who might reflect negatively on you because of their posts, comments or reputation.
- Solicit endorsements and recommendations to your profile. Send a personalized note to the contact you’re requesting the recommendation from. Offer specific keywords and phrases you’d like them to use, to strengthen your positioning and reputation.
Resume and Cover Letter
- Update your resume. Reflect any new certifications, knowledge or credentials.
- Check your keywords. Ensure specific, targeted keywords are used throughout your resume and cover letter, and are consistently promoted on your social media as well.
- Customize your resume to every open position you apply to. It takes time, and it’s worth it. Show the employer specifically how you are the candidate they seek.
- Look at the formatting of your resume. Is it clean and professional or overly designed? Can a reader find the information they need quickly or is it packed with irrelevant information that you could delete to streamline it?
- Learn new skills by taking online courses to expand your certifications and credentials. Consider LinkedIn Learning courses that support your skills and experience and give you insight about the civilian sector.
- Assess the goals you initially set when you started your transition. Do you still want a management position or has that changed? Are new opportunities -- given the job market -- interesting to you? Write those down.
- Deploy a feedback survey to evaluate your current reputation. With your growth goals in mind, how much work do you have to do on your reputation to achieve your ideal career?
- Find a mentor. Now might be an ideal time to find someone who can coach you, guide you and offer support as you search for your next career move.
The job market certainly looks different in May 2020 than it did in February. But that can also reveal tremendous opportunities for job seekers willing to do the work and get creative in how they position themselves to employers!
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