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Job candidates need to find new ways to get a foot in the door

After listening for years to people bemoan the changes in the job search process compared with a few decades ago, along comes the Covid brouhaha and the job search process has been turned inside out once again.

The Harvard Business Review reported on research from the 1970s which found that most jobs, at the time, were secured through “personal contacts.” It’s hard to establish “personal contacts” with social distancing and Zoom, but personal contact (note no “s”) is still an important element in the equation.

The hard part is establishing personal contact in a world of ATS, Zoom and working remotely. In 2020, how do you get your foot in the door?

Before you start, a little introspection will help. Do you really know all your skills and talents – the things that can differentiate you from the competing talent, regardless of age? Arming yourself with this knowledge will help you target industries, companies and openings where you can shine.

Oddly enough, another step in the process is to establish a list of your personal contacts. No matter how long you’ve been looking, you still must know colleagues, former co-workers and bosses, vendors, etc. Make a list; check it twice (or three times); and set some priorities. Here’s a tip: don’t start at the top of the list. Pick someone around number 10 and contact them for a trial run to get comfortable with the experience.

After you’ve done your prep work and once you’re in the game, have a resume that will pass the automated systems, create a strong and effective LinkedIn profile, don’t read too much into job titles and get ready for the eventual remote interview. And network. Sure you can’t mix and mingle at happy hours, but you can work the phone, monitor social media and let everyone you know that you are looking.

Once the race has begun, don’t take your foot off the gas until you have a sound, definite commitment to a job, a salary and a start date. And you only have to find one.


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