Networking During COVID-19 – Career Coach MJV
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Networking During COVID-19

Today, millions of job seekers are finding out the hard way that applying online and expecting a response is a long shot. Simply filling out online applications and hoping for the best is not going to cut it in this job market.

In my experience, job hunters fall into three distinct camps, those who throw in the towel quickly deciding that there aren’t any jobs to be had so why bother, those who spend their days completing endless online job applications hoping for a miracle, and those who actively reach out to their network to explore possibilities.

Now more than ever involving your network in your job search is the way to uncover your next opportunity. And, statistics show that the more proactive a candidate is, the shorter the search.

So how do you network in the midst of a pandemic? Once your resumé and LinkedIn profile are where they need to be, it is a matter of keeping in touch with and expanding your circle of influence.

Here are some ideas gleaned from my clients about how they are approaching networking during COVID-19. One client is attending a weekly industry networking group comprised of 20 or so women who discuss whatever business issue is on their mind that week. She knew a few members when she joined a couple of months ago. Now she knows them all. She connected with several on LinkedIn and has had one-on-one conversations with many of them outside of their once a week video conferencing meetings. As a result, she feels supported and has garnered a few promising leads which she is actively pursuing.

Another recently displaced senior executive is continuing to participate in a university-based leadership program. By being transparent about his job loss, he is positioning himself for opportunities that his peers may be aware of and which aren’t currently publicized. Leadership programs like his are convening via video conferencing. They are discovering that their success is not contingent upon being in the same room. Is learning taking place? Are members connecting in meaningful ways? Yes, of course, they are just doing so differently than six months ago.

Yet a third candidate is starting a nonprofit with community partners she worked with previously and has begun identifying additional people with whom to partner. Although the city program she ran was discontinued, the need it filled remains. Rather than walk away from it, she is working with her network to uncover new ways to serve her community.

These clients reflect just a few of the many ways job hunters are actively staying in touch with their network. Who is in your network? Who should be in your network? Where do they meet? That is where you need to be, not hunched over the computer with your eyes glued to one job site after another.

Want to land that new job quickly? Take control of your search. Outplacement firms are reporting that proactive candidates are landing jobs at approximately the same rate as last year. Not bad for a year with record unemployment!

©2020 Mary Jeanne Vincent.  All rights reserved.