You might be one of the millions of professionals that lost their jobs in 2020. There has been a lot of business disruption as companies reacted and adapted to the new landscape. Overall, there have been more losses than gains when it comes to jobs. Yet despite all the challenges, millions of Americans did get hired in 2020. According to the New York Times, the labor market bounced back more quickly than most forecasters expected. The unemployment rate dropped to 7.9 percent in September from 14.7 percent in April.

Either if you have been on the job market just recently or after months, I want to share some guidelines to help you strategize your job search in 2021.  

  1. Get Clear About What You Want to Do Next.

Spend quality time asking yourself important questions regarding what you want to do next. You are the only one who can do this work, and it is definitively time well spent. If you are pursuing career continuation, evaluate the areas of satisfaction and dissatisfaction in your previous job. What do you want more of or less of? Identify your values and what matters to you in order to find a great match with potential employers. Companies also have personalities, and you want to land in a place that aligns with you. Create a list of target industries and jobs that are a great fit for you to design a job search strategy around your top choices.

2. Align Your Mind to Believe It Is Possible for You. 

Pessimism and lack of confidence are barriers to your success. Once you know what you want, set up your mindset to believe that you are deserving of it. Losing your job could make you feel vulnerable and insecure. You have lost your job, but not your credentials, experience, skills, and potential. Believe in yourself! If you are aspiring to a great job, it is important you align your beliefs and thoughts to your best version so you can attract what you want. Practice affirmations that will help you to elevate your thinking to what is possible for you.

3. Understand the New Landscape. 

The business landscape has shifted significantly since the beginning of the pandemic. Some entire industries are at the edge of collapse, while others are thriving. Conducting market research will help you become informed about the state of the business. There are great websites from consulting firms such as Deloitte that specialize in researching industry trends. You will get a competitive advantage strategizing your search to become proactive and savvy to target industries and companies that are positioning well, evolving, and innovating.

4. Think Outside of the Box. 

Being in a job transition requires creativity and the ability to reinvent yourself. If you are experiencing tunnel vision, you might not be able to tap into opportunities outside of your traditional path. You can get fresh ideas by reading about trends, talking to other job seekers that have landed, consulting with business leaders and experts in informational sessions, and staying abreast with your profession. 

5. Ask for Help.

If you are discouraged or disappointed, you might not see solutions to identify your next best opportunity. Switch from pessimism and discouragement to the energy of possibilities. If you cannot generate this positive energy by yourself, you might be better off asking for help. Make sure you surround yourself with a personal support system. Reach out to experts in the world of work, such as career coaches and career transition professionals for ideas and tips. Practice self-care and stay committed to a routine to keep you balanced and mentally centered.

6. Pivot to High-Growth Industries.  

As you conduct your business research, you will find out industries and sectors are doing very well while others are not. If the latter is the case for you, career continuation in the same industry might not be sustainable anymore. Making a career change requires that you reformulate your personal brand, and prepare a good rationale in the form of a compelling career story as to why you are changing. This includes understanding your strengths, and transferrable skills, as well as a plan to penetrate a new industry.

7. Strategize Your Applications.

Be selective about what jobs you apply for. Applying to jobs is time-consuming. While you want to ‘plant as many seeds as possible’ it is important you are strategic about your application process. Even when it can feel you are being productive when you complete dozens of applications in a week, if half or more of those jobs are not a good fit, you are wasting your time. If you have done your homework in advance, identifying your target industry, target companies, and target jobs, you can become more selective and strategic about your job search.

8. Customize Your Resume and Cover Letter.

According to Leigh Gillatt, the ‘one’s size fits all approach to resumes’ does not work because job requirement descriptions vary from company to company. Resumes and cover letters require customization to fit the description and company culture. There are tools such as job scan that help you modify your resume and cover letter wording to match the key terms and phrases that the automatic talent system algorithms are looking for.  Integrate your research to add content that matches the company’s personality to your application.

9. Network Your Applications. 

Referrals continue being the most effective way to land interviews and job offers. Don’t stop once you applied online for a position. Networking your applications means reaching out and connecting with colleagues and referrals that are working at the company of interest. Informational sessions are a great way to connect to learn more about the job and organization. Make sure you prepare in advance, ask for advice and referrals, and thank the person for their time and information. LinkedIn is a perfect platform for networking to take your applications to the next level.

10. Embrace Lifelong Learning.  

According to the World Economic Forum, 35% of job skills considered essential today, will change in the next five years. The only way to be relevant in the new normal post-Covid world of work is to commit to lifelong learning Consider the skills that are in high demand, such as data literacy, digital tools, social media, emotional intelligence, and critical thinking skills. Agility and innovation are also important as many organizations are reinventing themselves and need professionals to help them innovate. Many popular resources offer relevant, free, or affordable coursework, such as LinkedIn Learning, Udemy, Coursera, Skillsshare, edX, and Simplilearn. 

11. Go the Extra Mile.

Go above and beyond if you want to stand out in a crowded job market. Become an educated job seeker by doing extensive research on the companies you are considering. Customize your resume and interview preparation. Write personalized cover and follow-up letters.

Create a professional personal brand on social media. Treat your LinkedIn profile as a landing page, and pour your expertise maintaining a high level of engagement to increase visibility and credibility. 

12. Stay Focused.  

It is difficult to predict how long it will take you to find a job. Job seeking is a process filled with many steps. Staying focused, engaged, and committed to your weekly goals will allow you to move the needle forward. To succeed, you need emotional resilience and the ability to bounce back from setbacks, such as receiving a rejection letter or not being offered the job you wanted after a long interview process. Stay focused. There will be even better opportunities for you. Do not give up!

Even if you have been in the job market for few months, or you just lost your job, having a plan and the mindset to succeed are important elements to initiate the year with optimism and faith. You will land an amazing job. Believe it!

Cheers to your job search Success in 2021. May it be a better year, filled with new vocational projects that will great fulfillment and expansive energy to your career and life.

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