Millions of Americans have recently found themselves unemployed. Studies show that the longer you stay unemployed, the harder it is to find your next opportunity. So, what are job hunters to do - especially in the locked-down world of today?
Job hunters, we made this video just for you.
Job seekers don't have to watch their earnings potential go down the drain - or throw their resume onto a pile that's hundreds of applicants deep. Instead, there are steps you can take right now to make your next opportunity happen faster. Plus, if you do it right, you can make more money, enjoy more upside, and find your dream job… even in a crazy year like 2020.
"Nobody's hiring in this economy."
You might be fresh out of school or looking for a career change. If your job hunt has gone on longer than you ever dreamed, it would be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that's because the economy is terrible. The truth is, businesses are looking for good talent all the time, in every economic scenario. Ask any hiring manager how often they go looking to hire talent, and they'll tell you, "Every single day."
Because that's one of the primary jobs of any business owner or manager. They are always on the lookout for good talent.
"I'm applying for a hundred jobs a day!"
We need to have a little conversation about momentum. Momentum breeds more momentum. It's a solid bet you're not just sprucing up your LinkedIn profile and waiting for opportunities to fall into your lap.
But if you make job hunting your full time gig, that's a huge misstep, too.
Because most job hunters do that. It's not going to help you stand out from the crowd. It just lumps you in with all the other job hunters.
So, how do you stand out from the crowd of candidates? How do you make it an easy decision for a company to hire you? Here are four steps you can take right now to make you irresistible as a candidate.
Step #1: Choose a Personal Focus
What's that? Something that's not related to work at all. It could be improving your fitness, losing weight, or pursuing a hobby. It's anything that allows you to grow or focus on something that has nothing to do with economics.
Why? Two reasons.
First, growth initiates more growth. If you're focused on something that's moving, like getting into shape, losing weight, or making new relationships, all of those things open up more modes of momentum and more opportunities for you, even if they have nothing to do with work. It also primes your brain to think about the next logical step in moving forward in something.
Most people sit on the sidelines when they are in between opportunities. As a result, they get into a momentum vortex of gaining weight, losing friendships, hanging out on social media, and feeling like everything sucks. We want to reverse that trend.
Is there a personal goal you can tackle and actually control? What could you do daily to improve your life? Are there books you've been putting off reading? Is there a side hustle or project you've been hesitant to start? Choose something that will give you physical and mental momentum.
Getting to work on that will set you up for new opportunities you may not see right now. Plus, this pursuit will give you something interesting to talk about when you land an exciting interview. Instead of, "I've been applying for a hundred different jobs every day, and no one's calling," hiring managers will see that you've jumped on the opportunity to improve yourself.
They want to hear that you've got other things going on. You've got more to offer because you've been building momentum rather than sitting on the sidelines.
Even if you choose a personal project and can't see how it would be related to your personal economics or hireability, do it anyway. It will make you more interesting. It will make life more enjoyable. Plus, it will give you positive momentum in the direction of where you go next.
Step #2: Build Your Network (the right way)
That means connecting with the right people and showing up as someone curious and eager to help solve problems without asking for anything. When we make genuine connections, all sorts of opportunities open up.
We're talking about job opportunities, business opportunities, networking opportunities, and opportunities to develop new skill sets. These are possibilities that aren't even on your radar right now. It just takes one to change your trajectory completely.
Make a list of 10 well-connected people you know, admire, and respect. Write a handwritten card to each person. Share how that person has impacted or inspired you along your journey. When those people reach out to say, "Hey, thank you for the nice note - that was really kind of you," book a time with them.
When you meet with them, just ask them questions about their life. Ask them where they are, what they're trying to accomplish, and what they're struggling with. Just focus on them. Don't ask for anything - just listen. Stay firmly in "give" mode.
What happens if you do this? We predict you don't even make it to the bottom of your list before you have a whole new set of opportunities. (Does it even count as a prediction if you've seen it happen just like that over and over?) Opportunities happen fast.
Step #3: Make Content and Get It Out There
Executives or high-level team members who find themselves in-between jobs right now, this one's for you. You could start putting out content about the industry that you want to develop in. Regardless of where you are in the hiring process, if you start putting out commentary in the form of podcasts, videos, or written posts about your industry, you will begin to open up opportunities within that industry. This also works for job hunters aiming to get into a different sector.
Start a podcast around the industry where you want to find a job. Then start interviewing people who are already in that industry.
For example, if you want to get into the finance world, start interviewing the number threes and fours at companies that interest you. Just be curious about their jobs and the industry as a whole. Ask questions like:
- How do you think this industry is going to respond to the current crisis?
- How are people navigating right now?
- What have you said to your clients and customers, as they're going through this time?
Add your commentary on what's going on in your industry. When other companies make some decision, or there's news about a different organization, give your take on its impact. You could do this through a video, blog post, or solo podcast.
You'll establish yourself as an authority within that industry, and you'll meet people who know everybody in that industry. It would be nearly impossible not to stand out at your next job interview. If you can say, "Yeah, I have a podcast about the finance world, and I've interviewed this person and this person and this person, This person said this about the industry. This is how this company is navigating the crisis right now."
You'll be the most informed applicant they've ever interviewed. That keeps you ahead of everybody else going for the same jobs. You'll set yourself up as the authority on that topic. People will start soliciting you for advice. This plan will make you more attractive, hireable, and make it easy to command a higher wage when someone offers you the next job.
Step #4: If You Don't WANT to Go Back to Work
What if you want to take on clients or start your own business rather than going back to the way things used to be? Everything that we've covered still applies. As you follow the first three steps, you'll build an audience and leverage your experience and connections - and monetize them.
The lowest hanging fruit may be to take on consulting or coaching clients if you've got extensive experience in an industry you want to stay in.
There's a business model we recommend for you. We call it the "Just One Site" method. We did a training session on this recently - you can watch it here.
Watch that video, and you'll get a clear idea of what to do. In a nutshell, this is about producing content on a specific topic you're passionate and curious about, generating organic traffic to your site, and building an audience. Then you can sell products to your audience, collect advertising revenue, or market your services.
You can start seeing results in about 60 to 90 days if you're doing it consistently, even faster if you are well established in a specific industry.
The Takeaway for Job Hunters
Whether you want to start your own business or find another opportunity with an exciting organization, the most important thing to do right now is to recognize that there are always opportunities. People are always hiring, regardless of what the news tells you. Organizations need great people. As organizations get leaner, there's a premium on quality people.
Your job is to be one of those quality people.
How do you do that? Be interesting by having your own personal pursuits. Build a network of people you can call upon. Create a following by producing content on the industry. These three steps will make you more attractive to potential employers, clients, and customers who might support you in the future.
If you're an aspiring entrepreneur, go here to learn our favorite business models for starting an entrepreneurial business.