Help! COVID Stole My Job by Krista Morris
Did COVID steal your job and livelihood? Whether you’ve been out of work 6 days or 60, I think we can all agree that the job market right now is a bit…inconsistent. Some fields are hiring on-the-spot, and some are completely shut down. The unemployment rate is just bonkers, and there are still more than 10 million folks out of work.
So, what can you do to your resume to give yourself a competitive edge? I heard from a client the other day after he had applied for a position along with 721 other applicants. Honestly, I have no words to really describe how I feel about that (and I’m a writer!).
After talking to my colleagues here at the RWCA, it sounds like we are all getting the same questions from job seekers. What we’ve done here is share our answers. If you were downsized due to COVID, laid off due to COVID, or furloughed due to COVID, keep reading to learn about our COVID best practices.
Narrow your target. There is no such thing as a “general resume,” so stop trying to make one. Your biggest obstacle is the software that scans resumes for keywords. To beat it, your keywords need to be truly dialed in. A resume for a bookkeeper is going to have different words than a resume for an engineer. Right? Stop trying to create a one-size-fits-all resume, because they simply do not work.
You need one resume per position you are pursuing. My dear, dear husband at one point had four different versions of his resume. One for every possible situation. You also need to tweak the keywords each time you send it out. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. It will pay off. I promise.
Put down Candy Crush and make some phone calls. Human-to-human contact will always win over emails or texts. I may sound old-fashioned here, but you really can’t put a price on the human connection. You may have to make more than one phone call to get to the right person, but be persistent, practice your elevator pitch, and simply reach out. Find out what the company needs and communicate how well you’d fill that gap.
Realize that the perfect job might not be out there right now, and you may have to take a position that doesn’t make your heart flutter. I know that we all want to enjoy what we’re doing and we all truly deserve that, but as I said earlier, the job market is flooded with millions of unemployed folks. The competition is fierce, and since Congress can’t seem to pass additional unemployment relief, you may be forced to take a job that is a step back. But you know what? It’s not forever. And it’s not the end of the world. You can keep looking and keep applying. My best advice is to swallow your pride (if that’s a factor) and say yes, you’d love to take the job. This *should,* at the very least, take some of the pressure off.
And finally, here at the RWCA, we’re sorry that you’ve found yourself in this position. Many of us offer free resume advice, so please feel free to reach out to one of us and ask for an evaluation. We’re here to help our local community and get folks BACK TO WORK.