At the start of a typical job hunter’s search, people generally tend to narrow down their target position to a few suitable one’s and from there begin applying. Although this may be the best way to find the exact job you’d prefer, more often than not this sadly isn’t the case. Sometimes we have less say than we’d like when it comes to finding open positions, and if you’re one of the millions of Americans searching for employment during the COVID-19 pandemic, you know first hand that finding a position you love has become the least of your worries. According to the New York Times, this bizarre disease sweeping our country has caused more than 36 million Americans to file for unemployment so far, and a decline in positive cases surely cannot be predicted until a cure or vaccine is found. The amount of positions that have been terminated across the country has made finding a “dream job” far more difficult. We have bills to pay and families to feed, so for the foreseeable future, most of us will remain focused solely on trying to keep income secure.
What does this mean to you? Should you stop chasing your dream job? Absolutely not. In my opinion, a career is a relentless, never ending pursuit to keep topping your own successes, and there is never a reason to stop chasing what you want. You know your capabilities, strengths and leadership qualities, and you know the exact job position you were for. Right now however, if you’re unable to find a position doing what you want, it is important to keep a wide net cast out for other sources of income / job opportunities. If you or someone you know is in this position and need to explore more ideas to expand your search, you should always keep one specific word in mind: “Network”.
Every person you cross paths with has potential to give you some kind of opportunity, so it is always more than worth your time to reach out to anyone. Professors, teachers, coaches, past employers, coworkers — these are all prime examples of people to reach out to during a job search. Building that network of people happens organically over your time in different positions, and these relationships will always have some sort of value no matter what the case.
Even if your personal connections aren’t able to help you directly, it doesn’t mean they are a useless resource. Due to the surge of unemployment looming over employers, the spike in demand for their open positions creates a much tougher and more drawn out search for talent. Your friend who’s on a sales team might not have the direct hiring power you’d hope for to get some assistance, but they have direct access to endorse and advertise you to the people who do. An internal reference from an employee who has proven their worth to a company goes just as far to a hiring manager as a perfect resume can. It also has the added benefit of giving a more personal glimpse of who you are because of who you know, and this makes your name much more distinguished and therefore memorable.
Along with using your primary connections you would usually talk to, there’s never a bad time to go through social media and see what connections you can build or even reestablish. Reach out to old friends and coworkers you haven’t spoken to in a long time, reach out to friends of friends and chat about possible help needed at their company. Anyone you can get in contact with will only become an asset to your job search, so get in touch with as many people as possible to expand your network and your range of opportunity as well.