Job Searching for Seniors During the Coronavirus Economy: 5 Core Tips

The major difference between successful and unsuccessful job-hunters in any environment is not an external factor (such as a tight job market) but the way they go about their job hunt.

In part 1 we saw the big idea of how to respond to the hiring pause of the corona economy. And it is this: though the economy may be on pause, your job search does not have to be. Keep putting yourself out there.

But putting yourself out there, by itself, is not enough. You need to do it in a way that stands out. Here are five tips for standing out which will always be crucial to any job search you do—but adapted to the COVID-19 environment.

5 Tips on How to Do Stand Out in Your Job Search

1. Know yourself well

The major difference between successful and unsuccessful job-hunters in any environment is not an external factor (such as a tight job market) but the way they go about their job hunt.

The much-overlooked key to any job search is this: understanding yourself well. That allows you to pick opportunities that are most likely to be a good fit. It also gives you the ability to communicate your value more clearly and persuasively to employers.

The current lockdown creates a great opportunity for you because of the extra time it creates. You can invest some of that time in understanding your career preferences better.

There are seven things you want to know about yourself: the transferrable skills you most enjoy using, the specialized expertise you most want to harness, the working conditions you most prefer, the people environment you most thrive in, the mission and values that drive you, the geographic location you want to work in, and the salary and level of responsibility you are aiming at.

That can seem like a lot to figure out! You can meet with us for career planning, and we can help (email us at careers@tkc.edu). Another great way to understand yourself better, and the careers that match, is by taking the Youscience career assessment. We have free licenses for you. If you would like one, email us.

2. Continue networkingnow doing it digitally

70-80% of jobs are never posted online. How are they filled? Through referrals. Companies actually prefer finding people in this way. When someone refers you, the company feels more confident they can trust you and is more willing to give you an interview.

How do you break into this hidden job market? Through networking. This means: keep doing the informational interviews we are always talking about. Except now you will be asking to meet over Google Hangouts or Zoom of Facetime, rather than over coffee. 

If you are unfamiliar with informational interviews or need a brush-up, here are some resources to help:

We also have a list of more than 60 professionals who are willing to meet with King’s students for informational interviews. To get access to this list, follow the steps in our document “Access to the People List.”

You might even be able to do informational interviews with more people than ever, since everyone is stuck at home.

The opportunity to develop a vast and diverse network of NYC professionals, from Wall Street to Broadway to Rockefeller Center, is one of the great advantages of attending King’s.

3. Avoid the mass-marketing approach to job searching (aka, plastering your resume everywhere)

Far better than applying to 100 companies online (which has less than a 6% success rate) is to take a targeted approach to your job search.

This means identifying a group of perhaps 10-15 companies where you are most interested in working, and then reaching out to them through a mutual connection.

You will (usually) still have to apply online. But you are adding this step: see whom you may know that either works at the company (1st degree connection) or knows someone who works at the company (2nd degree connection). This is especially helpful if the person is a King’s alum. 

You can find these people using LinkedIn—it is very intuitive. You can also review The People List (see above on getting access) or reach out to us to see if we know of connections we can put you in touch with. 

4. It is all the more important to get your LinkedIn profile in order

As one career professional has said: “More than ever, people will be turning to your online presence to get a better understanding of who you are and what you’re about. Make sure that your virtual first impression is as pristine and professional as you’d like it to be.”

The basics of a good LinkedIn profile are: a professional headshot, a creative headline, a clear profile summary, relevant experience (in the descriptions, you can use the same bullets you have in your resume), and endorsements.

In order to summarize your experience well, learn how to create good resume bullets that use numbers and highlight accomplishments—not just responsibilities. (For a short primer, see our article “How to Make Your Resume Bullets Great.”)

But there is more that you can do. Getting your resume and LinkedIn profile in order is simply a subset of a larger skill: personal branding. You need to know what you are about (expressed in a personal branding statement) and develop your online presence. 

Here is one great idea from the same career professional I quoted above: “The key is to go a step beyond just ‘hiding’ your personal life from the world. Think, instead, about how you can impress them with your online presence. What if you did a series of interviews with senior people in your field and wrote about what you learned on LinkedIn?”

5. Video interview effectively

This means treating a video interview with the same professionalism as an in-person interview—including dressing for the part. And it means going a step beyond by making sure you are crystal clear on how to use the technology beforehand, so you aren’t caught off-guard by any adjustments you may need to make to the audio or video or other settings in the middle of the interview.

The Core Principle of Job Searching

In all of this, keep your focus on the employer’s needs—not yours. That is the heart of an effective job search. Show that you can create value for them, and that you can do it more effectively than other candidates (without ever explicitly comparing yourself, of course). 

During your time at King’s, you have already amassed outstanding career capital in the form of functional skills, leadership ability, and a broad understanding of the world that allows you to solve problems and think critically. Now, with effective job searching skills, you can help employers see this career capital you have developed, and trade it in for a great job–even in the midst of this challenging corona economy.

The Best Resources for More Information

See the articles at the end of part 1, and also: