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Job hunting during the pandemic? 5 ways to get ahead

With skyrocketing unemployment during the coronavirus pandemic, finding work is more competitive than ever. Here's how to make your job hunt easier.

Jobless numbers from the past two months have been skyrocketing; now, more than 36 million Americans have filed for initial unemployment benefits. Now that states are beginning to reopen, jobs may be coming back.

Here are five ways to make your job hunt a little bit easier.

Highlight your soft skills.

Put aside a few hours to spruce up your résumé. If your industry is heavily impacted by coronavirus closures, think about how your skills might transfer across different sectors. For example, if you’re a marketing guru, consider how to translate your client-facing skills to sales or customer service. It is especially important with soft skills like relationship and time management, prioritizing and teamwork; make sure to highlight them on your résumé.

Learn something new.

Brush up on some new professional skills. There are lots of free ways to learn online. If you have the time and ability, use tools like LinkedIn Learning, Coursera or even YouTube videos to expand your knowledge. In addition to helping you learn something new, the routine of taking a class can be a stabilizing force when your situation feels out of control.

Consider your short- and long-term career goals.

If you need to put food on the table right now, looking for a job is different than looking for the next step in your career.

If you need to earn money right away, that might mean working for a company that is deemed essential, like grocery, pharmacy and big box stores. If you can’t take on that risk, try looking for remote work. Many different industries are still hiring and many are now accepting remote workers. You can also try doing freelance work to stay afloat.

For the long term, look at where you can start targeting potential opportunities, even if those companies may not be hiring. Think about how to translate your short-term job into a long-term one by moving to a full-time position down the line.

Don’t forget to network.

If you have a little bit of time on your hands, reach out to the people you've been meaning to contact. Now, you can grab that coffee to pick someone’s brain without even leaving your couch.

Keep your head in the game and be kind to yourself.

Stay persistent and be patient. There’s a lot of uncertainty out there right now, and you are doing the best that you can. Keep up the good work.