What. A. Year.
Whether you’re a recent graduate, a first-time job seeker, a laid off professional, or on unemployment — we’re all in this together. But while COVID-19 has put many things on pause for society, it doesn’t have to mean putting a pause on your hunt for your dream job! The pandemic may bring about new obstacles, but it also brings about new opportunities. In today’s article, we’ll explore some of the ways you can keep your dream alive and pursue the perfect job in a pandemic. Let’s go!
1. Look inside yourself
Unlike actual dreams that can be erratic and nonsensical, your “dream” job takes focus.
Now’s the time to be asking yourself what you really want out of your career. It’s important to outline your goals, even in a non-specific way, so that you can find your sense of direction in life.
With so many important things being put on the sidelines by the pandemic, it’s important to take stock of what really matters to you.
What have you really loved about jobs you’ve had, or subjects you’ve studied? What actions do you enjoy, and what aspects of work and life excite you? Start thinking about your job search in terms of quality, not just quantity. Do you really just want a job, or do you want a dream job you can be proud of?
2. Look everywhere
We like to use simple job boards because they aggregate all the openings for us. But the truth is, there are dozens of major job boards out there — like Monster, Kijiji, and even ReStart! — and you don’t need to put all your eggs in one basket.
In fact, many different platforms have different perspectives about jobs. A tool like Glassdoor will help you understand the nature of an employer and the salary and benefits they offer. LinkedIn gives you insight into their organizational structure, and the backgrounds of people who work there. Twitter and Facebook let you see how a company wants to be perceived, as well as get quick notifications about potential openings.
Use every resource at your disposal to round out your research.
3. Make a list, and make it long
Job searching can quickly become disorganized if you haven’t laid out a structure for tracking your applications. Use a spreadsheet that includes details such as job description keywords, contact information, and dates/deadlines of interactions.
Don’t be discouraged. Many people apply for dozens of jobs before finding what they really want. And organization will help you manage your time and efforts so you can make the list long without getting messy!
4. Find the right fit
Company culture is your key to understanding whether an employer is the perfect match for your dream job.
It’s not enough to get the job title you want. If the day-to-day life and the ultimate work-life balance is out of sync with what you want, you’ll find the grass isn’t always so much greener.
Research a company’s values and mission. Look into what they offer in terms of professional development, and educational opportunities. Understand how they evaluate performance, and what success looks like for the employer. If you don’t share the vision, it’s time to look elsewhere.
5. Keep your resume clear
Your resume needs to speak to the type of job you want, as much as it speaks about your experience.
This means gutting things that don’t support your claim to be the best candidate for your dream job.
It also means using keywords from job postings that match what you want in order to describe your work history. It’s also always a good idea to have others proofread your material and offer feedback.
And remember, your resume can be listed on social sites and job matching platforms, such as LinkedIn. Whenever you do use these sites to showcase your experience, be sure to give it as much thoroughness in terms of editing as you would on a paper resume.
6. Use a cover letter
Just because they say it’s optional, doesn’t mean it is.
Include a cover letter whenever possible. And don’t be afraid to think outside the box — an email that you send with your resume can act as a cover letter. Keep it brief. Be professional, goal oriented, and colour the data they’re about to see when they open your resume.
7. It’s not over till it’s over
Job searching takes a lot of effort. It’s easier to drop everything when you finally get a callback or an interview — or even an offer.
But until you’ve landed your dream job, you haven’t landed anything. Don’t stop your job search at the first sign of progress. If anything, these are just signs that you’re doing something right. So keep at it.
8. Don’t stop believing
Journey said it best. Don’t stop believing.
You’re going to face rejection. You’re going to face closed doors and unreturned messages. You’re going to find a job you hate. But then, you’re going to find something better.
These struggles don’t diminish us, they improve us. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, as they say. So keep the dream alive, and one day you will see they weren’t roadblocks. They were steps on the staircase to something great.
9. Get obsessed
You need to stay on top of things in order to stay connected to the opportunities that will lead you to a dream career.
And the way to do this is to keep the flame burning all the time. You need to become obsessed with every aspect of your dream. Looking for work shouldn’t be a job where you sit down at a desk for a few hours every day and hope for the best. It should be part of everything you do.
Want to kick back and watch a movie? Why not watch something about your industry? Want to crack open a book? Why not read some non-fiction about your area of expertise? Want to chat with some people online? Why not send a message to old colleagues and other professionals in your social network?
10. Go remote
One major change in the work world since the pandemic is the rising focus on remote work opportunities.
While many companies were tentatively exploring this before, it has quickly become the new normal.
Preparing for remote work means learning how to communicate your needs to the people you live with. Discuss the times and spaces that you need for work, and how they can support you being productive — not just busy.
Set up a work space that will help you succeed, with all the tools and comforts you need. Talk to potential employers about remote work expectations and options. Create routines that help you enter and exit “work mode” in your mind.
The pandemic has taken a lot away from us. But it can’t take away our dreams. When you keep your sights aimed high at what you really want, you’ll keep finding your way there despite any crisis. People often say “keep dreaming” as a sarcastic remark. But we want to use it to encourage you in finding your dream job despite a pandemic. So keep dreaming, kid. Keep dreaming.