Finding a job can often be frustrating and challenging—and it only gets harder during a pandemic. There’s record unemployment right now, which makes the talent pool extra large right now—and finding a job extra daunting.
But we’re breaking down some best practices and job hunting tips that will make searching for job opportunities—whether that’s during a pandemic or not—all the more easy.
How To Job Hunt Better
1. Go Beyond Surface-Level Research
Most people when they first start looking for jobs will check out Glassdoor and read employee reviews of a company. That’s fine, but it’s really only scratching at the surface.
It’s important to take that research further. When searching for job opportunities, check out sites like CrunchBase or G2.
Crunchbase shows the funding history of companies and startups. Searching for a company you’re interested in on this site can help you see if the company has been growing, how much they’ve raised, and hint at their stability. But it doesn’t show the whole story. Just because a company has raised a lot of money doesn’t mean they have a sustainable or profitable business.
Check out a site like G2, which has reviews of products and services from customers. If they love the product or the company, that says a lot more about stability than an employee raving about the free lunches.
Customer loyalty and a solid economic model make for a sustainable business. So researching about what employees say and how much money the company has raised only says so much. At the end of the day, you want to find a position that’s sustainable, so a sustainable business model is key.
You should also look at the track records on the leaders. Have they done this before? Is this their first time running a business? Are you joining a veteran company? Or are you helping a first-time founder build something from the ground up? There might not be a right answer, but it’s always helpful to know what you’re getting into.
2. Ask The Right Questions
This is an important part of the interviewing process, but it’s also tied into the job hunting process. When you’re connected with an employer, it’s important to go deeper.
Even questions like, “Can you tell me more about your company culture?” or “What are some of your values?” only scratch the surface.
Companies can talk all day long about their values, but that doesn’t mean they live them out. Ask questions that will help show these values in action. For example, if a company says they value flexibility, ask for an example of that—can employees work remotely? What about flex hours?
Good company culture and values don’t come from Ping-Pong tables and free lunches. They should be written down, on paper or on the walls, and you should try to see if the company really lives out these values.
Another great question to ask is about diversity. Yes, diversity means race, gender, sexuality, etc. Those are super important, and we also suggest that candidates include “diversity of thought” in this category. Does the team embrace diverse skill sets and thought processes? Do you bring a different perspective to the team?
Joining a team where everyone thinks the same can lead to frustration and a plateau in your own personal and professional growth. Look for a team that embraces diversity from a perspective of culture and thought.
3. Show Your own Work that Applies to that Position
If you want to stand out from the crowd, try to show what you can really do. Ask yourself, if I worked in this position at this very moment, what would I do?
Find out what interesting projects the company is working on and try your own hand at it.
Let’s say you’re applying for a content marketing role. You know you’ll have to write blogs and newsletters, so write one. Not only will this contribute to your writing samples, but it shows the company what you can do, how you can succeed in that role, who you are, and that you’re willing to put in the work.
If you’re a software engineer, show your code for a project you’ve been working on. Even if it’s a work in progress, talk them through what you have planned for it and how you want to improve it. That shows employers that you’re always thinking about improving. Because yes, they care about what you’ve done. But they really care about what you can do in the future.
4. Reach out for advice
Networking during a quarantine can be tricky. How do you connect with people when you’re stuck at home?
On the bright side, people are really open to connecting right now, to chatting with others. It’s a slow time, so take advantage of that.
But don’t reach out to someone on LinkedIn and say, “I’m looking for a job at your company.” Instead, take a softer approach and ask people for advice. Reach out to people who you admire, or to someone at a company where you want to work. Instead of asking for a job there, here are some other questions you should ask:
- How did you get to where you are?
- What advice do you have for a young professional in this field?
- I would love to learn more about you. Can you tell me more of your story and walk me through your journey?
Questions like these start building relationships and can lead to some really tangible actions for your own professional growth.
5. Have Patience
Things are crazy right now. It’s unlike anything we’ve seen before, and it’s important to recognize that and to understand things aren’t going to change overnight. It’ll be a long process to get back to “normal,” and no one really knows what that will even look like.
We always encourage you to follow your dreams and not sit around, waiting for it to happen. But it’s important to recognize that pursuing your dream job can take time. Make sure you’re doing the right research and asking tough questions. It’s a process, and things are taking especially longer right now. But whenever you get that next opportunity, make sure it’s somewhere you want to be for a long time.
Looking for job opportunities in the Midwest or remotely? Join our talent community to start getting connected with purpose-driven startups.