Job search strategist offers tips to find a new opportunity amid the pandemic

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CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Securing a job can be difficult at any time and being in the middle of a pandemic makes it that much harder.

If you’re looking for a job — or thinking about switching careers — Sarah Johnston is a great resource.
The North Carolina-based Job Search Strategist is a former corporate recruiter.

“I help job seekers better position for opportunities. I also write executive resumes, LinkedIn profiles, and just help people think through their ‘special sauce’ or their unique brand,” said Sarah Johnston. “I feel like I’ve trained my whole life for this opportunity to help job seekers right now.

The first thing Johnston says you need to do is to be strategic. 

“Really assess your brand and who you are — and the types of roles that you’re trying to position yourself for. A big mistake people make is they launch straight into the online application process and they start applying for jobs without that clarity,” said Johnston.

Johnston also said you need to be focused on exactly what you want. Don’t just randomly start applying for anything.

“Build out a target company list. It takes time and it’s not as instant gratification as applying for a job online, but it’s more worthwhile. Then you can start building relationships internally with hiring managers at that company, and getting employee referrals. Research shows that employees with an employee referral are significantly more likely to get hired than if you just apply for a job cold online,” said Johnston.

Johnston stresses you must have an online presence — specifically LinkedIn.

She says, “LinkedIn is such an amazing platform. It’s a really great way to launch a strategic job search because you can actually see where people are employed and who their employer is.”

Johnson says before you start sending out resumes, be sure to spruce up your online persona. As far as those resumes — don’t send out identical “cookie-cutter” resumes for all of the various positions you’re interested in.

“The common mistake that people make is that they create a one-size-fits-all resume. A one-size-fits-all resume speaks to no one. You want to make sure that you’re hitting the pain points of the opportunity that you’re trying to position yourself for.”

Johnston adds to start your resume from scratch. If you’re still using the same resume from college — she says to scrap it. She recommends you instead look at all the job descriptions, assess the keywords and requirements and build your various resumes based on that information.

Johnston also recommends these resources:

  • National List of Job Clubs
  • JobScan is a tool that allows you to check your resume against a job description for keyword matching. It can help you build out a targeted document.
  • A lesser-known job search tools is: Hunter searches the internet for email addresses for people at your target company list.

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