Getting on the right career track and executing a successful job search is challenging for everyone. A single job posting can easily receive hundreds of applicants, and — if you make it through automated talent management systems — employers and recruiters add a whole other layer of scrutiny. 

On top of that, the COVID-19 outbreak caused even more challenges in a job market that was already hypercompetitive. Many industries were forced to downsize or shut down completely, which resulted in soaring unemployment rates due to layoffs. In fact, Glassdoor has reported that job opportunities have become quite limited since the pandemic, noting that in just one month, available job openings dropped by 20.5 percent.

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Your AI/ML Career is Just Around The Corner!

For young professionals just getting started in their careers, this can all be very discouraging, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t find a great job that can help you kickstart a great career. It just means that you’re going to have to approach your job search a little differently and perhaps a bit more aggressively. Whether you just graduated from college, you’re in the final stretch, or you’re embarking on your new career for the first time ever, the following job search tips can help.

Take Advantage of Your College’s Career Launch Services

If you’re a recent college graduate or still attending college, you’ll want to take advantage of the career launch services they offer. Most schools provide these programs for students, which can help them find exclusive job and internship opportunities. As Glassdoor points out, these services can help give students an edge on terrific opportunities, and in this questionable job market, it’s more important than ever to see how your school can help in your job search. In addition to connecting you to opportunities that would be a good match for you, they may also help you with your resume and cover letter, as well as provide you with resources for virtual career services. After all, because of COVID-19, things like job fairs, career panels, and networking events are not typically occurring like they used to. However, many of these events are starting to happen online, and the biggest challenge can be finding them. Your school’s career services department can help you find and register for these virtual events, which can be a great way to network, meet industry professionals, and get your foot in the door.

Be Open to Other Opportunities

Consider casting a much wider net in your job search and accepting a role that may not quite align with your current career aspirations. Ideally, landing an entry-level job that’s relevant to what you studied is the ultimate goal, but because times are tough, consider the benefits of taking what you can get. Keep in mind that these tough times are only temporary, and eventually, they will improve. In the meantime, any job ━ even if it’s not your dream job ━ will give you the opportunity to earn money, add new skills and job experience to your resume, and network with other professionals.

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Here's How to Land a Top Software Developer Job

Get Practice with Mock Interviews, Which May Look a Bit Different Now

You may have experience with mock interviews already, but in a pandemic, interviews look a bit different. In fact, the majority of job interviews are being conducted virtually, and it’s important to practice your interview skills in this format in case an employer or recruiter is interested in you. 

Virtual interviews have some advantages, but there are other challenges you may face. For example, a weak internet connection, last-minute troubleshooting with the software you’ll be using, and other problems can leave you feeling frazzled and unprepared. Practice with others beforehand so that you’ll be ready to take on the real thing in your job search.

Consider a Remote Position

When mandatory lockdowns initially went into effect, most office workers were forced to work from home. As offices began to open back up, many companies gave their employees the option and flexibility to work remotely when they wanted, while others have decided to just work remotely indefinitely. For some people, working at home is less than ideal. But with so many companies offering remote positions now, considering a work-from-home job can give you far more options. Additionally, because some jobs are now fully remote and won’t require any in-person meetings, you aren’t just tied down to working for a local business — you can expand your job search nationwide, or even worldwide.

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Focused Training Can Help 

NPR highlights just how important it is, now more than ever, to set yourself apart from others and stand out amongst the competition. There are several ways you can do this, but one of the best ways to prove your knowledge in a specific field is through focused training and certification. Even if you already have a college degree, adding on to your qualifications can significantly help your chances at landing a job in these tough times. 

While college degrees can certainly be valuable, they also tend to be very general. For instance, if you are looking to pursue a career in digital marketing, your college degree might be in marketing or business. While a college degree is likely required for many careers, the problem is, you are up against other job applicants that have very similar (or identical) credentials. One of the best ways to take things a step further and show employers that you have specifically focused on one particular area is by enrolling in a relevant training program and earning your certification.

Simplilearn offers flexible, online programs in everything from web design and development to online advertising and coding. You can focus on one generalized area of study, such as digital marketing, or really hone in on a specific angle that you’re passionate about, such as social media marketing. You can even stack multiple courses and certifications, which can truly give you an edge over the competition, something that is necessary now, more than ever.

Learn more about the free programs that Simplilearn offers so you can decide which direction you want to take your career!