Laid Off Due to COVID-19? Follow This 10-step Strategy to Land Your Next Role

job seeker Nov 12, 2020

Have you been laid off due to COVID-19?  Are you struggling to find your next job? Are you frustrated by the disconnected and impersonal job search process and a lack of results?

Even before COVID-19 impacted job seekers across the country, the way job seekers are encouraged to conduct their search has changed drastically, and further removed them from the opportunities they seek. The pandemic and the resulting massive number of layoffs, only serve to highlight the obstacles to opportunity now more than ever.

Overcoming a Broken Application Process

One of the biggest challenges involves the evolution of the job application process.  There are now numerous job boards and “easy apply” buttons on websites that provide a quick hit of positivity and confidence to job seekers by giving them a false sense of productivity. Since it now takes such little time to complete the job application process, professionals desperate to land their next opportunity will click to apply to as many postings as possible, hoping to play the odds and win, to be selected for at least one opportunity. However, real results are difficult to achieve when so many others are using the same strategy.

This evolution in the job application process has also impacted employers. Recruiters are buried with  an influx of job applicants for every position. Some are qualified, but many are not.  A mass number of qualified and unqualified candidates pile up for the same job opening, and the process has become disastrous and convoluted. And because there is never a shortage of technology companies to solve a problem (or create new ones), employers have adopted platform technology to help streamline their workflows. These platforms or Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) accept, track and vet candidates using software algorithms to sort and rank candidates.

Al·go·rithm /ˈalɡəˌriT͟Həm/ (noun) A procedure for solving a mathematical problem (as in finding the greatest common divisor) in a finite number of steps that frequently involves repetition of an operation.

That’s right.  There is an extremely high likelihood that software, and not an actual person, is reviewing your application and/or resume for keywords that match each job description. (You have also likely received recommendations for positions you should apply for, courtesy of a similar algorithm.) So if this process sounds impersonal, it’s because it is. And if that process makes being selected for an interview sound a lot like buying a lottery ticket (and winning the jackpot) you’re starting to see the problem clearly.

Hacking the System to Land Your Next Role

Talented job seekers are far too easily overlooked in the most ideal job market, but even more so, when there are hundreds of applicants for every role due to high levels of unemployment. Job seekers have to out maneuver the algorithms and do something different. Engineering your job search to open doors is possible. With the right tools and best practices at your disposal, you can develop a strategy that will save you time, money and frustration. 

10 Steps to Fast Track Your Job Search

Use these 10 steps to find your next opportunity experiencing less frustration, wasted time and lost income.

  1. Setup a new email account that only receives job-related notifications.
  2. If you don’t already have one, setup a LinkedIn account at
    • Social media platform for professionals
    • Goal: Networking with other professionals
  3. Develop messaging (career narrative) that you can use to market yourself to others in-person and/or online (e.g., LinkedIn).
  4. Start inviting people you have worked with in the past to your LinkedIn network.
  5. Contact past managers, colleagues and/or direct reports to solicit recommendations that align with your messaging (see step #3).
  6. Review job descriptions that most align with your interests and document keywords and experiences that consistently show up in these postings.
    • Use the job alert functionality built into job boards to email you every time a job containing these keywords appears.
    • Focus your time exclusively on reviewing these job postings and consider applying to a subset of these jobs that specifically meet your criteria.
  7. Create a list of companies where you think you’d like to work.
    • Visit each company’s website and review existing job postings.
    • If possible, set up new job alerts from the company’s job board to notify when new jobs are posted.
    • Review your existing LinkedIn connections to determine if any of them work at the companies on your list to see if they have an inside track to any posted or non-posted job opportunity.
    • Research employees on LinkedIn who work for these targeted companies and invite them to connect.
    • Hiring companies often have an internal referral program that will provide a financial incentive to employees who refer candidates.
  8. Track every job application.
    • Submission dates
    • Contacts
    • Communication dates, contacts and discussion notes
    • Phase (initial application, phone interview, in-person interview and offer)
  9. Ensure you are consistent in your messaging, and know your career narrative so well, that you don’t show hesitation when answering questions during the interview.
  10. Remember, your only aim is to receive a job offer; you can decide whether you want to accept the job.

Know Your Worth. Use Every Advantage.

Remember: you are a unique individual that can help any organization seeking professionals with your experience, knowledge, and skills. And I know these 10 simple steps will reduce your frustration, and time spent unemployed as you compete in a highly competitive job market. I have helped many highly-skilled professionals like you successfully secure their next opportunity, and I know I can help you.  If you’re tired of running in circles and know you need a competitive advantage in your job search now, click the link below and take a peek inside one of my coaching modules to discover whether career coaching might be right for you.