If you find yourself unemployed, like so many people during the COVID-19 crisis, it’s completely natural to be a bit gloomy. With many industries in the middle of a hiring freeze, it’s easy to get frustrated and discouraged, but that won’t help you land your next gig. At Coding Dojo, we specialize in training our students and helping them land great coding jobs after graduation. Whether you’ve attended our courses or not, we want to help you with some job hunting tips, too.
So, we spoke with the amazing people in our Career Services department to round up the best job hunting tips, tricks, and resources so you can get the most out of your unemployment period. By taking these steps, you’ll stay productive, get a leg up in the job search, and hopefully learn something new in the process.
Polish Your Resume
This may seem like the obvious first step, which is why we put it first on our list, but there are many ways you can update your resume to put your best foot forward during unemployment. Beyond updating your experience and skills, there are small adjustments that are crucial to rising to the top of applicants.
Likely the most important thing you can do is make your resume ATS-friendly. Applicant Tracking Systems are platforms that recruiters use to filter and, you guessed it, track all applicants that apply to a given job opening. ATS-friendly resumes are in Microsoft Word format and have specific keywords that let the system know you are a valid candidate. If you omit these keywords, the platform may automatically reject your application or move it to the bottom of the pile.
Choosing the proper keywords is crucial. Luckily, a few great resources exist to get you started. The popular jobs website Indeed.com has a great roundup of templates, keyword database, and other tricks to make your resume ATS-friendly.
Once your resume is ATS-friendly, make sure to upload it to your LinkedIn and update every part of your profile. TopResume.com has an extensive article with advice on creating winning LinkedIn profiles and other job hunting tips.
Practice Interviews Make Perfect
Job interviews can be anxiety-inducing, especially if you haven’t applied for new jobs in years. Use this time to prepare as much as you can for interviews, so when you get that call back you’ll be ready to blow them away. Review common lists of interview questions to get a solid foundation and identify any you may have trouble answering. You can work toward discovering new and positive ways to answer questions that have stumped you in the past.
It’s also helpful to review more niche questions that are asked in certain industries, by specific companies, or for a given role that you have your eye on.
Luckily, Glassdoor.com has an entire database to help you practice questions and search through industries or companies.
Networking Makes the World Go ‘Round
As the adage goes, “success is 90% preparation, 10% perspiration.” Use this downtime to network with other professionals in your industry or the one you’d like to enter. Now that your resume and LinkedIn are polished, use them to your advantage! Don’t go blasting your resume out to anyone with a pulse though. Do some due diligence and find people in a company that would be your manager, and those who would be your peers and colleagues. Then create a master list of questions or comments that will spark a discussion with the people you reach out to. These questions can be tailored for each specific person or company, but you’ll have a solid bank to draw from beyond the standard “I saw your profile and would like to connect” introduction.
Even if you don’t hit paydirt and get hired after your first connection, don’t get discouraged. Networking takes time and you never know where it will lead, but it’s always in the right direction.
Another great way to network is to attend companies’ online speaking engagements. Often companies will host webinars or other online events to discuss interesting or important topics within their industry. These are great events to meet your future manager or at very least, discuss something you love with like-minded people.
Consider Upskilling or Retraining
These first three tips are great for people who know what they want to do after the pandemic. But, what if you’re thinking about a career change? For starters, you’re not alone. There are millions of workers out there whose jobs are going to disappear in the coming years due to technological change and other external pressure.
If you’re thinking of a career change, spend your time during unemployment by charting the next steps in your career path. Dice.com offers a comprehensive Tech Jobs Report that highlights the fastest growing skills sets and jobs within the tech sector. This will help you compare your current skills to what may be needed for emerging jobs or industries.
You can also inquire with your local unemployment office to see if there are any federal or state incentives to help you retrain. Programs like the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) exist to cover at least some of the costs of gaining new skills so you can get a better career. Each state will have different requirements, benefits, and eligible training providers, so speak with a representative at your unemployment office to see what is available in your area.
If you are interested in reskilling to find a better career, Coding Dojo bootcamp offers accelerated learning programs that can transform your life. We offer both part-time and full-time online courses, as well as onsite (once safe to do so) programs. We also offer financing options, scholarships, and other tuition assistance programs to help you with financial barriers.
If you want to invest in yourself and your future, there is no better time than the present! If you’re interested, use this link to schedule a 15-min exploratory session with one of our Admissions representatives today.