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As a global job search coach, I get daily questions about job searching during this unpredictable time:
- Should I stop job searching due to COVID-19?
- Am I going to be bothering the hiring team by following up on an application?
- Have all companies frozen all hiring?
- How should I continue to job hunt during this time of COVID-19?
- Should I change how I job hunt at all?
Even more concerning is that active job seekers have expressed these fears and myths to me:
- COVID-19 has had me very spooked. I see jobs disappear on LinkedIn and assume the worst for my job search.
- I am hesitant to follow up on my 10 recent networking e-mails and applications.
- It seems like a weird time right now, not “business as usual.”
Actively seeking employment is hard, frustrating, humbling, and downright depressing. Even when the job market was strong, like two months ago, it was a challenge to keep up the strong push for meaningful employment. Life gets in the way with ailing family members, kids, vacations, and other distractions.
NEWSFLASH: COVID-19 is one massive distraction for everyone. That is an understatement, of course. It is wreaking havoc on so many levels.
However, I have meaningful and robust advice for continuing your job search:
- Get out of your own way.
Your head is creating myths that give you an out; it is human nature. Ask yourself these questions: Do I know this to be a fact? Do I have hard data that validates my mental block? Or, is my statement an excuse to stop or take my foot off the accelerator? Challenge yourself to consider the choices you have, such as shifting your job goal to another industry or job type. Consider contract work versus working directly for your target company. But do not stop your job search; you need to ramp it up now more than ever.
- If you are not in the game, you won’t get anything.
What if other candidates are applying for the job you want, yet you are invisible? Well, other candidates are still actively growing their careers.
- What is the downside for keeping up your efforts? None.
- Are you concerned the recipient will think worse of you for promoting your skills and introducing yourself to them during this crisis?
Quite the opposite. What if you are the only one who is continuing to share your passion for the job and following up every week?
- Recruiters are still doing their jobs, and hiring managers still need to fill their open positions.
Executive recruiters have assignments to fill jobs, and they do not get paid unless they fill them. Internal recruiters are employed and paid to fill open positions. Hiring managers are filling open positions that they critically need. Perhaps prior employees left the company, moved to another division or location, or got promoted. It does not matter why any position is open. Pursue it.
- Work actively on your job search daily.
Use your calendar to block task time. Dedicate each hour to a specific task rather than doing random job search activities. Here are some examples:
- Apply to open positions.Apply with a résumé and cover letter. Note: Submit a résumé in Microsoft Word versus a PDF so the robot can read it (robots are the automated systems that review résumés online). Cover letters are critical to telling your story, if you write them differently. Tell the reader the three top reasons you are a fit for their position.
- Source positions available. I highly recommend you source directly from company websites. Go to the company’s career or jobs webpage to find the most current inventory of their open positions. Not all opportunities are on LinkedIn, and job boards such as Indeed or Monster may have a lag to remove jobs that are no longer available. If you see a position on LinkedIn or any boards, try to find the identical one on the company website.
- Maintain a job tracker. Your job tracker is your day-to-day list of things to do and to log your future steps. Juggle 10 open jobs at one time. Be prepared for some positions to be on hold or “frozen.”
- Follow up on applications and network connections. Your job tracker, if filled in completely, will indicate when to follow up. I recommend you follow up weekly on every communication and for three weeks in a row. Do not worry about being a pest. Compete to win the job! If you networked with someone, put that in your tracker, and follow up with them within one week, even during COVID-19.
- Send thank-you emails daily.Before you go to sleep every night, ask yourself, “Who helped me today in any way for my career goals?” Be sure to thank someone who spoke to you on the phone about job searching, a recruiter who interviewed you or a friend who gave you support.
- Make time for LinkedIn.Block time to respond to messages, connect with new people who can help your career growth and resource open jobs.
Finally, my No. 1 recommendation for accelerating your job search during COVID-19 is to get help. Get unstuck, learn the latest techniques for every step of the job search, then get more active. No matter what industry, job type, level, or specialty you target, the fundamentals of getting hired have changed dramatically. Even internal job searches need the same new techniques.
This article originally appeared here on Forbes.com.