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Finding a Job: Be Smarter and Work Harder

It wasn’t that long ago that workers in Hawaii were in hot demand. Prior to the pandemic, Hawaii boasted one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates. Businesses struggled to find qualified candidates, and prospective employees held an abundance of opportunity.

Those circumstances changed in a matter of a month. In April of this year, when fallout from COVID-19 began to reach its peak, Hawaii’s unemployment rate ballooned to a whopping 22.3%. The impact of those job losses had many residents dusting off their resumes.

“You have to be smarter and work harder as there are fewer jobs and more competition,” says Judy Bishop, Owner and President of Bishop & Company, a BBB accredited staffing agency based in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Bishop recommends putting a process in place and then following. Before you start applying for positions, ask yourself these four questions:

  • What type of job do you want?
  • What type of work are you willing to take?
  • What is the salary requirement?
  • What salary are you willing to accept?

It’s also imperative job seekers identify the types of positions they want as well as the positions they are  willing to accept. Those determinations help you narrow the job search and eliminate time wasted applying for positions you would not actually go forward with.

Next, figure out who is hiring and where. Think about what types of businesses are busy during COVID-19. Industries like tourism, for example, aren’t recruiting right now. Finding companies that are hiring could be as easy as connecting with a staffing agency or visiting an organization’s website to search for job openings.

Other online resources include sites like Indeed, Glassdoor, Zip Recruiter, and more. Using your social network platforms – LinkedIn, in particular – is also a great way to leverage personal and professional contacts to find trustworthy employment opportunities.

Be sure to prepare your elevator pitch, too. You’re selling yourself when you apply for a job and what you say matters. The tone needs to include background on who you are, what job you want, and why you would be a good fit for that position. Once you have it written, practice saying it. A lot. You need to be comfortable and avoid coming across as if you’re trying to remember something rehearsed. Your pitch should feel organic.

Now it is time to review your resume. If you search online resume format, you will find pages of examples. Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. So, what should be included on your resume and in what order? Here are some basics:

  • Start with your objective. Keep it two lines or less, except if you are over the age of 40 , then you can use additional lines.
  • Next, list your education.
  • Categorize and display your employment history in chronological order.

Keep your resume to one page, if possible, and make sure the information listed is accurate. Proofread what you include and then ask another person to double-check as well.

A cover letter is also vital. The message should indicate why you want the job and why you want to work with that company. Tailor the cover letter for each company you send a resume. Think outside the box for ideas, maybe even create an introductory video. Use your elevator pitch to showcase your confidence and ability to present. Prepare what you will say if you do receive a phone call for an interview. During COVID19, understand you will need to do an online meeting.

Before applying, review your social media accounts as employers may review your posting history. If there is something on your account you wouldn’t want your parents to see, you certainly don’t want a prospective employer to view it. Finding a job during this difficult time is not easy. Find a way to make yourself stand out from the crowd. Now is the time to decide what you want to do and put a process in place to make it happen.

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Written by Roseann Freitas

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