Landing a Job: A “How-To Guide” for 2020

The job search world has changed dramatically in 2020 – swinging from a market favoring job seekers, to a pandemic-induced free for all. With the number of job searchers at historic levels and times of uncertainty for employers, it’s more important than ever to have a solid plan for how to land a job.

One of the reasons it’s taking so long to find a job has very little to do with your skills, expertise, or abilities as a person or employee. Instead, it’s how the recruitment process has changed over the last couple of decades – and more recently since the onset of the pandemic – to include automated procedures, artificial intelligence, and digital resources for repetitive tasks. Even interviewing has changed and gone digital. Most people are now accepting positions from bosses they haven’t met in person. Here’s what you need to know to land a new job in 2020.

Being Found in the Digital World

AI has transformed the way recruiting is done. From candidate sourcing to applicant screening and interview scheduling, many repetitive tasks are now completed by machines so HR can dedicate their time to human interactions. Capturing the attention of recruiters and their robots is a new ballgame compared to just a couple of decades ago. Here’s how to succeed:

  • Embrace Social Media. Everyone should have an online profile that’s dedicated to their career or job search as both bots and humans will turn to these sources to learn more about you. LinkedIn is the obvious choice, but sites like can offer different ways to showcase your skills, achievements and personal interests. Some experts recommend using both as LinkedIn is slowly replacing the resume entirely, and a second profile will provide you with an opportunity to personalize the experience for recruiters.
  • Be Findable. Make sure your privacy settings for these profiles are public and searchable. If you’d rather not have your personal information public, make use of free resources such as Google Voice and Gmail to get a separate email address and phone number dedicated to your digital adventures.
  • Optimize Your Resume. The resume may be working its way out of fashion, but for now, it is still a vital job-search tool. Optimize yours for digital scanners to help them pick you. First, keep it simple and avoid excessive formatting, images, fancy fonts and intricate bullets which do not impress digital eyes. Use keywords that are important to your industry, and be sure to use the most important keywords two or three times throughout the document. Use compelling action words such as “solved,” “led” and “delivered” to describe your accomplishments. Lastly, be sure to customize your resume for the position you are applying for by highlighting the most relevant details and eliminating those that might not be as important.

Networking is the New Normal

More than just a way to land a new career, networking is vital for all stages of your career as you learn new skills, expand your capabilities and move up the ladder over time. Making strong contacts puts you in a better position to learn new information, hear about opportunities for advancement, and reach out for advice. Your network will also provide you with opportunities to give back as you lend a hand to those in your community who are still a few steps behind you.

While most people understand the importance of networking, not everyone knows how to make it happen – especially now that we’ve had to learn to network online. One of the easiest ways to start building a network is to stay in touch with former colleagues and welcome any suggestions they have for additional connections. Online classes and workshops in your specialty area help you connect with industry leaders. Expanding your internet presence by writing blogs or articles can provide a great jumping-off point for future conversations.

The Importance of Cultural Fit & Interviewing

Finding a role in a company that’s a good cultural fit for you is important; otherwise, you may end up back on the hunt sooner than anticipated. However, trying to determine whether a company will be a good fit can be tricky, especially in the limited time that you’ll have during interviews, and due to the limited in-person exposure you’ll have to the people and the office. Look for specific signs that the company values its employees. Do the employees you have had exposure to seem friendly and engaging or tense and standoffish?

During the interview, take note of how the HR representative interacted with you. Were you seen as an equal or was the person being superior? Were their questions well-thought-out? Was your meeting interrupted for any reason? It’s also important whether the HR person seemed positive about the company and the position and was able to articulate what you would need to be successful there.

Some questions you can ask your interviewer to better understand culture include:

  • What are the key strategies, goals and initiatives of the company and department?
  • How does this position impact key strategies and goals?
  • What characteristics do you value in a key employee?
  • What management style is used to ensure goals are met?
  • How are employees rewarded and recognized?
  • How are new ideas processed in the company?

When You Don’t Get an Offer

When you’ve completed one (or several!) successful interviews, it can be demoralizing and frustrating to hear that you haven’t gotten the job or to hear nothing at all from the company. The first thing to remember is that there are many reasons for this that may have nothing to do with you at all. For example, the opening may have been canceled and the entire process halted, or perhaps someone internal to the company ends up being shifted and you’re not the right fit for their previous position. Other times, you may simply have lost to a candidate who made a better impression.

While you may never find out which of these was the reason, one critical takeaway from the process should be that you were, in fact, good enough to make it as far as you did and can rest assured that the reason behind the denial wasn’t something you did wrong or something you are lacking. Instead, focus on what you can control: continuing to interview and showcasing your top skills, experiences and ways you will add value to your next employer.

Whether you are in-between jobs or you’re looking to advance in your current role, we’re here to help. We offer personal career coaching that is designed to transform your career, and your life. Contact us via email or at 262-786-9200 to learn more and enroll.