When I started this blog, I made a commitment to publish one issue per week for at least a year. Alas, this is my first ever piece that didn’t go out in time due to many circumstances — but as the saying goes: “Its better late than never”.
Data speaks. But in certain scenarios, it is often late and its impact not truly felt until a specific event happens to you or the people around you. When COVID-19 started, the data showed that its growth was exponential and there were a lot of risk associated with asymptomatic carriers. At that point however, it was considered an epidemic that was happening far away from everywhere else in the world and it seemed like China was successful enough in restricting the virus; it prevents massive spread and mostly locking the virus in Hubei province.
I myself questioned the warnings and strings of what I call “panic-inducing tweets” around COVID-19. Granted, there are multiple individuals in Twitter that always like to voice sensational topics because it incites one’s emotion, resulting in more likes and interactions. Simply put, I was being aware and extremely cautious of the information that I received through Twitter because of the clout chaser culture.
Fast forward six week, and the whole world is already in quarantine. Time certainly flies. I learned that while it is wise to be wary of the information one consume from Twitter or any other social media platform, being a bit overly cautious also doesn’t hurt. This does NOT mean hording Charmin and Purell; it means to always have some sort of safety net, a bedrock to lay upon when things get tough.
We Regret to Inform You …
From Instagram to LinkedIn (and even TikTok) — I have seen friends and acquaintances shared the unfortunate circumstances that befell upon them regarding job employments. Companies are cutting back. I have heard stories and seen posts of offers getting rescinded from established manufacturing brands to big tech companies. The circumstances are even harder for international students. Being one myself, I know the struggles that on needs to go through, and COVID-19 only makes it worse.
It is crazy how quick things turn from an “employee driven” job market, to an “employer driven” job market.
As a result, I want to use this week’s piece as an opportunity to share some of my tips when it comes to reaching out for job opportunities in what I considered as “the most pragmatic way” (I try not to be repetitive and state the obvious things).
These tips are a compilation of methods that I’ve seen online, received from friends/mentors, and came up with myself. I hope it helps in your endeavor.
Set-Up an Extremely Specific Schedule to Apply
Seriously. Not just some “I’m gonna apply to companies for 2 hours today”.
For instance, make it a point to submit applications to at least 10 companies in an hour every single day.
Timing yourself is important. Otherwise you might be complacent with your application. Once you are comfortable with the number, increase it constantly to the best of your ability while still maintaining the quality of your application. Treat it like a workout move — you might only be able to do a single pull-up initially, but after much practice, doing ten at once is a breeze. We’re practicing our “job search” muscle here.
Have a Template Ready
In order to optimize your time, have a template ready which includes cover letter and essays that might be relevant in your industry. If you’re applying for a role in a specific industry, the questions and tasks that you need to do for the first couple of rounds are usually quite generic, and it can be answered in advance by having a template with the right combination of paragraphs that provides a sense of uniqueness while being generic enough for you to replicate it.
Its a Game of Probability Too
Don’t be a perfectionist.
Send your applications to hundreds, if not thousands of companies per month. People often want to believe that their applications and skills are what differentiate themselves from the other candidates. While this is true to some extent, it is more difficult when you’re applying for a role that’s not niche at all. For instance, there are numerous of industrial engineers that have experience in supply chain. If you’re a fresh graduate or are early in your career, excessively worrying about the quality of your application is not pragmatic. Just click the submit button.
Maximize Job/Social Platforms & Practice Lead Generation
“How do I apply to hundreds of companies per month when new roles aren’t appearing fast enough?”
This is where you maximize job platforms. Personally, I have always focused on LinkedIn and Indeed job postings before going to other platforms. Also, do your research and find platforms that are specific for your niche. For instance, if you like startups, go on AngelList and BuiltIn
Get a LinkedIn Premium if you can afford it. It gives you the ability to send between 15-60 direct messages per month (depending on your subscription tier). Be sure to only send out the direct messages to the person-in-charge for openings that you either really like or think that there’s a really good fit.
If you’re interested in smaller firms; practice lead generation and send them an email saying that you’re interested in what they’re doing (this works for small to mid size companies). I can personally vouch for this strategy. It will take some time to be efficient at lead generation, but once you get the hang of it, this method will be extremely helpful.
The most obvious part. Publish your work online, whether it be research reports, GitHub pulls, data science dashboards, etc.
Being In Charge
If there’s one thing that I really took to heart from this unfortunate event; it is the need to be fully self-sufficient. Simply put, I now know more than ever, that I eventually want to be my own boss. Companies are entities that will do whatever it takes to survive. Even if you’re working for a large and established company, there will always be a potential that something stops by to disrupt your stability — and it doesn’t have to be a pandemic.
Individuals that worked for the largest car manufacturers in the world thought that their jobs were stable. When technologies came along, the necessary amount of manpower got significantly reduced, and so did the number of employees. For individuals in corporate with management jobs, there will always be cutback risks during a recession; and recession itself is recurring in nature.
Entrepreneurship presents extremely tough challenges for those who dare to walk its path. With it came judgement, loneliness, and chaos. But at the end of the day, you know that you’re fully in charge of your own action and the outcome that it brings.
See you in a bit.