2020 was hard. Obviously. So many people—at least 22 million— lost their jobs last year. It’s hard to fathom how and when we’ll fully recover. But the new year is a new start. And the economy has started to bounce back, so now is a great time to look for a new job if you haven’t started already. Here are some tips on how to bounce back in 2021:
Glam Up Your Resume
If you’ve been unemployed for the better part of 2020, chances are you aren’t thrilled with the way your resume is looking right now, with a big work gap. But not to worry. Use this to your advantage. Not only is it beneficial to be up front and honest with potential employers about your job situation, but you can fill the gap instead with what you have been doing, personal or otherwise. Maybe you threw yourself into your kid’s virtual schooling or started delivering food to neighbors. This will show future employers that you’re proactive and ready to adapt should things decide to go awry.
Look Far and Wide
Don’t confine yourself to the industry you were in before the pandemic. Try to stretch yourself in your job search. Maybe the industry that employed you isn’t really hiring now or the jobs have become stagnant. Even if there’s an abundance of jobs in your sector, it’s a good idea to take this time to look elsewhere. You might find something better than what you were doing before. And if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that niche jobs can crop up at any time.
Network, Network, Network
Networking isn’t exactly easy during the pandemic, with work happy hours canceled, coffee dates put on hold, and everything else gone virtual. But reach out to your network anyway. You’ll have to make more of an effort than usual but don’t be put off by the new networking. It might take place over email or a phone conversation, but you never know who could be of help during your job search. And use social media! It’s not a typical way to network, but business has moved onto Instagram and other platforms. DM someone and start a conversation.
Don’t Give Up
The job search is going to be more difficult than ever right now, with so many Americans applying for jobs. The competition will be higher. But keep applying, even when you get frustrated—and especially when you get frustrated. Your perseverance will feel worth it in the end. Try to set a schedule for yourself to keep on track, such as applying to at least one job every day. This will help you be in control and also lessen any feelings of being overwhelmed. At the end of the week, or every time you hit a certain goal number, reward yourself. Applying for jobs isn’t the most fun and you need to add something special to the process. If you reward yourself, you’ll get into the habit too. It’s not dissimilar to training a dog with proactive reinforcement. If you reward good behavior, it’s likely to continue.At the end of the week, or every time you hit a certain goal number, reward yourself. Applying for jobs isn’t the most fun and you need to add something special to the process. Click To Tweet
It’s so important that you stand out during your job search in 2021. As I’ve mentioned, there are millions of Americans applying for jobs and the competition is high. According to the data just released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nonfarm payroll employment fell by
140,000 in December and employment remains 6.5 percent below its level in February. So, do everything you can on your resume and during your interview to stand out. Maybe you do this by asking your employer some not-usual questions in the interview or through your follow-up. Personalize your emails and don’t be afraid to let your personality show through your cover letter.
Applying for jobs in 2021 may seem like a daunting task, but keep going with it even if it takes longer than you thought. Reward yourself throughout the process. Remember that your dream job will be the best reward of all. That should be a good thought to help you keep going. If you can, be creative. Spend some extra cash to hire a designer to beef up your resume or website. You can also use apps like Carbonmade to create a cool online portfolio of your work.
A version of this article was originally published on Forbes.