Job hunting has always been tough, but during a pandemic, it may seem impossible. You’re less able to focus, and probably are juggling multiple responsibilities, like working from home while suddenly homeschooling your kids, or unexpectedly taking two hours to buy dishwashing soap.
In an iffy economy, networking becomes essential for finding the “hidden job market,” job openings that aren’t advertised and are filled through word of mouth. An introvert can feel at a disadvantage here, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Let’s talk about where you, the introvert, can shine. (And these tips can work very well for extroverts, too).

Making Networking a Research Activity

It’s time to use your love of reading and digging for answers to find the right companies for your next job. Anyone can scan or LinkedIn’s job boards. But those job postings you’re scanning could be dead ends. Hiring freezes are happening in multiple industries. Instead, create a list of your top 40 organizations that you would love to target for your job hunt.
To get started on that list, check on LinkedIn to see what companies tend to hire from your school, even if it’s been a while since you’ve graduated. Here’s a tutorial on how to do that.
Another idea is to do some research at your local business journal, such as the Washington or Baltimore Business Journal web sites. They’re a great resource for keeping up with industry news. They also rank top companies in multiple industries in metro areas across the U.S.
Don’t forget to stay current on how your industry is faring each week. This resource tracks hiring freezes and is being updated in real time. If your work hours or reduced, or if you’re laid off or furloughed, here’s a starting point for securing benefits.

Amp Up the One-on-One Communication

Next, reach out to supportive colleagues and friends and share your target list with them. Use thoughtful emails, an introvert specialty, and check in on the health and situation of people in your network. Set up calls, or video meetings, and maximize your stellar listening skills. 
Ask for feedback and other ideas. See if they know anyone who might work at these firms, so you can see if they’re hiring. So many jobs aren’t posted. Remember, you aren’t asking for help or a handout, you’re comparing notes on a research project. That project just happens to be your target list. 
You may be tempted to tell contacts that you’re open to anything, but that approach can backfire. You want to be specific enough to have your friends and family be able to inventory who they know, while also letting them know you’re open to new ideas. And don’t assume that a person in one industry doesn’t know people in another industry. Keep an open mind about who might be able to help. 

Tailor Those Documents, Fill the Skills Gaps

This activity hopefully will give you some ideas on companies that are hiring, or thinking of hiring once the shelter-in-place orders are lifted. By reading and talking with people, you’ll get an idea of a company’s culture, and you’ll be able to use that to tailor your resume and cover letters to those job leads. (Jump on over here for my cover letter template.)
You may find that hiring has slowed or stopped in your industry, but you can still use your time wisely by identifying any gaps in skills or training and filling the gaps with online training, in many cases for free. LinkedIn is offering free courses. These are other great free resources to check. 

Don’t Forget to Share Job Tips with Others, And Send Those Thank You Notes!

As you job hunt, remember to share tips with others searching in your field, because that’s what true networking is all about. If you see a company with multiple openings, share on LinkedIn, or send a quick email. Tell others you’d love to see their dream list of employers, in exchange for reviewing yours, and try to help in any way you can. We’re all in this together, now more than ever. It’s also important to follow up all conversations with a thank you note. Now’s not the time to hassle people with snail mail, so an email will do. 
If you’re feeling stuck, I offer customized, one-on-one, job hunt support through virtual coaching sessions. You can email me for a free 20-minute job hunt strategy chat for customized tips and ideas.
Stay safe out there!