By Dan Gomez-Palacio
Director, Grossnickle Career Services Center

We’ve heard a number of stories recently about students and alumni losing work, dealing with layoffs and struggling to come up with next steps. It’s a challenging time for a lot of us. If your job is impacted by the fallout from COVID-19 or you are concerned it might be, there are a couple of things you can do to be proactive during this time.

“Now’s a good time to update your materials and take stock of your available resources.”

1. Modernize your resume

While you remember to update your resume with new information, when was the last time you gave your resume a fresh look?

First, examine formatting. Resume norms have changed in the last decade, with a number of new options that are available and other things falling out of favor. For instance: Are you still using Times New Roman? If so, it may be time to use a more modern font like Segue or Calibri so you don’t give a subtle hint that you are out-of-touch.

headshot of Dan Gomez-Palacio
Dan Gomez-Palacio

At this point in your career, what information should be at the top of your resume where it has a better chance to be read? If you have been working and out of school for at least five years, it probably shouldn’t be education, but rather focus on your work experience.

Secondly, take a new look at your content. If you have an objective, consider using a “Summary of Qualifications” instead. Look for outdated or unnecessary information and find ways to really aim your resume towards your next career goal – not the one you had 10 years ago. Use online examples for inspiration, but be wary of using templates. They are often embedded with so much formatting that they can be hard to tailor toward your unique skills and experience.

2. Find new ways to connect

If you have looked for a job recently, you are likely familiar with Indeed, SimplyHired and LinkedIn, but there could be a lot more resources out there for you. Now is a good time to start to look at different angles to the job search – even if you aren’t actively searching.

I suggest you look for job sites that deal directly with your industry. Sites like agcareers.com (focus on jobs in the agricultural field), teamworkonline.com (sports), hcareers.com (hospitality) or hirelifescience.com (biotech/pharmaceuticals) have thousands of opportunities and often post positions that aren’t easily found on the larger aggregators. If you have a particular organization in mind, find its recruiters on LinkedIn and/or Twitter. Their willingness to accept followers often means you can be one of the first people to hear about an opening and possibly strike up a conversation.