Help wanted: Expert weighs in on the best practices to land a job during the pandemic

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Based on the March numbers, about 259,000 North Carolinians are unemployed right now and searching for their next job.

"Job searching in general is extremely difficult," Briefcase Coach founder Sarah Johnston said.

Trying to find a job in the midst of the pandemic adds just another obstacle.

"Pre-pandemic it was so easy to meet people for coffee. It was so easy to bump into someone at the grocery store without a mask and just make small talk with them. Right now we're not seeing that," Johnston said.

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Johnston said right now she's telling her job-seeking clients that it is still possible to connect with people.

"It's so important to remember that people hire people. Applicant tracking systems don't hire people but people hire people so you've got to think of ways that you can connect with real humans," Johnston said.

Johnston suggests anyone searching for a job to think about those loose connections they have with people over the years and reach out to them. Also make a schedule for yourself, so you're accomplishing something every day during your search.

Then, once you land that interview, make sure you stand out.

"Different is better than better in a job search. If you can do something differently than your competition, it's likely that you'll stand out," Johnston said.

Ultimately, the good news is that companies are hiring.

"We have to get past a scarcity mindset and move towards an abundance mindset, because people are getting hired," Johnston said.

Johnston adds if you want to stand out you can really tailor your resume or cover letter to directly fit an certain position or company you're interested in to show how your passion aligns with the job.
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