I was a recruiter during the 2008 recession and it was a really tough job market for so many people. Now I'm a career coach in 2020 and job searching feels impossible for many people. My advice to clients now (and always) is to get your head straight before starting a job search.
Here are some ways to focus immediately:
Create a goal. I say this all the time (to myself, to my clients and to family) "Vague goals produce vague results." It's a quote from Jack Canfield that changed my life. If I don't know where I am going, how do I know what to do every day? It is critical to be clear about what your goals are week to week and moment to moment in a job search right now. Create a goal as specific as possible with elements you can control, add a timeline and measure your results. Goal setting helps us visualize achieving the results we want and measure progress to stay the course.
Target specific types of organizations. Applying to hundreds of jobs might feel productive in the moment, but it could be a waste of energy. Spend some time creating a list of the types of organizations that match your trajectory. If you are out of work, look for similar types of companies that you were most recently working at. Then look at companies that are closely related - in a similar industry, etc. Come up with 10-20 target organizations to focus on.
Update your resume and LinkedIn without going crazy about it. It's easy to hyper-focus on your resume when you are job searching. Don't do that. Instead use the free aspects of jobscan.co and align your resume and LinkedIn to the actual job descriptions you are applying to. Your resume and LinkedIn are only a part of what should be a diversified and dynamic job search.
Reach out to people. Crazy times can mean unlikely connections. If you are interested in a company but have no way in- reach out to someone on LinkedIn. Here's the caveat: only reach out if you are actually interested in connecting. Don't apply to a job and then tell the person on LinkedIn you just applied to a job. The goal is true networking.
For me "get your head straight" means to focus on the things you can control. You may be in a shitty situation, but it does you no good to complain about it. Focus on solutions and try to keep a positive mindset. That positive vibe will carry over into your search as you are applying and interviewing for jobs.