This was originally posted in March 2020 on Medium.

It feels like the Coronavirus has sucker-punched everybody’s “normal” in the gut.

I previously wrote a post about how I was laid off on March 18th and the best tools I used during my job hunt. This post outlines the methodology I took to find a job. It worked for me, I was able to lock down an offer in two weeks.

That said, I didn’t start my job hunt right away. I took a moment to breathe after I was laid off. You could call this a highly recommended Step One. I grabbed ice cream with my family, and let my mind calm. I practiced gratitude by remembering how fortunate I am despite not having a job.

My wife and I had the luxury of not being frantic because we had saved up an emergency fund. Having at least 3-months of expenses saved is a good benchmark for an emergency fund. If you don’t have a fallback plan, remain calm, but ramp up the applications. You don’t have to compromise on quality or personalization, factors we will get to in a moment.

Next, consider the approach you want to take with applications. From what I have seen, there are two basic approaches for job applications:

  1. The shotgunner
  2. The sniper

The shotgun approach is exactly what it sounds like: you shoot out a bunch of applications in all different directions. Some refer to this as the “spray and pray” technique.

The pros:

  • More reach
  • Streamlined process

The cons:

  • Impersonal
  • Less standout or “wow” value

The sniper approach is the opposite. It’s based on a very deliberate strategy, where you’re assessing if a company and job are right for you. Then, you’re taking a shot with a highly tailored application.

The pros:

  • Deliberate — both in choosing a company you want to work for and in the application itself
  • Better standout value

The cons:

  • Slower application process
  • Less reach

I went with the second approach. I applied to fewer companies at a slower rate, but I had about an 80% success rate, meaning those companies moved me to the next stage in their interview process.

But that stat means nothing unless you can lock down the deal. The four factors that helped me do so were:

  1. A solid resume and cover letter (I did basically streamline these)
  2. A very personalized application (the sniper approach)
  3. A website (I used a free version) showcasing my skills, projects, and personality
  4. A video pitch outlining why I would be a good fit

A resume and cover letter are important, but once you have them in a good place, you can basically reuse these with maybe some minor adjustments. I created my own templated versions. You can find a gazillion posts on how to craft resumes and cover letters, but don’t spend too much time there once you get them to a good spot.

Not every company culture is the same. I want to work for a company that loves it when I show personality. Some businesses don’t put as much value in individuality. It varies by industry and culture, read it right for your situation. You can usually tell based on the wording they use in their job description and by their digital footprint. If they’re making jokes and using emojis, it’s safe to say they value personality.

Try to sneak your character into every question, even generic ones. For instance, one time I was asked to name a company with excellent customer support. Simple enough. I brought up MeUndies (they do have awesome customer support). It’s a unique name demanding a doubletake. Another one I love to list is that I am “proficient” with a bo staff. That raises some eyebrows.

For the third point, I made a free website using Wixx, and it did the job, even with the Wixx advertisement at the top.

Note: The Crash profile kind of functions like a personal website, so you might not need to build one. I also have my Domain of Dads blog, which I host with HostGator.

Lastly, I created a video pitch using Crash. Here is an example of the profile I made. I would say creating a profile on Crash was the single most important thing I did. Crash’s team was very supportive in the process and even met with me for one-on-ones. The company I now work for found me through the Crash portal — they liked the intro video on my Crash profile. I can’t recommend the Crash tool enough. They played a huge role in helping me find a new job.

I landed a job on April 1 (exactly two weeks from when I was laid off) and began work April 6.

To summarize this post:

  1. I took a moment to breathe.
  2. I updated my foundational job search documents, meaning: resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile.
  3. I updated my profile on Crash (creating the profile is a fun process).
  4. I applied deliberately and consistently to companies I wanted to work for.

I hope this helps you if you’re job searching!

*Editor’s Note: The Crash Profile/Video Pitch Builder is no longer available, but you can do something similar using Notion, Loom, or plenty of other tools. The key is to show, don’t tell.