Having a job is so important, especially during these uncertain times. However, it can be hard to market yourself to companies when you can’t even step out of the house. Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do to increase your chances of finding work even while staying at home. Read on for our tips:

Start reinforcing your resume.

Job recruiters and employers see hundreds of job applications in a day and can become a little tired of the same old resumes. Many of them will only spare yours a glance to see what your educational attainment is, what degree you possess, and where you graduated from. However, you can capture their attention longer if you possess certain skills and the certifications to back them up.

For instance, one of the most in-demand certifications that will instantly attract any employer is the Project Management Professional or PMP® Certification. It’s a professional designation offered by the Project Management Institute that requires, among other prerequisites, years of project lead experience and 35 hours of project management training or education. Becoming PMP® Certified will open many doors regardless of the industry you hope to find work in or the positions that you’re applying for.

If that sounds too daunting, there are plenty of other in-demand skills that organisations are on the lookout for. Knowing a foreign language such as Mandarin, German, French, or Spanish is one of them. Applicants that possess technical skills in data analysis, web and mobile development, and social media marketing are also very highly sought after. You can learn these from home through online courses and receive certificates for them that you can include in your resume.

Do some research on the company.

One of the most quotable quotes from Sun Tzu’s ‘The Art of War’ is “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” While applying for a position at a company is hardly so adversarial, it’s still a terrific piece of advice that emphasises the importance of researching an organisation when doing so.

Getting to know the company that you hope to work for demonstrates your eagerness to succeed in the job application to the person who will be interviewing you. You’ll also be able to adapt your responses to their questions to fit the needs of the organisation as well as their company culture. Why is that important? Because research shows that hiring managers place a high priority on candidates that will “fit in”.

Familiarising yourself with the companies you intend to work for is easily done even when you’re stuck at home. Visit their official company website, peek into their social media accounts, plug the company’s name into a search engine and just see what turns up. You can also get a sense of the company and the people who work there by browsing their profile on LinkedIn or review websites such as Glassdoor.

Make sure your resume gets noticed.

Your resume has to both be reinforced with relevant skills and look good. Most jobseekers think that this means “make it beautiful”, but it’s really less about that and more about making sure that hiring managers find the most relevant bits quickly and easily.

Do not treat your resume like a historical record of your accomplishments and credentials. Instead, endeavour to turn it into a marketing tool with you as the product it’s selling. Highlight the parts that you want to be noticed and make sure that you use the right keywords throughout the document. Keep in mind that certain aspects of old-school resume writing will date yours, and not in a good way. For example, no one uses the Objective anymore, so try a Summary instead. Write a short, succinct synopsis that includes your experience, your employment history, and the achievements you’re most proud of. It’ll signify to HR that you’re confident and assertive.

There are numerous other tricks to help your resume stand out from the others in the pile. Do the research (yes, more research!) and update yours accordingly.

Be diligent about networking.

It pays to know the right people if you want to break into a certain company or industry. According to leading career website TheBalanceCareers, over 80% of job seekers claim that their network has helped them land jobs. It pays to take the initiative to reach out to others: your past and present colleagues and managers, former classmates and alumni of your alma mater, your favourite teachers, even the leaders in your community.

Given the ubiquity of social networking, finding these people and dropping them a line is as easy as running their name through Facebook or LinkedIn. You can also become more active in the community by attending online events and volunteering.

Practice your answers to common interview questions.

Most recruiters tend to ask the same questions during job interviews. Your job is to not get tripped up and to respond effectively. A surprising number of jobseekers don’t know how to answer when asked the very simple “Tell me about yourself” question during a job interview!

Fortunately, there’s a wealth of information online about the most common questions you might be asked. Familiarising yourself with them can help you stay focused during the interview itself.

Over the course of your job search, you’ll inevitably run into a few challenges. The idea is to not let these setbacks bog you down. Just learn from your missteps and modify your strategy accordingly.