History will record this time as the “Great Pandemic of 2020” when the world’s economy nearly ground to a halt at the hands of an invisible virulent pathogen.
It’s naïve to say that the coronavirus may not impact a job search. But that’s all the more reason to continue your job search effort.
Despite the lockdowns, the quarantines, the grim news, and the resulting economic upheavals, life, and work, go on. So, what are job seekers, who face significant challenges even in the best times, supposed to do now? The answer is “do the same as before, but with a twist.”
The Twist: Go Digital
One positive aspect of this time of crisis is that we have digital technology to help us navigate the present normal. While jobseekers have been searching for jobs and answering postings on the Internet for years, now, more than ever, the savvy jobseeker must fully exploit all that the digital universe offers to stay competitive.
Besides checking job sites, this includes video conferencing, community bulletin boards, professional online forums, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the plethora of other social media and career-oriented online entities.
Get comfortable networking online and get involved with the professional communities, companies, and opinion makers that proliferate on the Internet. Look for professional and work-related groups to join on Facebook and LinkedIn. Research and join specialty groups sponsored on those sites that pertain to your field or professional interests.
Post comments that demonstrate your knowledge and offer help to people when appropriate. Showing your concern can help get you noticed in an advantageous way by executives and hiring managers. Make your job search part of bigger mission to help defeat the COVID-19 virus.
Tune Up Your Online Presence
Since the Internet is where the job search
action is, it only makes sense to expand and refine your presence there as much as possible.
If you don’t have a personal website, consider creating one and publishing it. There are numerous apps for building a website without knowledge of or experience in coding and graphic design, and plenty of providers that will affordably host.
Your website can work hand-in-hand with your LinkedIn profile (if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile then by all means get one, the basic profile is free of charge) to present the Big Picture of who you are and what you can do, complemented by a portfolio of work and accolades from coworkers and clients. Post a professional profile on Facebook and tweet professionally-oriented tweets on Twitter.
Email your friends, colleagues, and professional associates to stay connected and exchange ideas for coping with the crisis. And there’s nothing wrong with good old-fashioned telephone calls and/or snail mail too. The idea is to stay connected via all the tools at your disposal.
Optimize Your Resume and Cover Letter
These essential job search tools should also be updated to reflect the current situation.
If you have significant experience working remotely, highlight that in your resume, along with your acumen in video conferencing, remote collaboration, and virtual offices. Firmly establish that you’re comfortable working this way, and you know how to get work done.
In your cover letter describe your remote work setup and your skill and discipline at independently structuring your day to maximize productivity. Emphasize your agility at jumping into a remote role with ease and flexibility.
The Video Interview
Probably the biggest paradigm shift for job seeker is the sudden migration from in-person to video-based interviews. The idea of video interviewing can be intimidating for some, but, with a little preparation on your part, there’s really no need for alarm. Remember that your interviewer is probably adjusting to working this way too, so we should all just take a deep breath and relax.
In a recent blog post I listed some essential tips for acing your next video interview. Be sure to read this post because it will help you avoid common mistakes that can sink your interview. However, I’d like to add two additional points to consider here.
First, show your interest in the company by preparing a few pandemic-related questions to ask your interviewer, assuming that this current stay-at-home work situation will be with us for a while. You’ll want to assess how this company is responding to this crisis and how they’re treating their employees in light of it. Such questions might include:
- How has the pandemic affected your business strategy and hiring process?
- How are you supporting employees working at home?
- How is this pandemic affecting your company culture?
- Do you think your company and its way of doing business will be changed permanently in the post-pandemic world?
Second, have a diplomatic answer ready just in case the interviewer asks for a follow-up interview in person. I really hope that any company you interview with will be strictly adhering to government and local stay-at-home mandates, but you never know. So, here’s a possible response:
“I'm excited to move forward with the next
step of a second interview! I'd love to come on-site to meet you in person and see your facilities, but because of the infection risk during this pandemic, I’d be much more comfortable with another video or virtual interview.Can we do that instead, please?”
The Mind Game
Undoubtedly, we’re passing through an extremely stressful time when our health, our careers, and our very way of life are all at risk. With this in mind, here are a few suggestions for managing your mind in a pandemic world while searching for your next job:
More than Ever, Patience is a Virtue:
Many companies haven’t yet established a clear approach for managing hiring processes during this pandemic, so don’t be surprised, or concerned, if you’re not hearing back from them quickly. If you’re still awaiting a reply after a reasonable amount of time, say two to three weeks, by all means send a follow-up email to the recruiter or hiring manager and politely inquire where you stand in their process. Above all, be patient and don’t lose your cool.
Boost Your Skills:
You’re stuck in your living space but you can make the time productive (along with your job search) by carving out time and space for self-training and boosting your qualifications. Study job postings carefully to determine what skills you’re lacking, and take action to brush up on those skills to better improve your marketability.
There are an enormous number of free tutorials (many of them excellently done) on YouTube for just about every app and business field you can think of. And there are plenty of sites where you can enroll in online courses for reasonable fees. Take a look at courses from Udemy and LinkedIn.
Also don’t forget reading all those career-oriented books you never could find the time for. Take advantage of this unusual time to invest in yourself!
Take Care of Yourself!
It can be hard to remember to take time for yourself during an active job search, especially when you don’t have the option of leaving the house or you’re dealing with financial pressures. Be sure to schedule time for exercise, home projects, meditation, music, movies, hobbies, or anything else that helps you relax. This is also a good time to reflect on the kind of job you really want and to take advantage of the slow job market to gain some insight into where you want to work and the type of position and title you're seeking.
As always, we atShimmering Careers are ready to help you succeed despite the challenges presented by this harrowing pandemic.For sound advice, great career documents, an effective plan of action, and some comforting peace of mind, give us a call or email today.