There are no hard and fast rules for a job search in a pandemic.
Some things about the job search are the same:
- Companies are still looking to hire problem solvers
- Your network is important in your job search; contacts can help identify unadvertised job opportunities and connect with hiring managers
- Having an accomplishment-focused, up-to-date résumé and LinkedIn profile can help secure interviews
However, some things are different in a job search during the pandemic:
- Interviews are more likely to be virtual
- Human resources staffers are likely to be working remotely, and coordinating the hiring process can take more time than it did before the pandemic
- Opportunities for remote work are increasing, and if you are able to do your job remotely, there are even more opportunities, especially outside your current geographic area
- Temporary and short-term positions may be more plentiful. Companies may be wary of taking on permanent, full-time employees when their future is uncertain, but they still have needs to fulfill
Here’s What to do:
1. Focus on Your Strengths
Beyond what you do for a company, what is the impact that you have on the organization? It’s even more important to highlight accomplishments on your résumé, LinkedIn profile, and career documents in a competitive job market. Assess your work history and identify older skills and/or experience you can leverage. Seek out opportunities for additional training and learning.
2. Be Clear on What You Need
The more specific you can be about the opportunity that you’re seeking, the more likely you will find it. Having a list of criteria like this can help you identify whether a position will be a good fit — or not.
3. Look For Companies That are Hiring or In Need
Be aware of which industries are holding steady or growing during the pandemic, and which ones are struggling. Researching your prospective employer is even more critical—be aware of changes affecting the company due to the pandemic. Set up Google Alerts to get informed about news affecting your ideal employers.
4. Nurture Your Network
Networking is even more important for a job search during times of high unemployment. Stay in touch through social media, phone calls, Zoom or FaceTime, email, text, and LinkedIn messages.
5. Adapt to the New Needs of the Job Search
Prepare for an online job interview. Set up a specific space for the interview. Make sure it’s someplace quiet with no distractions. When it’s time for the actual interview, dress like you’re going to an in-person interview (head to toe!).
Even if you’re not interested in changing jobs right now, create a plan for the future. Some things about the job search—for example, virtual job interviews—are likely to stick around long after COVID-19 is gone.
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