How to Search for a Job During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The Collective Rising |
Unfortunately, many individuals’ jobs have become another casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you are a current job-seeker, you may be wondering if you should continue to send out resumes, or if you should pause your efforts for the time being.
While it’s true that economists are predicting a recession, you should continue to invest time into maintaining previously established relationships that you’ve cultivated with recruiters and company hiring managers – you want to be at the top of their minds when companies start hiring again.
Hiring new employees is not a top concern (or even on the agenda) for many companies these days. Many hiring managers and human resource executives’ day-to-day focus is on educating their current employees on best work-from-home practices.
The Collective Rising advises its members to manage their expectations when it comes to hearing back from positions they may have applied for a few weeks back. Many job openings will likely be put on hold or even disappear entirely.
While this doesn’t mean these opportunities will never reappear (or are currently filled), expect to have to play the “waiting game.” Specifically, this is true regarding opportunities at small and mid-size businesses. This is specifically true when it comes to opportunities at small and mid-size businesses, that prior to the pandemic were prepared to hire, but are now implementing a hiring freeze. For product-selling businesses, CEOs want to see that they are producing revenue and that consumers will still want their product. For service-based companies (specifically those that are beauty or wellness-based), the publicizing of new roles and opportunities will likely coincide with government updates.
With all that said, The Collective Rising still advocates for members to be proactive with their job search and committed to sharing the best version of themselves online. The tips outlined below will help you navigate a job search during the coronavirus.
Determine how urgent your job search is.
If you can afford to put your job search on hold, you may want to wait it out.
Now it is a challenge to get on a hiring manager’s radar right now. If you’re currently employed, think about how to make your job more palatable for the time being.
If you’re not currently employed, don’t think of your next job as the perfect job. You may need to find something just good enough for the short term.
Start (and commit to) Online Networking
Events will be canceled for a while, so you’ll need to find a new networking strategy. Connect with like-minded professionals on platforms such as The Collective Rising and LinkedIn and join in on virtual zoom/google hangout events.
Now is also an excellent time to set up virtual informational interviews or networking chats. If you’re nervous, try first practicing with a friend. Have your friend ask questions and give you feedback.
Reach out and Follow Up
Perhaps you’ve recently had a promising interview, and a job offer seemed to be on the horizon, but since the pandemic outbreak, you haven’t heard any updates from the hiring manager. You may be wondering what the proper follow-up protocol is here.
The Collective Rising suggests writing an email to the hiring manager, acknowledging the chaos of current times. Politely ask if they have any insight as to whether or not they will be proceeding forward with filling the role. Make sure you also demonstrate a thoughtful attitude. Try asking if there is anything you can assist them with rather than asking them to help you. For example, you could send an email saying the following; “I wanted to reach out to see if there’s anything I can do for you. You’ve been so generous with your time; I would love to return the favor.” If you have a specific skill, a hiring manager might be able to tap into, mention it. You could say, “Given that I’ve led virtual/remote teams, I have some ideas I’d love to share with you on how I’ve helped keep employees feeling connected, even when they are out of office.” Additionally, there are other ways you can stay on recruiters’ and hiring managers’ minds aside from just sending follow-up emails. If you’re not already, connect with them on LinkedIn and, if they post a status, comment on it, or like any articles they post or re-share.
Strategically monitor your dream companies.
Observe how your dream companies are reacting to this pandemic. Take note of how the company’s leadership team deals with this emergency. Look into how they treat their employees by following the company on social media. Set up google alerts so you can get real-time updates as they are published.
If and when you have a chance to interview with these companies, you’ll be better prepared and have a thorough understanding of how the pandemic has affected the company, and thus, frame your specific skills and knowledge to emphasize why you’d be a value-add as an employee.
Reflect on your long term goals
Many job seekers often jump at the first available opportunity or go into their job search without fully considering their long-term professional goals.
Use this time to gain clarity about what you want to do, where you want to work, and the type title and compensation you’re seeking.
Create a document for yourself that outlines your target industry, companies, job titles, and anything, in particular; you’re looking for in your job search. Be prepared to be flexible and think outside the box. As a result of the pandemic, you may need to think about how your skills could translate more broadly, and possibly pivot to an adjacent position that would also make use of your experience and expertise.
Gain new skills
Now is the perfect time to be strengthening your skills and adding qualifications.
Analyze job descriptions, and reflect on the skill requirements they list. Then, consider whether you have that exact skill, if you have the skill but haven’t used it in a few years, or if you’re lacking the skill entirely, determine what you need to do to make sure you’re as qualified as possible. Use the extra time on your hands to take online courses or to get certified in skills or programs.
This pandemic will undeniably have a lasting impact on us and the global job market. Stressing about things out of your control won’t do you any good. Instead, focus on what is in your control, such as improving your skills and reaching out to your network, so you can be best prepared to thrive and dominate your job search as the economy begins to reopens.