Looking for a job can be frustrating at the best of times, and looking for a job during a pandemic is doubly so.
Thousands of people were laid off during the pandemic, and many are still unemployed. Companies are still adjusting to the new reality, and much of the job search will be unlike it was before the pandemic. There will be different processes, more online interviews, and the job itself may be remote when it wasn’t before.
Companies are still hiring, however, and finding a new job isn’t impossible. With the right mindset and a good strategy, you can still have a successful job search during the pandemic.
The job search is stressful, so it’s important to make sure you prioritize your own mental health. This job search might take longer than most due to the pandemic, so staying patient and maintaining good habits are going to be key if you want to come out the other side happy and healthy.
To stay (relatively) happy, set a schedule and keep to it. Designate specific hours of the day for job-searching, and when those hours are up, allow yourself to think about something else. Try not to let the job search bleed into other aspects of your life.
This schedule should include breaks, as well as socialization and exercise. Keeping up with friends is difficult for many of the same reasons as the job search, so it’s important to make it a priority. You’re probably spending more time inside than usual as well, so incorporating exercise into your schedule will help you get those necessary endorphins. The job search is important, but you shouldn’t forget the other meaningful aspects of your life.
For more tips on staying sane during your job search, check out our article on How to avoid job search frustration and anxiety.
You probably aren’t where you thought you would be this year, but if it’s any consolation, neither is anyone else—including employers. This means that the pandemic is a good opportunity to step back and take stock of your skill set, the job market, and what you can bring to the workforce.
Before you start applying for jobs willy-nilly, consider your career goals and how the pandemic affects how you can reach them. Figure out what you are best at, what your values are, and where you think you are likely to get hired. Think of the skills you already have, the ones you want to improve, and the ones you don’t have but want to acquire. Further, consider what kind of work you want to be doing, what kind of a company you want to work for, and what kind of workplace culture suits you.
Once your reassessment is complete, you should have a clear idea of what roles you are looking for and what skills you want to focus on or develop. Understanding your priorities will help you focus on the right things in your job search.
And in the meantime, you can always start learning new skills online.
Your pre-pandemic resume might not be right for this moment in time. Employers are adapting to circumstances, usually by moving online or by introducing new safety protocols, so you should make sure your resume is ready to meet their expectations.
Your resume needs to show that you are prepared for the realities of the pandemic workplace. When you apply for a role, make sure that you customize your resume for that specific job. Research the company, their social media presence, and the job itself so you know what will be expected. The job posting should indicate what skills they are looking for. Tailor your resume to suit the job and its expectations.
For more tips on customizing your resume, check out our guide to customizing your resume.
As many workplaces are transitioning to working from home, foregrounding skills that show you are able to excel when working remotely could help your candidacy. Draw attention to any experience you have working from home, and indicate that you’re comfortable with remote activities like videoconferencing, instant messaging, and using project management software.
For more tips on creating a resume for remote work, check out our article How to write a resume to land that remote job.
Networking is integral to a job search, and when networking can’t be done in the workplace or at events, it will have to be done online. Fortunately, there are plenty of online platforms that can help you engage other people in your industry.
LinkedIn, Twitter, and Slack are all great ways to connect with people online. Find communities where people discuss changes in your industry, important new developments, productivity tools, and even job opportunities. Any friend you make online could one day lead to a referral.
It’s also important to keep up with industry news, even if you aren’t currently working. Follow thought leaders in your industry, subscribe to newsletters, and participate in online conferences to stay up to date. You can’t let a period of unemployment or instability cause you to fall too far behind.
For more tips on networking online, check out our 5 tips for successful online networking.
Interviewing during the pandemic usually means interviewing online. This might include a phone call, but a video interview is more likely. This means that in addition to preparing answers to common job interview questions, you have to be ready to ace the interview on video.
To do this, become familiar with video conferencing software like Zoom, Skype, and Teams. This is how most interviews will be taking place (and most jobs, if you are looking for an office job). If you know which platform an interview will be taking place on, make sure you have it installed on your machine ahead of time.
When you interview for a role, create a private space where the background is appropriate, the lighting is good, and you won’t be interrupted. Your interview may be taking place at home, but you still need to be as professional as possible. This includes your clothes, too!
For more tips on giving a great interview, check out our article Top 11 tips for acing your video interview.
Ben is a writer and customer support specialist with 5 years of experience helping job-seekers create their careers. He believes in the importance of a great resume and the power of coffee.
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