A few weeks ago, the economy was booming, unemployment was at an all-time low, and job opportunities were plentiful. Like everything else in our lives, the pandemic has greatly impacted the employment landscape. What should you do if you were in the middle of a job search? Let’s look at today’s job search realities and the steps you can take to keep moving forward.
Perhaps you were thinking about changing jobs when the pandemic impacted our country or maybe your job search was already in progress. Here are things you now need to keep in mind:
Companies are still hiring.
Yes, there are companies, industries, or position categories that have come to a standstill (travel and hospitality are two examples). On the opposite end of the spectrum are some categories, like healthcare, that can’t find talent fast enough. In between are plenty of companies who still need to hire talent. Remember that prior to the pandemic, many companies were struggling with a significant talent shortage. The process might be different and it might take longer, but smart companies are moving forward with hiring for critical roles, knowing that this economic downturn will not last forever.
The process is now virtual.
Those companies who are hiring are doing so virtually. Most companies were already using phone interviews as a regular part of the process; video interviews are now also the norm. Companies are even on-boarding new hires virtually.
It’s taking longer.
Your job search is going to take longer right now for a lot of reasons. First, some companies are taking their time. There’s a lot of uncertainty as to when the economy will begin to rebound so we see companies who still want to hire, but their sense of urgency is not as high as it was a few weeks ago.
Many companies are also grappling with the transition to work-from-home, managing teams remotely, and the business practices they need to adjust to continue business operations on a virtual basis. Job seekers need to be patient and flexible as hiring managers cope with various business challenges. Patience is more important than ever.
What You Should Do
Here are some simple steps you can take during this unique time to increase your chances of job search success.
Is this the right time?
If you hadn’t already started your search, reflect on whether this is a good time to start. For some, it might make sense to stay where you are and weather the storm.
Don’t stop your search.
If you’ve already decided to conduct a search, resist the temptation to stall things completely. The economy will shift at some point and when that happens, you’ll be better positioned if you’ve kept some momentum going.
Brush up on your phone and video interview skills.
You need to be comfortable with phone interviewing, period, since it’s usually an important part of the process. We believe video interviewing will become even more prevalent when the economy starts to rebound. We’ve got helpful information for you on both phone and video interviewing. Prepare yourself to shine, even when you need to do it virtually!
Get comfortable with virtual tools.
Make sure you’re familiar with Zoom, Skype, or other video interview tools. Practice with friends or family members. Don’t let technology trip you up during your job search process.
Make sure you have a strong job search plan.
Have you spent time reflecting on exactly what it is that you want? Have you prepared interview questions that you want to ask as well as answers to the most asked questions? Have you researched and targeted the companies you’d most like to work for? The stronger your plan is, the stronger your results will be.
Nothing will ever replace the benefits that come from building face-to-face relationships, but you can make serious networking headway online. Make new connections. Join new groups. Do some virtual coffee chats. Ask for introductions. People are willing to help each other now more than ever.
Make sure you’re active on LinkedIn.
Speaking of networking, you need to master LinkedIn. Improve your profile. Share updates/posts. Comment on the updates that others are posting. Write recommendations for people you know. Make your LinkedIn presence as robust as possible.
Build some skills.
There’s now an abundance of virtual training, free classes, and webinars. Pick a skill you’ve been meaning to work on and dedicate some time each week to learning something new.
The pandemic is the source of stress and worry in so many ways in our lives. Most importantly, we sincerely hope that you and your family are safe and healthy. We want to support your job search efforts and we hope these tips help.
We’ll keep publishing more information; next we’ll explore the steps you should take if you’ve been let go. Please let us know if there you have topics you’d like to see us explore (email your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org).