COVID-19 has caused a drastic change in the job market. With members of the current workforce being laid off or furloughed, should you even be trying to send out resumes or is it safe to assume no one is hiring for the foreseeable future? While the job market is indeed slowing down, there are still many industries and job opportunities available for those who need them. This is also a prime time to ramp-up your networking game and make sure you are connected to the right individuals and companies to succeed when the job landscape gets its footing with a new normal.
These 5 tips will help you navigate the job search process during the COVID-19 pandemic and the slowing job market.
- Determine the Urgency of Your Search
- Get Comfortable Online
- Stay Connected
- Use This Time to Reflect
- Brush Up on Skill Sets
How Urgent is Your Search?
Many industries are being hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, so if you can afford to put your job search on hold, it might be in your best interest to wait and use this time to reinforce current relationships rather than send out new resumes. If you are currently employed, this probably isn’t the best time to take a leap of faith because you aren’t entirely happy with your current situation. Be creative and try to think of ways to make your job more palatable until the hiring landscape is a bit more stable.
That being said, if you are unemployed and , there are plenty of industries in need of a talented workforce. Remember, this doesn’t have to be your dream job or the position you stay in long-term. In the current economy, find a job that will provide a steady paycheck to help sustain your lifestyle for the time being.
Get Comfortable Online
Gone are the days where a group of professionals physically join each other to network in one large room. The professional networking world has gone digital, and social media platforms are ready! Head over to LinkedIn and Facebook to search for groups in a field that you would like to find a career opportunity. Once you find a group or two that seem like a perfect match for you, make your presence known. Drop a comment on an article that a fellow group member has posted and add relevant articles yourself. You never know whose attention you might garner and what opportunities could come from it.
Not only has networking gone digital, be ready to engage in a as your job search continues. Take time to familiarize yourself with as many video platforms as possible so you are prepared for whatever an interviewer might throw at you. We recommend starting with Skype, Zoom, GoToMeeting, Webex, and Facetime. Utilizing these platforms, have a friend ask you questions and provide feedback on the following:
- Your Delivery - Make sure you are speaking loudly and clearly. Ensure that you have a strong internet connection and that you aren’t breaking up.
- Your Environment - Your interviewers can see everything around you. Make sure you are dressed professionally and that your background is neutral and professional as well. *ProTip - Zoom offers the option to use an image background. You can create a professional image background using a design platform such as and use that in place of your home environment to give a great first impression.
- Your Placement on Camera - The person you’re interviewing with wants to see your entire face. Sit far enough away from the camera and make sure you aren’t just showing your forehead or eyes.
It is possible you were in the middle of an application or interview process when COVID-19 struck. Maybe the position for which you were interviewing doesn’t exist anymore, or the company has gone remote and is still trying to get their bearings. What should you do? Check-in with your contact at the company by email and acknowledge their current situation. Let them know that you are still very interested in a position whenever they get used to a new set-up and even offer to help if they need anything. Demonstrating a thoughtful and proactive attitude gives them a sneak peek of who they would be adding to their team. Find other ways to stay connected as well, like connecting on LinkedIn. If they post a status or company report, interact with the post to demonstrate you have read it and have valuable insight to contribute.
Use this Time to Reflect
Take advantage of the slowing job market right now to reflect on what you want from your career. Previously, job seekers would often take the first available opportunity or jump into a job search without really considering what they want. Sit down and make a list of potential industries, companies, and job titles you want to pursue. Mapping this information out will help make sure that you are applying for opportunities that will truly make you happy. It will also create a road map for your networking strategies. Use social media channels to connect with individuals at your target companies to start relationships so when the job market picks back up, you are one step ahead of your competitors.
Brush Up Your Skill Sets
Now that you have a list of potential industries and jobs you might want, analyze existing job descriptions to see where your resume might need a little ramping up. This is the perfect time to work on strengthening your qualifications. You may have the skills but haven’t used them in a few years or are lacking the skill entirely. There are plenty of online courses available - some free and others paid - for you to make yourself an even better candidate. Look into certifications with Google Analytics, online courses with MOOC’s, and even free Microsoft Training Tutorials to boost your skills.
We’ve seen and heard over and over that this truly is an unprecedented time and there are many elements out of our control. However, it is important to focus on those things we can control. In today’s job landscape, focus on (1) Improving your professional skill sets and (2) Reaching out to your network. Focusing on these two elements will help you lay the groundwork so that when the job market is ready for you, you have opened the right doors and rekindled the right relationships.