As our current job market is shifting and experiencing layoffs and companies are moving to remote work to combat the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), many are wondering, “How do I even search for a new job during this uncertain time?” In chaos, anxiety and uncertainty it’s normal to be discouraged from developing a strong job search.
Although hiring has slowed down, companies are still actively recruiting and looking for strong new talent to problem solve and continue to be resilient in the face of adversity. While less hiring means a more competitive search, you can also leverage this time to stand out within your job search by being strategic, intentional and nimble to land a job that you’re passionate about. Remember that you have options. In addition to full-time employment opportunities, companies are hiring to fill project and contract-based positions. During this tumultuous time you have the opportunity to enhance your expertise, build your network and reflect on your next step professionally. Hiring during a crisis also means a quicker hiring process and cycle.
We can’t, obviously, predict when this virus will subside and the job market will steady itself, but we can choose to adequately equip ourselves with information to gain job stability. Follow our tips for conducting a job search during uncertain times, to gain the confidence and clarity to move forward in your career.
1. Create a timeline for your job search.
If you are currently unemployed, it’s likely you feel a sense of urgency. If you truly need a job fast, consider your job search itself a full-time job. To keep your sanity, set a timeline for when you’d like to get a new role to level-set expectations while simultaneously benchmarking career goals. Instead of blindly applying, focus your efforts on leveraging your network to source additional opportunities and keep track of your progress.
2. Strengthen connections with your networks online.
Tap into your networks that might include friends, professional mentors, and old colleagues to see if they know anyone hiring or organizations with open roles. Seek out like-minded professionals that you admire online to spark conversations about possible opportunities and virtual networking events and chats. Join professional groups online (Facebook and LinkedIn) to expand your job search and network. During this downtime, it’s the perfect opportunity to make new authentic connections and revive old ones.
3. Identify and apply to growth industries and specializations.
Now is the time to identify and apply to companies that have adapted well during the uncertainty and are also uniquely positioned to add value to our new normal environment. Most tech companies are equipped to transition their in-office roles to remote ones in efforts to keep things going as usual. Additionally, healthcare and manufacturing companies are also hiring rapidly as the demand for resources continues to spike due to COVID-19.
4. Revamp your resume and online profiles.
Take the time to revamp your resume and online profiles to highlight your current career accomplishments, education, passions and skills. Lean into developing your brand to give employers a sense of your narrative and mission, which will differentiate you from many applicants. When applying for remote jobs, read the job description carefully to showcase the specific skills that match the job description.
5. Add to your professional toolkit by taking online courses.
Use your free time to take online courses to expand your professional toolkit. It’s important to take advantage of the opportunity to bolster your qualifications by learning new skills. Having a few certifications under your belt will be helpful when applying for new roles. Given the current climate, several online learning companies have offered to share professional training and courses for free, like Coursera.
6. Be flexible, and consider temporary opportunities.
Consider gig work or freelance jobs to tide you over. If it’s your first time entering the realm of freelance, take stock of your top transferable skills and then search for opportunities to leverage these in a different capacity. Think of a passion or a potential side hustle that you haven’t tapped into yet. How can you spin that activity into a part-time job or freelance opportunity? Be agile enough to pivot as needed.
7. Prepare to interview virtually, and start work as a remote employee.
While we’re all social distancing, virtual interviewing will be our new normal, so be prepared. Dress appropriately, as though you’re heading into the company’s office, control your environment and find a place that’s quiet, clutter-free and well-lit. Stay ahead of the curve by downloading video platforms like Zoom to ensure your interview goes over smoothly.
8. Be patient with slower processes.
Try to be patient with yourself and employers. This is a tough time for us all and companies are experiencing challenges undergoing so much change in a short time. Recognize that processes will go slower than usual, given that companies are trying to adapt to our new normal.