Brenda Bernstein discusses the differences and similarities of a job search during COVID-19
Are you conducting a job search during COVID-19? If so, you are not alone. Many people have lost their jobs, and others are seeing opportunities to advance their careers. No matter what your job search status, some of the rules have changed with COVID-19 – and a lot of them have stayed the same! Here are some issues you might face if you are currently in a job search.
Choosing a Company
I understand that you might be feeling desperate to start a new job, and it can be tempting, especially in these trying times, to take any reasonable position you are offered. But you need to make sure the company is a match for you. Is it the size you want? Is the culture a fit? Are employees happy? Does the leadership have integrity? Can you work remotely if needed? What type of training and supervision will you receive? Do you like the executive(s) you will be supporting? These questions are critical to your future happiness – whether or not we’re in a pandemic.
In a COVID-19 job search, also consider whether the company will be stable or even growing during a pandemic. You don’t want to set yourself up to be in another job search in a few months. If you can, take some time to breathe and make sure you’re making a good choice.
Updating Your Resume
Keyword optimization for Applicant Tracking Software systems (ATS) is more essential than ever in a COVID-19 job search, since so many candidates are applying for each position.
While ATS systems are not always the best judge of a job match, they are a reality. You must make sure your resume is compatible with ATS and that the software can read everything properly. Read articles about ATS to learn more!
If you lost your job due to COVID-19 and are still looking, take this time (if you can) to beef up your resume with a certification or by volunteering your skills to an organization in need. Anything you do to make yourself more marketable and contribute to the world will be seen favorably during this time.
Potential employers will also understand if you have a job end date of March 2020; they will assume there was a COVID-19 layoff. But after 6 months, if you have not done any work-related activity or been consumed by caring for family, there could start to be a negative connotation. So, stay active as much as you can.
Dress professionally, arrive on time, and, if in person, be nice to the receptionist! Prepare, prepare, prepare – meaning research the company, know the background of your interviewers, and read the company website top to bottom. Answer questions directly and concisely. And write a thank you note!
If your interview is conducted by video, make sure you have a well-lit and uncluttered background, that your sound is clear, and that you will not be interrupted. Dress as if you were going to attend an interview in person. Show up early, just as if you were coming to the interview in person (you never know what technological difficulties might arise). Be polite to any administrative staff helping with the interview set-up – just as if you were interviewing in person! Do you pick up on a theme here?
Finally, remember that you are interviewing the company just as much as they are interviewing you. Ask any questions that are important to you.
Taking Action NOW
If you Google “companies hiring coronavirus,” you will discover that many organizations actually are hiring now due to an increase in demand for their services. While the competition for these jobs might be high, it’s definitely worth continuing your search. You might be forced to pivot into a new industry or new version of what you used to do. This is a time where creativity is called for in some fields.
Most of all, keep getting support and know that there is a way to succeed in a job search during COVID-19!