The coronavirus pandemic changed the way employers hire new workers and, as a result, has altered the job search process for prospective employees. For example, so much has become virtual – from networking to interviewing. But job seekers need to be resilient and diligent in their search, as jobs are still available, and employers want to find qualified candidates.
Here are some tips for job searching during the pandemic:
You want to make sure your resume, application, cover letter, and email correspondence do not include mistakes. Hiring managers and applicant tracking systems often use grammar and spelling errors as a quick way to screen out applicants, as these issues can be perceived as a lack of attention to detail or poor communication skills. Make sure to use tools such as spellcheck and Grammarly to identify and correct mistakes, and if possible, consider having a peer or mentor proofread your application materials. Also, reread your emails multiple times to ensure any issues, no matter how small, are corrected.
Cast a wide net
Many of us are creatures of habit. We find one job search platform that we like and stick with it, but doing this could be severely limiting your search and potential opportunities. Use several different platforms such as LinkedIn, Indeed, and Glassdoor, and check Google search and industry association job boards to make sure you’re not missing anything. Additionally, visit the websites of companies you may be interested in working for and manually check for jobs on their “careers” page.
Make sure you’re in the running for several jobs, as it’s rare to get the first job you apply for. Set a goal for yourself and aim to apply for a set number of jobs each week. You increase your chances of securing an interview and ultimately a job if you consistently submit high-quality applications and have someone at the company pass along your resume. Keep a log of all the positions you apply to make sure you’re not applying for the same position across different platforms.
Use LinkedIn for virtual networking
LinkedIn is one of the largest networking sites available, and it’s an ideal platform for job searching. Make sure your profile is complete with your education and work experience and include keywords related to the position you’d like, making it easier for hiring managers and recruiters to find you. You can even select a setting that shows only recruiters – not the general public – that you’re open to new job opportunities.
LinkedIn can also show if you have any connections at an organization you’re interested in. If you do, try reaching out to that person and see if they have any insights about the job or hiring process they’d be willing to share with you. They might also pass your information along to the hiring manager and/or human resources.
LinkedIn also provides opportunities to expand your network if you have a good reason to connect with someone you don’t know. Consider sending a personal note with your request to connect. For example, if you were inspired by a professional you heard speak during an industry event, let them know what you enjoyed about their speech and that you’d like to stay in touch. This person may not have a job opening for you at the time, but it’s possible they could be hiring in the future, or they may be able to give you a warm introduction to someone else in the industry.
Treat virtual interviews seriously
As the need for social distancing remains, most traditional job interviews are being substituted with phone and video interviews. While it may remove some of the excitement of meeting people face to face and the opportunity to see if the hiring manager and candidate have good chemistry, some people find that they get less anxious and perform better during virtual or phone interviews.
Virtual interviews might make you think it’s okay to dress and act casual. However, it’s important that you still appear and act professionally as employers will be judging whether you will represent their organization well. Make sure to wear business attire and take your interview in a tidy and quiet space.
Keep in mind that video interviews and meetings aren’t going away, and depending on your field, you could work remotely indefinitely. Understanding how to use video conferencing tools and conducting yourself well during a virtual interview could be another opportunity to show employers that you can handle the job.
Have an open mind
It’s not uncommon for college students to have a specific dream job in mind, such as becoming a system analyst at Google or a labor and delivery nurse. However, by keeping an open mind, many students and graduates have found other roles they enjoy just as much – or realized that their dream job has changed. For example, a nurse who always wanted to work in labor and delivery may learn during their clinical experiences that they actually find working in a more fulfilling behavioral health setting. Try not to pigeonhole yourself into one specific role or company and have flexible expectations so you can find the perfect fit for you.