You are probably as tired of hearing about the coronavirus, the pandemic, and the global crisis as much as the next person. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like it will be going away soon even amidst prayers, following health and safety protocols to help flatten the curve. With a lot of hope and support for the community, there’s still a long time coming to see the end of this world crisis.
It has been months since the entire world had to put social lives on pause, businesses on indefinite closure, and employment in the back seat. The whole economy scrambles to adapt to the "new normal" as the virus continues to spread, and cases are on the rise.
There is some good news; a silver lining.
As the world adapts to minimal to zero in-person contact, the workforce has been rapid to tailor its structure to cater to the majority's needs today.
Businesses have been flexible enough to acclimatize to work-from-home or remote job settings for employees' health and safety without compromising the flow of companies. Because of this, it is business as usual (with the new norm) and, fortunately, the recruitment and hiring process has not significantly been affected, either.
Landing a job on its own is challenging enough. Landing a job during a pandemic may seem even more of an obstacle. Fret not. Here are some guidelines on how to land a job during the pandemic:
1.Evaluate and enhance your skills
The reality is, you may need to transition careers and change industries. So, list down your skills, achievements, and projects that you have done previously to get a clear perspective of which jobs you can qualify or do well.
This is saying that instead of focusing on the industry where you are planning to transfer, concentrate on evaluating if your skills are transferable. Transferable skills are the type of skills that you have accumulated through different exposures or experiences. These are not necessarily technical skills, but skills that are extremely useful across different job scopes or roles. Identifying these skills that you possess will help you widen your options in the workforce, instead of narrowing down opportunities based on what you are "used to."
2.Narrow down the industries that are actively hiring
With people’s tendency to focus on a specific industry or similar career that is familiar and by default, very easy to ‘breeze through’, it's no surprise that some may rule out other career options that are unfamiliar. We probably think that because our own industry is not doing too well in terms of employment, the rest of the workforce must be suffering, also. But essential with the economy and the risk, there are other jobs that are actively hiring and those that are least affected by the pandemic.
Keep an open mind, as well. There is a big chance that you may need to steer away from the industry you are comfortable with to get a job during these times, most especially if the industry you were previously with took a big hit in terms of employment and business operations.
Delivery of goods, construction, stores, healthcare, and public transportation, to name a few, has not stopped on their tracks because of the pandemic. Freelance jobs have also skyrocketed with the transition from an office setting to work-from-home arrangements.
So one thing: Don't limit yourself.
- Work on that resumé, and spend time on putting together a portfolio.
Your resumé will most likely be the sole reason that you will be called for a job interview. Ideally, you have already boosted your skills and narrowed down the industry for you to seek job vacancies. Now, work on updating and polishing your resumé.
So, make sure that it adequately relays your skills, qualifications, and value as an employee.
If you are veering towards the creative industry, such as marketing, content writing, or graphics, putting together a portfolio to go with your resumé is a more effective way to showcase what you can do.
3.Take advantage of online platforms and job search engines
As if on cue, the pandemic hit the globe right in the middle of the age of digital transformation. As technology advances, businesses can quickly adapt to the latest software, systems, or apps to make the workflow more efficient and avoid being obsolete next to competitors.
As users and job seekers, it is urgent and imperative that people understand these advancements and upgrade skills to be digitally adept.
According to the Harvard Business Review, "..digital transformation is less about technology and more about people. You can pretty much buy any technology, but your ability to adapt to an even more digital future depends on developing the next generation of skills…"
The majority of job searches and recruitment processes are done online. Almost all human resources personnel, hiring managers, and recruiters seek potential employees through job search engines or job boards. This leads to knowing and understanding that social networking sites are also used for recruitment, over 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn.
In short, you need to be on LinkedIn to have the best opportunity to be in-the-loop of job vacancies, and at the same time, be visible to recruiters who are daily browsing for prospective candidates.
There are various ways to stand-out on the site. You can upload your resumé to LinkedIn, incorporate visual media or a portfolio of your work, reach out to a recruiter, join professional forums on networking platforms; there are countless of avenues digitally to get the ball rolling in landing you a job.
- Reconnect with your old network, and grow with new ones
Over 80% of job opportunities were gained through friends, colleagues, or word-of-mouth. It’s more the same with recruiters and hiring managers but it’s more through networking and referral to get quality applicants and prospective employees.
As a job seeker, it is only wise to get on-board with reconnecting with your contacts and let them know that you are open to work. It is not just a great way to seek out job opportunities, but it's also a great medium to expand your network and contacts.
4.Nail that interview
It really is true: practice makes perfect. You've landed an interview. What's next? Half of the battle is getting your resumé noticed. The deciding factor is how you fare doing the interview.
It really makes a difference when you practice your answers with the possible questions that the interviewer might ask. Make a list if needed, especially of your skills, relevant training, credentials, and any other information that will be useful on the job applied.
Research the common questions and come up with sincere answers to these. Try not to memorize word per word of the answers; you may sound robotic and ingenuine. Understand the context of the questions and instil the answers. This will allow you to have a more natural conversation flow when responding to the interviewer's questions.
And lastly, don't forget to show gratitude for the interviewer's time. Thank them for the opportunity and express your eagerness for the vacancy.
5.There's no shame in following up
The waiting game is probably the toughest part. Recruiters interview hundreds of applicants weekly, so it is no surprise that there may be some delay with their hiring decision.
"A post-interview e-mail reassuring me of their interest in the position shows ambition, and also tells me that the candidate enjoyed the interview and is indeed still interested in working for me. Plus, it's the courteous thing to do.", recounted Zohar Pinhasi, CEO of MonsteCloud Cyber Security.
So, if you missed asking the interviewer the turnaround time hiring process, don't fret.
Pace yourself. Following-up once a week with a seven-day gap from the point of follow-up is acceptable. While a phone call or text message is equally acceptable, following-up via e-mail is less imposing.
A job seeker's role in ensuring that you have the highest chances of getting that job during the pandemic is to be prepared, cross all the T's, and dot all the I's. The rest is really in the hiring manager's hands.