How to Prepare to Get Back in the Job Market Post COVID-19

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Apr 10, 2020

Apr 10, 2020 • by Rebecca Smith

Being a job seeker in these current conditions can be difficult. With over 20 million either furloughed or laid off , that means the odds of companies who haven’t significantly decreased their footprint are not likely to be hiring. Whether you were laid off and seeking a new job. Or just happened to be in the market for a new job while the pandemic accelerated, here’s what you can do to sharpen your skills while you have the time.

Keep your network close

Jobs that are secured through networking or through mutual contacts have an 85% greater chance of being offered employment over those that have not. This is a wonderful time to reach out to those you care about, send a thoughtful email, and ensure their safety. This is a great way to stay connected with your work network or personal network that can be utilized at a later date.

Build a list of the names of the people who matter to you in your network. Try to spend time thinking about who has been the most influential to you in your career. Build a spreadsheet in Google Docs and check off each person on the list you want to stay connected with. Be sure to send a customized and thoughtful email. If you want to, connect by phone.

How you can get started:

  • Create a list of your most important colleagues, mentors, advisors, and more.
  • Write at least 15 emails each day connecting on an empathetic level.

Sharpen your interview assets

Many job seekers rush their resume writing process. But now is a good time to reflect on how you might be able to better describe what makes you unique to the hiring manager. Think about the accomplishments you were able to achieve in all of your prior work experiences. Write them down and start using them to describe each job in your previous experience section on your resume.

Ask a friend or family member to review your resume and provide you feedback. They should be able to look over your resume and feel surprised in what you’ve been able to achieve at each of your prior jobs. If they don’t feel that level of surprise, you might want to revisit describing your experience.

Use those accomplishments as a way of writing the perfect cover letter template for yourself. Integrate your work achievements and how that makes you a perfect fit for future work. Leave a section in the cover letter that you’ll be able to customize for your future employer and role you’re applying for.

Each of your custom sections of your cover letter should contain references to what makes the role successful while alluding to your understanding of the company’s values, company’s culture, company’s objectives, and any recent news or developments.

How you can get started:

  • Spend time reviewing your resume and how you describe each prior job experience.
  • Have a friend or family member review your resume or cover letter.
  • Spend time collecting work achievements you feel make you a valuable asset to any company you might apply to.
  • Create the perfect narrative to your work experience.

Keep applying for jobs

Even though many companies aren’t actively hiring in these market conditions. It doesn’t mean you should slow your application process down. The only way to ensure that you don’t receive a job offer is to stop applying. Use this time to write a higher quality cover letter, speaking to the job description and qualifications that your future employer or hiring manager is seeking.

Take a minute to try and connect with the hiring manager through LinkedIn if their name appears on the job listing. This can be a great way to make sure the hiring manager see’s your name and portrait for when they return to their regular hiring duties.

How you can get started:

  • Create a list of the companies and jobs you see opportunities at.
  • Try to apply for at least 5-10% more jobs than you normally would.

Sharpen your interview talents

Taking this time to sharpen your interviewing skills will be very useful. While your job applications might not lead to a significant number of phone interviews or Zoom interviews, you can be the most prepared you’ve ever been for a job interview. Take time to sit with family and friends to have mock interviews, going over behavioral interview questions as well as common interview questions. Use this time to craft the perfect narrative to each of your answers. From storytelling answers to those that are short and impactful.

You can even go as far as to start preparing for the post-interview requirements, like coming up with the perfect personalized “thank you email” after the interview . These emails are largely impactful for hiring managers as they display your professionalism as well as your motivation for wanting to secure the position. In these job market conditions, you’ll certainly have a lot more competition in the job market. Being well-prepared with your post-interview techniques can be a great way to speed up the process and ensure you get a job offer as soon as possible.

How you can get started:

  • Ask a friend or family member to go through a mock interview session with you.
  • Provide them a list of the most common interview questions.
  • Spend at least 60 minutes in your mock interview session.
  • Reflect on where you could make improvements and set goals for yourself.
  • Spend time writing your ideal thank you note after the interview.

Stay motivated

While these tips and “jobs for the weekend” won’t immediately solve the issue that many employers have frozen their hiring process until the pandemic begins to reach some resolution, it can help to make sure you’re well prepared to be a top candidate in the job market once things return to normal. It’s imperative that as a job seeker you recognize the level of competition that will be in the job market. More than 20 million individuals will now be competing alongside yourself for any open opportunity. While they might not be applying for your same role, it can be certain that hiring decisions will be made with far more analysis against the business and ensure that each hire is made with clear intent and review. All resulting in you needing to be well-prepared.