Pandemic Job Hunting Tips

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
Oct 15, 2020

Oct 15, 2020 • by Rebecca Smith

If you started job hunting before the pandemic or you got laid off, as a result, you'll find yourself in a pickle. Seeing how many companies are moving to work remotely or reducing their staff size can discourage people who are eager to find employment.

However, while there's a recession underway, it's better to keep applying and networking with a changed approach than to give up. 

If a company isn't hiring now, it's likely because it's trying to figure out how to operate virtually. It'll continue taking on employees in the future, especially those who kept building skills and relationships.

So, while you can't exactly find your dream job right now (unless you're lucky), you can actively continue your search. Let's go through some ways to make it more efficient. 

Online Networking

Networking traditionally takes place at corporate events. However, there won't be many such situations nowadays. So, you'll have to develop a different strategy and learn new ways to network in the online environment.

When it comes to finding opportunities, the best thing to do is contact professionals in your desired field online and ask about virtual events. You could find such people in professional LinkedIn and Facebook groups. 

Once you join a group, post about relevant topics, and add intelligent comments. It's all about making yourself visible and desirable, matching your skills with what companies require.

Developing Online Networking Skills

Don't just post anything, though. Your goal is to get noticed among many other people who're doing the same thing, and you can only do that by demonstrating superior expertise.

When companies post about issues they're facing, show a thoughtful attitude. Ask whether they need help in a way that your skills would provide. For example, if you ever led a virtual team, you could offer your services. 

Moreover, if you had a promising interview before the pandemic, you could reach out again. Acknowledge that these extraordinary circumstances prevent the company from hiring you now, and offer assistance and remind them about you. 

Virtual Interviews

The most important thing is to stay up-to-date with companies for which you'd like to work. You can follow up a lead by inviting a contact for a virtual coffee or lunch meeting

Before an interview, always run a test call on the conferencing platform the company uses. That way, you'll be sure to avoid looking incompetent due to technical issues.

Then, get ready for it by preparing your environment and camera positioning. You could also practice your virtual interview skills to ensure your delivery’s right. 

While you're speaking to a representative, ask about the pandemic and how your potential employer handled it. It'll show that you're not desperate but looking for a stable, reliable position. 

Another essential aspect is to express your understanding of the struggles the company went through, while also suggesting the ways to fix them. Think of it as a preview of what you'd bring to the team.

Skill Improvement

If you're unemployed at the moment, there’s no better time to start working on your resume. After all, the candidate pool’s only growing, and you need to stand out from the crowd. 

Plenty of places offer free classes in general and even those who don't are putting out discounts now. Some of them include:

  • Coursera. This massive, free of charge learning platform offers courses in various fields.
  • EdX. Another no-charge platform, EdX features lectures from various big-name universities.
  • Udemy. This one's primarily for software engineering and offers affordable classes.
  • Codecademy. You'll find free coding courses here.

The best part is that most of these organizations provide certificates after completing a course, thus showcasing your competence. 

So, while exploring options, take a look at your resume and see what needs updating. You could push existing capabilities to the next level or build new ones. However, be sure that you're not learning at random but developing a well-rounded skill set.

For this occasion, you could also add remote-friendly buzzwords to your resume. Get familiar with project management platforms and conferencing tools - that's what companies need in these uncertain times.

Find a Temporary Solution

For those unemployed in the middle of the pandemic, the best career move is to find any job. If freelance work doesn't align with your goals, make it temporary. It'll bring in paychecks, and who knows, it might open your mind to a company you end up liking. 

If you've never worked in freelance before, consider your skills and how you can leverage them in a remote position. 

For example, if you have an eye for detail, you could apply for an editing position. If you're unsure about specialized tasks, examine 'easy' freelance jobs. There are many straightforward tasks, such as a transcription job

While such work might be tedious at first, it brings in the bucks while leaving your mental space clear to network and build skills. 

While you're applying, highlight capabilities that show you take the initiative and stay motivated, such as communication skills, self-discipline, and time management. 

Finding Part-Time Positions

Even if you’re open to the idea, you could be unsure where to start looking for part-time work. Luckily, numerous engines and sites exist that help you with that task. Some of the most prominent include:

  • WashingtonPost. This one features almost all job types, with various filters to narrow down your search.
  • Indeed. This website is an aggregator, including listings from hundreds of websites to facilitate your search. There's also a forum where employees share experiences.
  • Craigslist. Although you’ll run into scams sometimes, Craigslist is a robust engine where you can find more or less anything. 
  • FlexJobs. The goal of this resource is to help individuals who require flexibility find work across 50 job categories. 

Final Thoughts

The bottom line is - be patient. Even if you find a temporary position to handle your financial needs during this crisis, don't give up the idea of landing your dream job in the future. 

It'll take more time as employers adapt to the economic slowdown and the actual pandemic, but as long as you stay understanding and communicative, they'll keep you in mind once the spot opens again.