5 Expert Tips for Job Hunting During a Pandemic

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
Sep 11, 2020

Sep 11, 2020 • by Rebecca Smith

For many people, the hunt for a new job never stops. Millennials especially consider the job search to be ongoing. But is that still true during a pandemic? Although the pandemic has changed the job hunt, you should not assume that no one is currently hiring. Many people are leaving the job market to care for families, creating openings. Other fields are actually expanding, or expanding in new directions, also leading to new hires. Career experts say that if you’re unhappy or insecure at your current job, you should focus on networking. If you have been laid off or furloughed, your focus should be on finding and applying for jobs.

Experts have these pieces of advice for your new Covid-friendly job search.

Be realistic about timing

According to Indeed, it takes approximately nine weeks to find a new job. That’s during normal times. The higher up you are, or the more specialized your skillset, the longer your job search may take. Teams that are not used to working remotely may be taking longer than normal to hire. Many companies will not make hiring decisions until they see what happens with the upcoming presidential election. The winter holidays will also extend the timeframe. In other words, don’t start your job hunt with the expectation of starting something new immediately. If you need immediate work, you might want to consider your freelance options, or taking a temporary job. But, if you want a new job in 2021, start looking now. 

Keep up your networking

A lot of networking moved online long before Covid. But, having a good online presence is more important now than ever. Even though you are no longer taking people for coffee, you still need to be respectful of their time. Don’t send random emails or connection requests. Be clear about your goals. Look for professional groups to join on Facebook and LinkedIn. Make sure to keep the conversation professional. You never know if the person reading your comment is also the person you’re interviewing with next week. So, be discreet and polite. Post relevant articles and offer comments on topics that allow you to demonstrate your professionalism and expertise. Save complaints and political comments for your personal feed. However, make sure your personal feed is private and can’t be seen by anyone Googling your name.

Research

Not every field is experiencing hardship. Some fields are actually thriving during the pandemic. Before you begin your job search, make sure to research which fields are hiring and which are experiencing slowdowns. You may want to shift your search or resume to include related fields you hadn’t considered before. In addition to researching fields, you should also research salaries. Experts recommend using sites like Glassdoor to research salaries during your job hunt. In this age of remote work, you might be interested in jobs located in other states. Make sure you fully understand the difference in cost of living between where you live and where you are applying.

Best Virtual Foot Forward

Most interviewing will take place online for the foreseeable future. Even companies that are not working remotely may be trying to limit Covid exposure by doing early stage interviews over Zoom. 

To prepare for a virtual interview practice with a friend. Job search site, The Muse encourages job hunters to learn how to angle the camera, set up lighting, and eliminate background noise. Although it’s tempting to go to virtual job interviews dressed only from the waist up, don’t do it! You never know when a loud noise or spilled drink will force you to move. In fact, work from home expert Maya Middlemiss suggests that you not only be fully dressed, but make sure there’s nothing inappropriate anywhere near you. Middlemiss notes that you never know if the person interviewing you is looking at you on a big screen or a tiny phone, and that the interview might be recorded. The last thing you want to do in any interview is moon the recruiter (or show them your unmade bed). 

If you are invited to an in-person interview, weigh your decision to attend carefully. Does the company practice Covid safety or are you putting your health at risk by interviewing? If a company refuses to answer your questions about distancing and protocols, consider if that’s a place you want to work. 

Redo your resume and LinkedIn profile

According to some experts, LinkedIn is now as important as your resume when it comes to job hunting. You should assume that anyone who receives your resume, or networking request, will look at your LinkedIn profile. Make sure you understand how LinkedIn works. For example, when you apply for a job on LinkedIn, the recruiter only sees the short phrase under the name on your LinkedIn profile, not your complete profile. Is your phrase job hunt ready? 

Don’t just recreate your resume on LinkedIn. Your LinkedIn profile gives you much more leeway to show your creativity and include details about your experience. 

If you are changing fields, or haven’t looked for a new job recently, consider hiring a resume writer or expert to review your basic resume. However, don’t think that once you’ve created your resume you’re done. You should create two or three basic versions of your resume, and then update your resume for each specific job opportunity. Similar to when creating websites for specific audiences using a contact form builder. You can’t create a one size fits all website or form. Specific and unique resumes go a long way in capturing the attention of your audience.

Negotiate

Once you land the new job of your dreams, don’t forget to negotiate your salary and other benefits. Experts advise that you negotiate your entire job offer, including benefits, at once. One thing to consider is your desire, or ability, to work remotely. Many jobs are currently remote, but will shift to “in person” after the pandemic. It’s important to factor in your eventual commute time and costs with your job offer. 

A bad economy can leave you feeling desperate in your job search. But, just because we’re in the middle of a pandemic doesn’t mean that you can’t negotiate for the salary and benefits you want. Developing basic negotiation skills can also help you in your current job. 

As the commercials and newscasters say, we are living in “unprecedented times.” This makes it important to focus on the parts of your job search you can control. Keeping your resume and LinkedIn profile updated, as well as networking with peers on a regular basis, and staying up to date on the newest interview techniques can put you in a better situation for job hunting now or in the future.