Finding a job amidst the pandemic can be extremely difficult for most. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as many as twenty-four million Americans could not find work due to COVID-19. Many companies cut staff hours and benefits, further impacting the population. Whether you are unemployed, facing lay-offs, or struggling in your work environment, perhaps it is time to take a look at your resume and consider ways to improve it with COVID-19 in mind. Having a new resume on hand will make the job searching process more manageable and lets you stand out in a vast pool of candidates.
1. Reflect on Recent Experiences
The new world of COVID-19 has made drastic changes to the job searching and hiring process. In some industries, remote work is on the rise, while others cannot function remotely. Some sectors have been significantly impacted, while others simply adjusted and moved forward. The most important part of being a candidate in the hiring market right now is adaptability. Hiring managers would like to see versatile and flexible candidates when it comes to their work environment. Find ways to highlight aspects of your job history that emphasize technology or even remote work. If you can reflect on some of your recent experiences in a way that will highlight your adaptability, you will be on your way to enhancing your resume.
Consider things you have done that involved technology in some way:
- Hosting virtual meetings.
- Becoming a master at apps such as Zoom, Slack, Skype, etcetera.
- Owning your own social media page or blog.
- Creating virtual resources.
- Attending virtual conferences or workshops.
By looking back on your recent experiences, you can determine technological aspects to include on your resume. Once you have your skills in mind, it will be easy to tailor your resume to meet current demands. Including these aspects can help you expand more on your skills, making you a valuable candidate. The ability to describe yourself in a few short words in today’s workplace is essential!
2. Enhance Your Talent
For many, quarantine has led people to discover or indulge in new hobbies. Ideally, you have had time to dive into a new hobby or skill. If you haven't been so lucky, now is the time! Exploring hobbies or enhancing your soft and hard skills can be a great inclusion on your resume. It can also serve as a practical talking point during the interview. Hiring managers will see that you were able to maintain a growth mindset and grow during a tumultuous time.
If you have trouble building upon your soft or hard skills at home, you can try these alternative methods:
- Take online courses. Many online programs have made their courses free during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as Coursera, Pluralsight, and HubSpot. You can earn certifications in many fields, even if they are not directly related to your career. For instance, if you're a consultant, you can take a course in Social Media Strategy. These certifications on your resume will show employers that you're hungry to learn.
- Attend virtual events. Events and webinars are now widely accessible more than ever — many have gone virtual. If you're a college student, you can check to see if your school is hosting any virtual events. Likewise, search for events hosted by universities or companies that are open to the public. You have a high chance of attending meetings hosted by enterprises such as Adobe, which you can leverage on your resume.
- Online networking. Through LinkedIn, you can access virtual events that can make networking easier. Effective networking also relieves some burden off your back during the job searching process, as they may aid you in your efforts. Connect with others whenever possible.
Completing any of these tasks or exploring a new skill will help your resume stand out. In a 2020 study done by research company Gartner, 82% of business leaders plan to let employees continue to commit to remote work. This makes working from home essential, and it's a sign that the workplace is adapting and shifting from the norm. Jobs may also consist of hybrids of both in-office and WFH despite the position. Knowing to prepare for that and having the proof that you are capable is crucial in today's work environment.
3. Tailor Your Resume
Tweaking resumes to meet with keywords of the job posting is necessary. Recruiters and hiring managers prioritize seeing specific skills mentioned in their job posting. For example, if a position requires organized and presented leadership qualities, they would scour your resume to see those keywords. While this is obvious advice, remember that unemployment is high, which means you're facing more candidates than usual. Simply acknowledging keywords in a job posting on your resume can give you better odds of getting an interview.
Additionally, you may want to look at the type of position they offer. What is the work environment? Is it purely remote work? Remote until further notice? Or a hybrid of in-office and remote work? Knowing this information can help you select precisely what you want to showcase on your resume. If the position entails a combination, mention instances of both in-office performance and remote work if applicable.
You may also be someone who has little to no work experience. If this is the case, you can brag about any soft or hard skills you have learned while quarantined or at school. Having a high GPA, taking rigorous classes, or participating in clubs are great points on a resume.
4. Include a Resume Summary or Objective
Because there is a higher number of unemployed people, you will likely face a more competitive pool during the process's resume stage. By including a resume summary or objective, you can hook hiring managers into actually reading your entire resume. Depending on your level of experience, either or can suit you.
If you're someone with barely any experience, you'll likely write a resume summary. It is a brief statement of your overall skills and expertise. You can use this section to elaborate on one or two soft skills that match the job description.
If you're someone with more experiences or wanting to change jobs, you'll likely write a resume objective. It is a short statement that includes the position you're applying for, along with short-term or long-term career goals.
5. Update Your Online Presence
Employers are highly likely to check your online presence now more than ever when prioritizing candidates. This helps them get a feel for your identity outside of your resume. Having a clean, filtered, and professional social media is ideally the best and safest way to get selected. Make sure your page is up to date and that your format is organized and clear to read.
According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates, making it a crucial factor in getting hired. By updating your social media, it gives employers an honest impression about you. Things you can post can be certificates of online courses you took during quarantine. Having evidence of your skills on social media can further elevate your resume. It will serve as proof that you managed to sustain during the COVID-19 pandemic.
6. Stay Resilient
During these difficult times, along with adaptability, flexibility, and creativity, one of the most important things that you can do is remain positive and stay resilient. Without a doubt, this has been an extremely challenging period of time for many people across the country and beyond our own borders. Understanding that we are all in this together and relying on support from family, friends, and colleagues is essential.
Reach out for help if you need it, make time to connect with friends and family, and keep your head up! Job searching is not an easy task, no matter what the surrounding environment is like. Give yourself a break here and there, and know that you can do this!