Job search has always been complicated and often daunting. Job search during (and post) pandemic is even more so.
Everyone involved is scrambling to adjust to the new challenges that have come with the pandemic.
I’ve pulled together resources and advice from various experts in different aspects of job search.
Below you’ll find some specific advice.
Post-COVID-19 Job Search: What’s Changing
Social Media Is More Important Than Ever
According to research by Jobvite, cited by Scott Steinberg in a CNBC article:
“84% of recruiters are currently adapting their hiring processes to facilitate remote exchanges. Of them, 58% are now using social media networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, and even Instagram to connect with potential hires, while nearly half are increasing the number of postings that they make on these services to advertise open positions.
A growing army of recruiters are likewise turning to videoconferencing solutions to screen and interview candidates as well, with as many as 8 in 10 now making it a key part of the hiring process. Digital communications tools such as artificially intelligent job outreach programs and text messaging are also increasingly being implemented as a means of connecting with candidates. But 55% of recruiters are also falling back on phone calls to source potential hires.”
I offered 4 LinkedIn things you should be doing to keep your personal brand top-of-mind:
- Posting updates regularly
- Uploading videos to your updates and adding videos to your profile
- Updating the content in your profile regularly
- Staying active with LinkedIn Groups
For all you need to know about LinkedIn for job search, get my Essential LinkedIn Guide.
Video Conferencing and Video Interviewing are the Thing
Tech columnist for USA TODAY Jefferson Graham says that, just like in in-person meetings, “for video meetings, the eyes have it.”
People often are not aware of how poorly they come across:
“We think we’re making eye contact in a video meeting because we’re looking at the faces on our screens and responding accordingly. But the camera isn’t on the screen, it’s usually above it, and sometimes even below.
Neither is flattering, and the bottom approach, seen on some laptops, is about as unflattering as they come. Laptop magazine referred to the camera on some of these models as a “nose cam,” Horror film directors have used the technique in films like “Frankenstein” and “Dracula” to scare the “yell” out of you.”
To overcome this predicament, videographer Larry Becker notes in the article what he does to stay focused correctly:
“He makes a small sticky note with the topics he wants to cover from the call and pastes it right atop the webcam. He makes sure that it’s a small sticky note, ‘so I’m not breaking eye contact and obviously looking away. ‘The bigger the sticky note, the more obvious it is you’re looking away.'”
Job Interviewing Looks and Works Differently
As noted above, you’ll need to prepare for video interviewing, and learn best practices.
Not only will you need to prepare to answer the traditional interview questions, and know what questions YOU should ask. You’ll also need good answers to the workplace challenges COVID 19 has brought.
Career coach Barbara Schultz suggests that you position yourself in interviews as someone who can help the employer solve some of the problems associated with the pandemic.
Here are some job interview questions she says you can expect to be asked now:
- Have you ever worked remotely? If so, what changes did you make to adapt to an at-home work environment?
- What aspects about working from home did you enjoy, and which did you find most challenging?
- When working remotely, how do you organize your day?
- What ways would you communicate with your manager and co-workers in a remote setting?
- What are your thoughts on how our teams can collaborate? And how can we interact with clients safely once we return to work?
- How have you handled the stress of Coronavirus?
- What would you personally do to maintain safety in the workplace?
- What life lessons have you learned during the pandemic?
- Will you be willing to work in an office again when/if working remotely is no longer required?
Interview Questions to Be Careful Answering
An article on Career Contessa warned that some interviewers may fish for personal information they’re not entitled to by asking questions that tiptoe on the line of legality, such as:
- How is home life during the pandemic?
- Where is your home office located?
- What does your home life look like right now?
- Do you have any childcare or caretaking needs?
- Are you overly concerned about your own health?
Post Corona Job Search Tips for 50 Somethings
In an article with tips for 50+ job seekers, career coach Dorothy Dalton put it plainly:
“One of the most vulnerable groups in this, or any other, recession is the 50 somethings . . . they are simply more expensive than junior employees. Severing a few senior execs or older employees can make an instant and positive impact on any organisation’s salary bill. Additionally, at this level employees are also costly in terms of perks and benefits, with company cars, phones, laptops, health and pension plans and longer holidays etc, all contributing to reducing a company’s overheads when they no longer work for the organisation.”
She detailed a number of things 50+ job seekers should consider:
- Get emotional support
- Set up coping strategies
- Take stock
- Update your resume
- Identify your transferable skills
- Update/upgrade your professional skills
- Take interim assignments
- Tap into your network
- Get comfortable with social media
- Assess your physical image
- Stay fit and healthy
- Prepare for the new kind of interviews
- Be willing to relocate
- Do some volunteer work
- Become an expert
- Determine whether self-employment is right for you
- Be willing to change tactics
You Need to Become Relevant Again
We all know how much the pandemic has disrupted so many aspects of our personal lives. It’s also disrupted businesses and industries.
The better you position yourself as someone who is prepared to help your target companies thrive through the disruption, the more valuable you’ll appear to them. Begin by identify the particular disruption impacting them.
Marc Miller of Career Pivot put it this way:
“Just about every company and industry has been disrupted by the pandemic. I like to think they fall into 5 broad categories:
• Workplace disruption including the need to go remote with the workforce
• HR disruption including the need to change procedures in hiring
• Customer buying habits changing
• Regulatory changes with the most glaring example of this being the HIPAA changes and their effect on healthcare delivery
• Supply chain disruption
You will need to research how each company and industry is being disrupted. The world is so interconnected that you will need to follow the dots to find the choke points. A good example of this is the US automotive industry cutting production in the winter of 2021 due to a limited supply of semiconductor microcontrollers.”
Take Care of Your Brain
- Do you have trouble thinking or concentrating?
- Do you find yourself forgetting the simplest things?
- Are you often losing your train of thought mid-sentence?
- Do you struggle to recall the names of ordinary things?
Like most of us, you’re probably suffering from pandemic brain fog. This is not just something affecting people who have actually had Covid. It’s what’s happening to our brains as a result of the isolation and other aspects of life during the pandemic.
An article in the Atlantic noted:
“‘We’re all walking around with some mild cognitive impairment,’ said Mike Yassa, a neuroscientist at UC Irvine. ‘Based on everything we know about the brain, two of the things that are really good for it are physical activity and novelty. A thing that’s very bad for it is chronic and perpetual stress.’
Living through a pandemic—even for those who are doing so in relative comfort—constantly exposes us to small doses of unpredictable stress which impacts the executive function, learning and memory regions of the brain. That stress doesn’t necessarily feel like a panic attack or a bender or a sleepless night, though of course it can.”
What Can You Do to Improve Brain Function?
Dr. Borna Bonakdarpour, a professor of neurology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, offered some tips to combat brain fog:
- Safely socialize with friends and family, preferably outdoors.
- Challenge your brain with activities like puzzles and reading.
- Listen to music more often.