How to job search during COVID-19
COVID-19 has made the task of finding a job even more daunting. This uncertainty has changed the recruitment process to a large extent and the way things worked in the past may not bring results today. In this article, we have listed some steps that you can incorporate into your search to find a job.
The job search process consists of three broad steps – finding a vacancy, sending in your CV, and being interviewed. Let’s go through each stage to see how you can adapt to the ever-changing job market.
How do I search for jobs online?
1. Make the most of your network
A study by LinkedIn found that 85% of jobs are filled through networking. Some job vacancies are not advertised online but shared with the company’s employees. As many of these jobs are not posted online, you can expect lower competition.
If you haven’t networked online before, you can start with your family, friends, and interns who have worked with you in the past. Let them know you are looking for a job, including specific details such as the industry and your qualifications. You can do this via email or through LinkedIn.
Also, make sure you set aside time for regular networking to expand your network. You can do this by browsing LinkedIn and introducing yourself to the people you want to connect with.
2. Update your LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn is one of the top places for recruiters to actively seek out and hire candidates. To make sure you fall into their sights, use your job search time to optimize your LinkedIn profile.
3. Go through company websites
Make a list of companies you want to work for and check out their ‘careers’ page to see what’s available. Not all of these positions are posted on job search platforms.
4. Arrange informational interviews
If you want to learn more about a job or career path, you can reach out to professionals in the industry or at the company you want to work for and arrange an interview with them. This is known as an informational interview and it serves different purposes, such as learning more about a company, learning about opportunities in a particular industry, or getting career advice.
5. Consider roles where you can use your transferable skills
If the industry you studied or worked in prior to COVID has been severely affected, then you may need to broaden your search for roles where you can use some of your skills. You don’t necessarily have to meet all of the criteria in the job description. If you have some of the hard and soft skills that the job requires, then go ahead and apply.
How do I apply for a job during COVID-19?
Once you have identified a job opportunity, the next step is usually to send your CV.
1. Tailor your CV
As the number of applications increases, recruiters have less time to scrutinize each CV. Recruiters spend an average of 7.4 seconds on a CV. Therefore, your CV should communicate how you match the needs of the company.
Use a counter-clockwise order. This means leading with your experiences and achievements at university, rather than school. Also, prioritize the experiences that are most relevant to the job. Figure out the keywords in the job description and make sure they are included, this will also help get your CV through the automated application system if the company is using it.
2. Send a cover letter for the most important role
If there is a role that fits perfectly with the type of job you are looking for, then go the extra step and write a cover letter. This is a short document where you can use one or two paragraphs of experience to set out why you are the right person for the job.
How do I prepare for an interview?
As you go through the application and CV stages, you may have a virtual interview. Here’s how you can prepare for it.
1. Familiarise yourself with the technology
Set aside some time to learn how video calling applications such as Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, etc. work. Make sure you are in the right position and that you are looking at the camera. If possible, arrange a mock interview with a friend or family member. This will also help you to be prepared for connection problems.
2. Be prepared for common questions
Always make sure you have framed answers to common questions. You should also be prepared to answer pandemic-specific questions that explore what the impact of COVID-19 is on the business, in addition to basic research about their work, products and culture. Understand the challenges they face and whether they have been able to overcome them. Are there ways you can help them overcome them?
Once you have completed all the steps, remember to be patient. If you haven’t heard back from your employer in more than a week, send a polite follow-up. Even if you are rejected, send a thank you letter thanking them for their time and move on to apply for other job opportunities.
What should you do if you can’t find a job?
If you can’t make progress in your job search, you can try doing the following things.
1. Improve your skills.
Review the position you are applying for and identify the key skills you are missing. Another way to improve your skills is to research skills that are on the rise. Finally, you can also use this time to learn skills that you couldn’t find time for before.
2. Be an internship.
With some job opportunities being delayed, many students turn to internships to keep gaining experience. If you can’t find an internship at the company you have in mind, try to be more flexible and look for internships at various startups or in similar fields.
3. Do volunteer work.
Volunteering experience can help you explore different career options and make connections.
These are just a few tips to help you in your job search during COVID-19.