Covid-19 Job Search Advice from 9 Career Experts
In the last two weeks, the United States has flipped upside down in the face of COVID-19. With school closures, reduced work for hourly wage workers, and calls to stay indoors and with immediate family, it’s easy to put off the job search process.
However, this is the moment to remain flexible and increase your chances of making the next step in your career.
We gathered advice from several professional career coaches on how to innovate your job search from home. Their comments are broken up into 8 different categories of advice for all types of job hunters:
- Targeted Job Research
- Make A Schedule
- Managing Kids
- International Students
Targeted Job Research:
“Research still holds that the best way to land a job is through referrals and networking…
Start with exploring companies you want to work for and create a target company list.
Time seems scarcer than ever, so automate your company research efforts with:
✔ Google alerts. Receive notices in your Gmail inbox with whatever keyword, company name or phrase is mentioned in the media.
✔︎ Talkwalker.com. Go to free tools and set up social alerts for a company to any email of your choosing (unlike Google alerts).
✔︎ Twilert.com. Track company happenings and news from Twitter directly in your inbox with Twitter alerts. (Free, 30-day trial).
Once you have recon on your target companies, use LinkedIn to sleuth decision-makers and make connections.
Request video chats instead of in-person meetups. If live video is out of the question during the day (ahem…kids!), use video tools like Loom as a way to introduce yourself more personally in LinkedIn requests or via email.”
“Your job search over the next few months will be challenging. But what I know from my experience with job seekers during The Great Recession is that people did get jobs. They were persistent, resilient and creative. You can’t stop!
Look for opportunities that will emerge.
Look for problems that need to be solved right now.
Find ways to sell your services.
NETWORK. The way you find any of these opportunities is by networking with people. Talk (by phone or video) with people who work for companies you are interested in, who work in your field, and who could use your services.
Soon, employees will get a handle on working from home. This means their bosses won’t be looking over their shoulders and this allows them with more flexibility to network virtually.”
“Because everyone is managing through an unpreceded time, much of what we consider best practice for hiring and interviewing may not happen the way we expect them to. Companies may not include as many people in the decision-making or interview process as they typically would when they could all be in the same room.
As a job seeker, it’s important to make sure you still get a chance to interview with the person you would report to. During this interview you can ask about their vision for the role, how they plan to measure success, and more about their management style to ensure you are in alignment.
When job postings and interviewing slow down in many industries, it’s a good time to work on growing and deepening your professional network.
Reaching out to professionals in your field, checking in on your existing connections, and requesting informational interviews are all good ways to use this semi-down time.
Another way you can use your time effectively is to work on professional development like online courses and certification programs from home. If you are a parent who has to monitor your children’s online learning right now, you can pass the time gaining some new skills or credentials. There are lots of low-cost options from Udemy.com, Coursera.com, and LinkedIn Learning (which is free through many libraries).”
Make a Schedule:
“During uncertain times… a sense of panic can lead to sleepless nights, procrastination, and poor performance. The good news is there are beneficial actions to focus on instead, but an intentional mindset shift is necessary.
Start by creating a tentative schedule. Build in time for job search activities and researching available resources to address your highest-priority concerns first.
Whenever possible, maintain open lines of communication with employers and family. Conversations surrounding expectations are especially critical for those juggling childcare needs with remote work responsibilities.
It feels counterintuitive, but the more pressure you feel, the more critical it is to incorporate wellness activities into your schedule, even if it’s simply stepping away from the computer to stretch.
Ultimately, social distancing does not mean social isolation. Family, friends, and colleagues remain vital sources of support for your job search efforts. Continue to connect and help each other.”
“My constant, unwavering advice: networking is an absolute necessity in today’s environment for career progress and personal success.
Networking is the best solution for tapping into the hidden job market (where 80% of new hires land positions), maintaining a good reputation, and giving and receiving recommendations and referrals.
Networking relationships are a portal for keeping up with industry trends, updating and improving technical knowledge, staying top of mind/reminding people of your abilities, and finding opportunities to volunteer and demonstrate skills and knowledge.
Now, more than ever, virtual networking is a tried and true way to combat social isolation.
If you haven’t found your voice posting on LinkedIn, commenting on group discussions, publishing original articles, forwarding information by email, now is the best time to increase your visibility online by sharing ideas to a group of followers, conversing with fellow team members, engaging through YouTube or another video format or connecting one-to-one via email, text, WhatsApp, etc.”
“If you are looking for work and have school-aged kids who are now home for the foreseeable future, your days suddenly look a lot different. But so do theirs. They are out of their routine, missing their friends and activities.
Here’s the thing, you do NOT need to replicate school at home.
(Trust me. I’m a public-school teacher whose wife homeschooled our children through elementary school.)
The best thing you can do is give yourself permission not to crush this. It’s OK if you don’t teach your kids German, learn the guitar all while finding a new job. You just need to find a routine that works for all of you. If you need the color-coded hourly schedule, use it. If your school district has work for your kids to do, do that. If your kid wants to do virtual tours of museums, let her do it. Then make yourself a schedule of specific things you want to accomplish in your job search and get to work.”
“International students are experiencing high levels of anxiety not only because they are miles away from their loved ones, but also because internship prospects are being delayed. What they are not aware of is that they are already experts in managing uncertainty!
Moving to a new country to work and study comes with unexpected life challenges. This crisis forces them to live in temporary isolation – however, it is a push that many of them need to redesign their job search strategy and to think critically about their work choices and the folks they want to connect with to expedite career opportunities without depending only on the resources that the institutions are able to provide.
I suggest they take this time to reflect on their lived experiences and to acquire new skills online starting with LinkedIn Learning since most institutions grant them free access to the platform.
This, in turn, will allow them to have deep conversations with employers and provide examples that illustrate how their resilience, empathy, leadership, and creativity helped them sail through this crisis, and equipped them to solve complex problems and make immense contributions to their organizations.”
“Remember the expression ‘how you treat yourself is how you feel about yourself’. Hiring authorities will pick up on how you feel about yourself and typically will mirror that opinion. Self-care will need to look different for each of us.
Here are a few practices that you may want to consider during your job search:
1) Be intentional about the messages you view each day (news stories, social media, conversations) as these impact your state of mind.
2) Use the extra time at home to prepare food and meals that nourish your body,
3) Move for at least 30 minutes each day to release endorphins and decrease stress hormones
4) Journal to help yourself process thoughts and feelings that arise throughout containment and job search.”
Continuing to hunt for a job in the era of COVID-19 may seem overwhelming. Be aware that it may take longer than a traditional job hunt; taking care of others and managing anxieties about the future will take time out of your typical daily schedule. That’s ok. Everyone—from current job seekers to hiring managers—is facing this time of uncertainty together.
Stick to the basics and you will begin to see dividends: Take care of your body. Make a schedule. Remain flexible and persistent. Research and network, network, network! The online tools that job seekers depended on before social distancing have become indispensable resources in 2020.
Ramping up your job search efforts now will allow you to emerge after this crisis with a healthy professional future. Take care of your body, mind, and career. Stay indoors, and don’t give up!