Networking

Job Hunting Strategies During Coronavirus

Woman on laptop and phone

Due to the recent recommendations surrounding the spread of COVID-19, there is some uncertainty in the job market. Some fields will be scaling back while others will be ramping up, so adjust your job search expectations and strategy based on what you find. Regardless, you should be continuing your search even if your field is scaling back because once the threat has passed, companies will be looking to get back to business as fast as possible and will need qualified people to help them do that.

How to Keep Job Hunting During Coronavirus

Below are some tips for staying active in the current job market:

Review your target employer list

There is no doubt some of the employers on your target employer list will be affected in some way by this pandemic.

Check their websites, check with your connections, and check out the social media accounts of these potential employers to see how they are handling the outbreak. Have they moved to a social isolation model in which most employees are working from home? Are they operating their business as usual as much as they can? Are they modifying their deliverables? Are they completely shutting down? Are they busier than ever?

Woman working on laptopIn fact, you may even find that there is a new need at these companies you might be able to help with. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, and if you come up with a solution to a problem your target employers are now facing, be sure to reach out and pitch that idea. It might be a great way to get your foot in the door.

Focus on networking

Take advantage of the fact that many people are suddenly working from home. You might not be able to meet up for coffee, but this is a great opportunity to reach out to those in your network who may be socially isolating. Setting up a call will not only keep you in the forefront of people’s minds, but might be just what someone working from home needs to break up their day.

You can also increase your visibility and consistency by posting on social media. Think about what you want to portray during this time and use it to build your personal brand: Yes, you are still job searching, yes, you are still a good potential employee, but, yes, you are also human. People are already getting to the point of information overload, so be thoughtful of the types of content you are posting. You might consider posting something appropriately humorous or light here and there to show your human side, but keep your posts centered on solidifying your brand.

Be ready to interview remotely

Man on videochatMany employees are requiring their employees work remotely, and even if not, they aren’t likely to invite you into the office or out to dinner or lunch for an interview. Expect to be invited to a video interview and be prepared when a request comes in. In fact, interviewing by video can be a great way to self-assess how you perform in any interview. Here are some tips for a successful video interview:

  • Find a place in your home that has a background with little or no distractions, such as a plain wall. If that isn’t possible, make sure you pay attention to what is in your background and make sure it is neat and tidy and free of very personal effects. Keep things as natural as possible; hanging up a sheet behind you probably isn’t the look you want to go for and might make the interviewer wonder what you are hiding.
  • Use your computer’s video program to test what you look like on the video. Is the sun shining at an odd angle, casting a shadow or beam of light? Women, do you have to adjust your makeup a little differently than you would in person? Is the camera at a desirable angle (not pointing up or down)?
  • Limit distractions. The only window open on your computer should be the interviewing program. Put your phone on silent and even put it in another room so you won’t be tempted to look at it if you get a text. Make sure the television and radio are off and there is little ambient noise in the room you are in.
  • Connect to the meeting ahead of time so that you can work out any technical obstacles before you get started. Also, you want to be ready and waiting for the interviewer when s/he comes online to the meeting.
  • Practice being interviewed. This is a great opportunity to ask yourself a question on your computer’s software and then record an answer and play it back to see how you look when answering.
  • This is also a great chance to practice looking directly at your computer’s camera, and not at your image on the screen. It is important you maintain “eye contact” with your interviewer by looking directly at the camera. If you find it difficult to do this, you may consider minimizing the screen so you don’t see yourself during the interview.
  • Remember that the interviewer can only see what is behind you, so consider what is available in front of you that might be able to assist you. For example, you could put whiteboard contact up on the wall in front of you with notes and touch points, or prop up a piece of poster board with notes in a place that you can see but the interviewer cannot.

Understand HR may be overwhelmed right now

The current situation remains fluid, and human resources is likely working overtime to keep current employees informed and to help coordinate their company’s response. Human resource employees may be overwhelmed. Be extra nice and accommodating, and don’t expect a response right away. If they are looking to hire employees quick, make their job easier by being direct in relaying your ability to help them do what they do.

Stay Positive

Despite changes in the current workplace environment, companies are still hiring and many are looking for progressive leaders. Continue your job search with some modifications and the role you’ve been looking for might pop up in an unlikely place.


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About the Author

Jennifer L. Grybowski has been a journalist and writer for 20 years. She has written about business, government, politics, education, and culture. She holds a MFA from Southern New Hampshire University, and also writes fiction. Connect with her at https://jlgrybowski.journoportfolio.com