As the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect economies worldwide, companies develop new strategies to keep their businesses afloat. For their employees, a work-from-home arrangement has been implemented as part of navigating the new normal. Nearly a year has passed, more than a few companies closed shop or laid off their employees since. As a result, unemployment remains to be one of the world’s biggest concerns.
So, how do you find a job during this difficult time?
I’m sure that I’m not the only one who wondered whether I should continue to fill-out application forms and send out resumes or just assume that companies won’t be hiring at least in the foreseeable future.
While most signs point to a looming recession (if it isn’t already here), career experts recommend job hunters to keep applying and building their networks, provided that certain changes to their approach are made.
Companies are currently figuring out the best way to integrate processes done virtually into their business model. This is the reason why there aren’t many job vacancies these days. The moment they get the green light to resume hiring, however, those who exerted their efforts to connect and establish a relationship will be in a better position to land the job.
With that said, here are helpful tips on how to navigate the job hiring process during this period of transition:
● Establish a Familiarity with Online Networking
As governments and policy-making bodies continue to impose health protocols that involve the temporary restriction of social gatherings, it’ll work to your advantage if you start developing a new networking strategy.
It’s high time to familiarize yourself with virtual events – from how they work to the actual steps on creating one. Social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook offer different options with groups for every profession.
The key here is to make yourself visible by engaging with other members of your group. Join in the conversation by creating a new post or leaving a comment on existing threads. These groups have an established set of rules that you need to agree with before joining. Most of which adhere to the minimum standards of social media etiquette.
Examples of these are:
- keep the conversation professional
- only post relevant articles
It’s best to chime in on topics that revolve around your fields of interest or the areas that will allow you to demonstrate your expertise.
Once you gain a firmer grasp on the concept of virtual events, you can already invite professional contacts to meet online.
● Gather All Relevant Information
While going through a company’s application process, it helps to know significant bits about its culture. For instance, the ongoing health crisis provides a unique glimpse into how the company deals with the situation and treats its employees while coping with uncertainty. Follow them on social media or be on the lookout for media coverage.
Some of the pertinent questions to look for answers include:
- Does the company allow its employees to work from home?
- Did they lay off staff during the pandemic?
- What are their ways of showing support to their workers?
This way, you’ll be able to demonstrate your understanding of the company’s concerns and the threat it faces due to the pandemic once you get to the interview stage. It’s another way of letting them know how you’re going to be a part of the solution and help the company achieve its goals once you get hired.
● Follow Through on Every Application
While it may be a good idea to be a bit restrained with the follow-up messages once you’re through with your application, it’s also a good idea to demonstrate a thoughtful attitude. It is always better to inquire how you can help rather than asking assistance for yourself.
The idea is to connect with actual people in the business on a human level. Make them see that you’re not just after the job, but you’re also there to look after the company’s welfare.
You might also want to highlight a specific skill that the company, through the hiring manager, might be able to tap into. You can say something like:
“I may have some ideas to share on how to engage your employees while they’re working from home…”
It’s definitely an opportunity to showcase what type of employee they can expect you to be.
Finally, you have to come up with other ways to connect apart from email. Needless to say, you should keep it professional, which is why LinkedIn is the perfect avenue to do exactly this. When you see the company’s account post a status, leave a comment. Do the same when they make a press release.
The important thing is, don’t waste an opportunity to let them know that you have valuable insight to contribute, as if you’re already a part of the team.
● Take the Time to Reflect
As a job seeker, steer clear of the common practice of jumping at the first available opportunity, especially now that the job market is watered down. Instead, what you want to do is be completely clear about the type of role you want to fill, the title you’re seeking, and where you want to work.
One good exercise is to list down the following:
- your target industry
- the companies you want to work for
- the specific job title that you’re seeking
- everything else that you’re looking for
After donning your list, you’re free to apply to every job post that matches most, if not all, of your given criteria.
Since companies are switching things up right now, it’s best to be prepared for every possibility that might come your way. As an example, you could be aspiring to be a part of a company’s marketing team. However, since fewer people are willing to part with their money right now, it might be more beneficial to hire for a communications role instead. As someone who’s well-prepared and has a broad experience and diverse set of skills, it shouldn’t be hard to pivot to this other position.
● Come Up with your Personal Brand
No, this doesn’t mean commissioning an artist or creative consultant to come up with a logo or catchy tagline. Instead, it requires creativity on how you’ll market yourself and your expertise.
Rather than saying that you’re an excellent salesperson, specify the focus of your sales expertise, and highlight why companies should hire you.
For example, if you’re a sales professional with extensive experience in digital ads, you can say something like, “I’m a digital ads sales professional, and my expertise lies in maximizing client’s budgets to generate the highest possible RoI…”
This is referred to as a personal brand statement. You use it to help your potential employer focus on what’s unique about you and capture the skills you’re good at and how each will benefit the company in particular.
● Invest in Skill Enhancement Programs
Now more than ever, invest in enhancing your skills and work on upgrading your qualifications.
Put your analytical skills to use on every job post by thoroughly dissecting the job description and listing all the required skills and experience level. This way, you can objectively assess whether:
- you have the required skills
- you have the required skills, but you haven’t used them in years
- you lack the particular set of skills entirely
Use this assessment of yourself to determine what you need to brush up on to make yourself an even worthier candidate come hiring season.
Note that there are literally thousands of free courses currently being offered online, so you might as well use those to your advantage.
While companies and employers are adapting to abrupt changes brought about by economic woes and the pandemic, they are still hiring, and there are vacant positions that need to be filled. Find the best one that suits your skills and matches your passion and interest.
Ultimately, the best approach in every job application that you will undergo is to remain understanding and cordial while keeping the line of communication between yourself and the recruiters or hiring managers intact.
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