Continuing your job search during a pandemic

By leahlambart
18 March 2020
job search during pandemic

The past few days have been difficult to say the least and predictions show that this will not improve in the short-term.  If you are already job searching, in the midst of facilitating a career change or are running an impacted business, then you are likely to feel the effect more than others.

It would be expected that you may be experiencing new levels of uncertainty about your future as the economic impact is takes hold.  Changes that are likely to occur as a result of this pandemic include recruitment freezes and redundancies as we have seen this week with Qantas standing down 20,000 workers.  However, the good news is that recruitment has not shut down altogether.  I have spoken to several clients interviewing for roles and companies are still continuing the recruitment process using video technology.  In addition, some companies will be scaling up as new demands are placed on our economy including industries such as; telecommunications, logistics. FMCG, healthcare, customer service, online production and supply chain.   I the past 24 hours there have been over 3,000 new Melbourne-based jobs advertised on LinkedIn which is definitely comforting.  Therefore, DO NOT stop your job search.  There will be many people who pause their job search activity so take advantage of the fact that this may happen and keep looking and networking.

If you are job searching, you may be ready to throw up your hands given what lies ahead, but don’t despair.  Focus on what you can control.

Here are some tips on how to work on your career or job change during the Coronavirus pandemic: 

  1. Be patient

There is no precedent for how job search is impacted during a pandemic. Understanding, communication, patience and compassion are essential for employers and job seekers.  Recruiters and hiring managers will be feeling the same frustration and will quite possibly be waiting on decisions from others before they can move forward or can answer your questions.  If you are following up on an application or interview, then show empathy for their situation in your follow-up communication.

  1. Learn to network using digital technology quickly

If you are someone who has not used LinkedIn previously, then now is the time to get this up and running soon.  With most employees working from home you will need to build relationships remotely and learn to get good at it. This may be an advantage for the introverts among us who actually prefer to network via email or online anyhow.

  1. Take advantage of people working from home

Again it is important to be aware of what people working from home may be facing (ie. potential illness, home schooling – arrrgghhhh! etc) but it may also be an opportunity to schedule some time for informational interviews / online meetings whilst people are working more independently.  Touch base with people who may have been too busy previously to see if they would be open to a short Zoom call whilst business activities may have stalled somewhat.

  1. Use the opportunity to update your job search documents

If you have been thinking about updating your resume and LinkedIn profile for some time, now may be the time to get this sorted.  You will feel better that you are ticking off some items on your ‘to do’ list and taking action to improve your job search in the future.

  1. Use the opportunity to upskill

This is an opportunity to upskill to add to your resume in the future.  There are some brilliant free or inexpensive MOOC’s (Massive Open Online Courses) available on thousands of topics.  Check out the following as a starting point:  Udemy, Coursera, EdX, and CreativeLive.  You can add these course to your resume under a Professional Development section underneath your Education section.

  1. Seek out online connecting opportunities

Many social events have already been cancelled or postponed. The communities you rely on for networking are likely to mobve online rather than meeting face-to-face.   Seek out online communities through LinkedIn and Facebook and use the time to get in contact with friends and colleagues from your past to share your experiences.

Use the time to grow your network on LinkedIn to 500+ connections. Over the next six months, the more professionally connected you are the better. Follow people and organisations that inspire you, and connect with previous acquaintances, friends and colleagues.  It is these people who are most likely to assist you with finding a new role during difficult times.

  1. Use the time to work on your business

If you are a small business-owner then it is time to think about how you can offer any of your services or products online or how you can use the time effectively to implement better systems, products or services for the future.  If income isn’t coming in, then we need to focus on what we can do to set ourselves up for the future rather than focusing on what we cannot control.

In conclusion

These are unprecedented, difficult times and many of the circumstances are completely out of your control.  The only thing you can control is your mindset and how you respond to these challenging times.  Just like any crisis, new opportunities and jobs will be created as a result, but I advise you to stay focused on what you want and what is important to you, rather than being dictated completely by what is happening in the economy.

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