Job hunting is always stressful, but it’s especially difficult right now. Fewer companies are hiring and there are more applicants in the field as millions of Americans were laid off or furloughed as a result of the pandemic. On top of that, the actual process is different as hiring has now gone mainly virtual.
If you’re currently job hunting or plan to look for a new job soon, here’s what to keep in mind about how the pandemic has upended the job search process.
Last updated: Feb. 10, 2021
You'll Need To Apply For More Jobs Than Usual
According to the George Williams College of Aurora University, you should anticipate applying for five to 10 times the number of jobs that you had planned to before the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Networking Is Vital -- But It May Actually Be Easier To Do Now
A 2016 LinkedIn survey found that 85% of all jobs are filled via networking, and with jobs currently so hard to come by, networking may be even more important. Although you can’t network in person, this may actually work in your favor.
“I think because many of us are stuck in our homes right now, there’s a lot of opportunity to reconnect with people (…) because a lot of us may have a little bit more free time in the evenings or at lunch than in a regular day,” Alison Sullivan, an economic research communications manager at Glassdoor, told Refinery29. “It’s a great opportunity just to reach out to someone, check in, see how they’re doing and maybe get a virtual Zoom coffee.”
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Your Online Presence Is More Important Than Ever
With in-person interviews off the table, recruiters may be paying extra attention to your online persona. Make sure that your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and that all other social media profiles portray you in a positive light.
You May Need To Be Open to Temporary Work or Jobs Outside of Your Desired Field
If you lost your job and money is tight, you should consider taking a temporary job to hold you over until you find something more permanent.
You may also need to be more flexible about the type of job you are looking for. Research the companies and fields that are currently hiring and focus your applications there.
Expect a Longer Interview Process
Many job hunters are not even getting called for an initial interview, and if you do, it can be harder to go from the initial round to being hired.
“I’ve been lucky to pass many of the hiring steps with companies. However, I am not getting called back for the second interview,” said Sara Mandeed, a mother of two and chief editor at Best of Our Home, who had been job searching for three months following a layoff.
Even if you make it to a second interview, there could still be a long road ahead.
“Job hunters are complaining about getting five, six or even eight interviews before the company can make up their mind,” career counselor Robin Ryan wrote in an article for Forbes.
Be Prepared For Virtual Interviews
Many interviews are now taking place via phone or video, which may be less comfortable for you than traditional in-person interviews. Conduct practice interviews in both formats to get more accustomed to how these interviews flow.
For video interviews, dress as you would for an in-person interview and make sure your background is professional. Make sure you are comfortable with the technology you’ll need before the interview begins. And conduct video and phone interviews in a quiet area with as few distractions as possible.
You May Need New Skills To Stand Out
With so many people applying for the same job, you’ll want to have skills on your resume that make you stand out from the crowd. If you’re currently out of work, use the extra time to gain new skills or certifications. Mandeed has been doing just that.
“I am investing in myself to get more education to help me get job offers,” she said. “I’ve tried to put everything I have learned into words and demonstrate that I am not the same person I was before getting laid off.”
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