How to Conduct a Successful Job Search during the Coronavirus Crisis

It’s hard to overstate how much has changed in the last several weeks. Just last month we were eating in crowded restaurants, working in offices, greeting each other with handshakes—and even wearing slacks!

Coronavirus is triggering a broad-sweeping economic slowdown. While some industry sectors are seeing major growth and scrambling to add new hires, many other sectors are contracting and/or reorganizing. Layoffs are rampant, and no one knows how long this period of contraction will last or how severe it will be.

Despite the grim news, experts from career coaches to recruiters to HR professionals agree: Now is NOT the time to abandon your job search. Hiring is still happening, and job search best practices (polish your resume, cultivate your network, research target companies) still apply.

I’ve been working with job seekers in the resume writing business since the 2008 recession, and I partner with a variety of professionals in the career development and recruiting field. Here are the key takeaways from my network on conducting a successful job search during coronavirus:

Job opportunities aren’t gone, but they may have moved

While some companies are laying off workers, others need to add new workers as a result of the coronavirus. For other companies, the hiring cycle is proceeding as usual. Needs are high in IT, logistics, instructional design, supply chain, and healthcare.

What savvy job seekers can do:

Because the hiring landscape has shifted so dramatically, you may need to reassess your job targets. For example, if you’re a project manager, consider targeting healthcare companies. Research companies’ current goals and needs to find areas where your skills can into this new economic landscape.

Hiring hasn’t stopped, but it’s moving more slowly

HR staff is swamped right now. They’re managing the shift to a remote workforce, they’re preparing for staff reductions or site closures, and they’re adapting to changing employment regulations.

In addition, the reorganizations and the shift to working from home throughout organizations makes collaboration and scheduling across members of the hiring team more cumbersome. All this means that the hiring process will likely proceed even more slowly than usual.

What savvy job seekers can do:

Be patient and expect delays. At the same time, take steps to keep yourself top of mind. Keep reaching out and following up–without being overbearing. A good rule of thumb from recruiters is to make contact once every two weeks. And as always, maintain a professional, friendly tone that communicates readiness to help.

Great jobs are out there, but the competition is stiffer

From a purely statistical perspective, rising unemployment means the competition for each job is higher. The flooded job market of a few weeks ago is gone. That means it’s more important than ever to manage your professional brand and put your best foot forward.

What savvy job seekers can do:

First, take a look at your credentials and identify any gaps.

If you’re unemployed or even just saving time each day by not commuting, use that extra time to add new skills. If there’s a credential or certification you’ve been meaning to complete, do it now. Consider taking an online course to brush up on leadership or tech skills.

Second, make sure your resume and LinkedIn profile are up to snuff. The best thing job seekers can do right now is make it easy for HR to quickly see how they are qualified by keeping their resume clean, relevant, and easy to navigate.

Although it can be hard to invest your career while the economy is uncertain, consider working with a professional resume writer to make sure your resume is ATS-compliant and accomplishments-driven and that your LinkedIn profile is optimized for recruiter search.

Interviews are still happening, but not face to face

Video interviews have become increasingly common in the past few years. Now, they’re the norm. Face-to-face interviewing has given way to virtual and phone interviewing.

What savvy job seekers can do:

All the same tips for navigating a successful job interview still apply. In addition, take steps to shine in your video interview. Make sure you’re set up in a well-lit, distraction-free area with a strong wifi signal. (This may require moving to another location in the house.) Make sure you’ve mastered whatever tech is required—earphones, Zoom, Skype—so tech snafus don’t derail your interview. Set your phone to Do Not Disturb. Dress just like you would for an in-person interview–including pants, in case you need to stand up for some reason!

For more tips on nailing the virtual interview, check out this video from our partner career coach Heather Austin

What changes are you seeing in your industry and in the job market? Drop us a line and let us know.

And as always, we at Upword Resume wish you and your family safety, health, happiness, and prosperity. Follow us on Instagram and subscribe to our newsletter for monthly career tips and information to keep your career moving onward and upward!