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6 Practical Tips for Job Searching during COVID-19
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Every day we are exposed to news about how this virus is affecting individuals across the globe, both personally and professionally. If you are a job seeker, how do you strive in this crisis? Searching for a job has always been a full-time job in itself – but given the current market conditions in the wake of the pandemic, you could expect to put in some ‘overtime'. Here are some tips from our recruiters to give your efforts some direction and help you stay resilient with your job search.
1. Maintain an agile mindset
First comes our mind-set; this means acceptance. We have to accept that COVID-19 has the potential to trigger a global recession. Coming to terms with our new reality and accepting that it is okay to feel discouraged from time to time, is important. This also means accepting that we now have to put in more effort for fewer results, and that the efforts we input today may take unusually long to translate into results. Once again, accepting this and marching ahead with resilience, structured hard work and consistency will take you closer to your goal – finding your next job is not impossible; it’s only more challenging.
2. Clean up that CV and enhance your online profile
Ensure that your profile is updated on LinkedIn and that your CV is recently available on online job boards (Career Junction, Rekrute, PNET, Executive Placements, etc.). Have you listed your key achievements as part of your most recent experiences? Does the first word of every bullet point under your responsibilities and achievements include an action word (e.g. “led” instead of “responsible for”)? This is what differentiates you from your peers. List down your achievements in a problem-solution-impact format and communicate clearly.
3. Keep abreast with visa regulations
Across different countries, there may be several laws and regulations that determine your right to work there. For instance, due to COVID-19, a few restrictions may have been imposed on immigrant visas. Similarly, other markets will have other restrictions on mobility and ability to commence work. Ensure you are able to work in the market/ sector/ business you want to join before you undertake the job application efforts.
4. Set an agenda
Know what you want to achieve each day – for example, you could plan to apply to 6 relevant job adverts, reach out to 15 line managers and spend 2 hours market mapping & analyzing trends (which sector/ skill could be next in-demand). It is important to track your achievements at the end of the day and strategize for the next – learn from your successes, but also your failures, and have a flexible approach.
5. Structure your approach
a. Research – allocate a couple of hours daily to research market trends and understand which sectors are doing what; which companies are outliers and performing well or are more resilient and why; which ones are using this as an opportunity for the future; and more. Don’t forget that many businesses and industries will use this period as an opportunity.
b. Target List – based on your research, create a list of companies you want to target. Have you listed down your current or recent organizations’ competition? Provided you don’t have an NDA on your current contract, it seems likely they’d want you as you could hit the ground running! If your skillset is transferable, what about other closely related sectors –have they employed people with your skills and your background, and could you be next?
c. Approach with empathy – the current situation calls for empathy – yes, you can be an aggressive job seeker but remember we are all facing our own unique challenges during this period too, and it is super important to demonstrate empathy. Contact your favorite (and of course relevant!) recruiter once every fortnight for a check-in. The key here is to build a relationship with them and develop a top of mind recall value.
d. Follow-up and try different angles – Applied to a job advert and nobody has responded? We appreciate this can be frustrating, but that shouldn’t become a reason to discard the opportunity and move on hastily. What else can you do? As an example, try mapping the organization – find out who works in the team relevant to you. Therefore, if you are a Finance Manager, map out the employees in their finance team. A quick run through their profiles may help you assess your technical relevance, cultural fit and even help you identify the possible gaps in the team. Although it may be tempting to send a note to all of them to maximize your chances of getting a response, it may also dilute the impression you are trying to make. You can be more strategic by touching base with HR first, and in case there is no response, dropping a note to the potential hiring manager.
6. Keep track of things
Maintain an excel sheet with all the jobs you’ve applied to, all the connections you have made, the last time you contacted them or they contacted you, and next steps required from your end – stay proactive. This is an effective tool to track your activity – for example, if you have already applied on the advert with no response, you could search for and reach out to the line manager. This tracker can also be an excellent tool to gather market intel on what industries/ companies are hiring so keep track of this information – it could lead to an interesting conversation through which you can demonstrate market awareness in your next interview! I’d even suggest breaking this excel sheet up into reactive & proactive – applying for jobs would fall in the reactive category because it’s easier to hit apply on LinkedIn, whilst reaching out to individuals outside of adverts with a personalized message would count as proactive – ask yourself, how proactive have you been?
Lastly, don’t give up – there will be successes, and there is always light at the end of the tunnel if we are resilient, consistent and structured in our approach. To receive the latest job alerts, please create a MyPage profile and also access our articles on job search via Career Advice. For more job search tips, you can also listen to the recording of our webinar Building a resilient approach to your job search during COVID-19.