Career & Leadership Coach, Korn Ferry Advance
Job Hunting During a Pandemic
The marketing manager sent out 30 resumes touting all the various responsibilities he had taken on over the last few years. He called 30 former colleagues and badgered them for job leads. And he did five video job interviews, all with his television on in the background.
Mistake, mistake, mistake.
With each day the pandemic keeps its grip on the world, and the global economy, the number of people looking for work only grows. And that includes many--potentially millions--who haven’t had to search in a very long time. What they may discover is a whole new world of job hunting. “It’s time to be really more pro-active,” says Val Olson, a career coach for Korn Ferry Advance. “This is an unprecedented time where so many people will be looking for jobs in a limited market,”
There are no easy or fool-proof steps, of course, but here are ways candidates may be able to adapt better to post-pandemic searches.
Talk to People
The odds of someone getting a job are considerably higher if someone within a company recommended them. In a 2018 survey of more than 1,000 companies by the talent management software firm Silkroad, 78% of the more than 320,000 hires the firms made were “offline,” meaning that the candidate came from somewhere other than a career site.
That means going out and networking, experts say. Tap people to learn about an industry, a company and what roles are in demand. Just be a little patient. People may take a little longer to respond.
Update Your Resume…Properly
A resume recapping a candidate’s prior responsibilities used to be enough to at least catch a hiring manager’s eye. That’s no longer the case. Career experts say a resume should instead showcase a person’s accomplishments in each job, using data and statistics to highlight successes. A resume is not the place to list your entire career history and give every detail of each job, says Korn Ferry Advance career coach Valerie Hayes.
It also doesn’t hurt to add a brief, one sentence summary of their professional career at the top of the resume, especially if the candidate is considering switching out of an industry or career he or she has been in for a long time. That summary can speak about how your experiences have taught resiliency, agility, technical abilities, or other traits that a recruiter might look for. However, don’t fill the summary with corporate jargon such as “team player” and “value-adding.” “I would rather see you have no summary than have a bad one,” says Korn Ferry Advance career coach Gabby Lennox.
Update your social media resume, too.
LinkedIn and other online career sites are often the first stops for many talent acquisition specialists, and candidates should ensure that their profile is get their attention (Or the attention of an artificial intelligence software designed to find potentially-qualified candidates).
First, if you have lost your job, update that section with when your job ended. Then, start a new current employment section and call it “Seeking Opportunities,” says Gabby Lennox, a career coach for Korn Ferry Advance. For the job title, put the role you would like to have, Lennox says. Then, in the description section, list what roles and responsibilities you want. Finally, adjust your profile’s settings to show that you are actively seeking opportunities. Doing this can keep a candidate from dropping lower in online job search rankings, Lennox says.
Practice Video Interviews
Video Interviews were already gaining traction among many recruiters because they can eliminate the expense of bringing candidates to the office. One 2019 survey indicated that 47% of big employers already used video interviewing for some roles, and experts agree that video calls will only increase during and after the pandemic. ” Take the time to learn that tech before you’re in a position that you have to use it,” Olson says.
Beyond that, candidates need to find a space to conduct an interview where there will be as few distractions as possible for the recruiter. Plus, wear full business attire during the interview, not just nice clothing above the waist. “You never know when you may have to get up and get a document,” Lennox says.
Candidates can practice doing a video interview with a friend. Video conferencing software from Zoom and other providers is free, in one form or another, now and friends can judge one another on how each look and sound, Lennox says. In addition, apps from Korn Ferry Advance and others can help evaluate a candidate’s responses, eye-contact and other essential metrics and give feedback for a candidate to improve.
Show Some Empathy
Experts say that hiring managers, recruiters, and people in professional networks are either going to be swamped, anxious, or both. Job seekers should be respectful of that and ask how the other people are feeling and whether their families and friends are safe. “Asking how they are adjusting is even more important right now,” Olson says.
This show of humanity can carry over into follow-up notes as well. When sending a thank-you note to a job interviewer or network contact, a very brief video thank you can help a candidate stand out. “Nothing too eccentric, just something a little different can be helpful,” Olson says.
Be Patient and Flexible
Just like how networking contacts may take a while to respond, so might job recruiters and hiring managers. Companies may take longer to fill roles. The waiting could be tough, but it’s necessary, experts say. “You have to be patient at a time when we’re all pretty low on patience,” Lennox says.
As for the job offer itself, no one should take a role they will hate, but they may have to become more flexible about hours, remote-work options, compensation and other factors, Olson says. “This is not a time for prosperity.”