The job market is still reeling from the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic. It has been bad news for the economy and what’s worse is that the disease seems set to be around for at least another year. From all indications, people will have to learn to live with COVID-19 before things return to normal. That includes getting back into the working world for people who have lost their jobs or seeking employment for the first time.
Jobseekers may find it more difficult to land a job, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities available. In fact, many companies that shuttered temporarily are now reopening and taking on new staff. Some huge retailers such as Amazon and Best Buy are currently hiring at a furious pace to keep up with the trend of more people turning to online shopping. Furthermore, new companies have sprung up in response to opportunities that have arisen from the onset of the pandemic.
How can job seekers improve their chances of getting hired in the current job market? The shift to remote work means employers and recruiters have different objectives from the norm when screening candidates. As such, you have to find ways to stand out from the crowd when searching for employment, if you plan to get hired sooner than later.
Here are five big ways to make yourself more attractive to potential employers in the COVID-19 era.
Give your resume a makeover
A well-written resume is often the most important tool to have in your arsenal when trying to find a new job. If you have not updated your resume in a while, now is the perfect time to work on it. Is it written in a modern, easy-to-read format? Does it properly capture your skills, experience, and education? Is it optimized with the right keywords to get past recruitment software or catch the eyes of eagle-eyed HR officers? Does the content align with the job description of the position you are applying for? These are all important questions to ask yourself when looking to revamp your resume.
In addition, you want to make your resume remote work-friendly. Mention any experience you might have with working from home or away from the office, whether you did so full time or part-time. If you have never worked outside the office, you can still show you have the requisite knowledge for working remotely. Think about all the times you collaborated online with a colleague, such as through Dropbox or Google Drive, as well as other digital communication tools (Slack, Skype, Trello, etc.) and time management apps you may have used. Any of these mentioned on your resume will be sure to catch the eyes of employers who may be looking at your resume.
If you are not skilled in the department of resume writing, it is a good idea to have a professional writer work on it for you. This may cost you a few dollars, but the investment will likely be worth it in the long run. Interested in learning more about Job Searching Strategies?
Optimize your surroundings for remote work
The stay-at-home orders issued by the government have seen most companies having to shift much of their operations offsite. This means existing and new staff members need to have the tools in place and the right environment in order to help their employers achieve their targets. As a result, interviewers will want to know whether you have a suitable home setup that can properly execute the tasks they may want you to perform. Some of the things that are essential for remote work include:
- Fast and stable internet connection
- Working computer with average to great specs
- Noise-canceling headphones (for roles that require you to talk to people over the internet)
- Virtual communication apps installed on your computer
- A suitable spot to work
Whether you plan to work from your bedroom or internet café, you should ensure your surroundings are quiet and comfortable. Keep doors locked if you live with other people. Ensure the area has good lighting. Position your web camera so that interviewers can see you clearly. In virtual interviews, people make note of your background as well, so you want to make sure the area is clean and uncluttered in the event you have to move your web camera around.
Learn more about how to adapt to remote work How to Cope with Working Remotely at Home as an Extrovert versus an Introvert During Covid-19
Improve your online brand
If a potential employer checks out your Facebook or LinkedIn profile right now, what will they find? With more company leaders checking out the social media content of potential job candidates, you should seek to establish what your brand is about on these platforms. Use your bios and profile descriptions to highlight career accomplishments, education history, notable skills, and professional interests you might have. If you can get a few professional headshots taken, that would be great as well.
For LinkedIn, you can develop your brand narrative and value proposition even more. Ask a few of your connections to endorse and recommend you for your best skills (you can do the same for them in return). The more distinguished your brand is online, the higher your chances of having potential employers wanting to check out your profile and possibly connect.
Customize each job application
It has always been a good idea to tailor your resume and job applications for every position you apply for, but it is even more important now. Companies are changing rapidly to fall in line with the new normal brought about by COVID-19 quarantine orders. As such, organizations will have very specific needs that you will only know about if you take time to do your research before sending out an application. By tailoring your application to match the requirements of each role, shows that you took the time out to do your research. In addition, you will be better equipped to answer relevant questions that may arise.
Build your skillset
The more skills you have, the more attractive you will be to potential employers at this time. Since the pandemic hit, a deluge of online courses and programs have been made available for people who want to brush up on and expand their skillset. Some of these courses are offered at low costs and even free in some cases. LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, and Udemy are just a few of the options to check out.
With so many businesses having downsized or closed down (some permanently) since the general population was placed under quarantine, the job market has become more competitive. Finding ways to stand out from the crowd is now more important than ever. Learn more about your transferable skills 5 Tips on How to Use Your Transferable Skills as a PhD Professional During an Interview
Dr. Tina Persson |CEO| Career & Leadership Coach| Author | Helping people to fulfill their goals