Dealing with the COVID-19 lockdown is stressful for most people, but having to look for work while being shut in can make it even harder. Based on a global survey by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), this scenario presents several challenges.
The study, which involved the 15 – 24 age group across 48 countries, found that a high number of respondents were most concerned about three things:
- being unemployed
- the toll the pandemic was having on their mental health
- the impact on their education (not being able to attend school).
The study focused on youth because young people, in general, are three times more likely to be unemployed than older adults. Regardless of age, being out of work during the pandemic will eventually take its toll. And with healthcare specialists warning of a potential mental health crisis, people who are prone to extroversion could suffer the hardest if they are also unemployed. Listen to the Podcast “The Ph.D. Career Coaching Podcast” part 1 on the topic How to stay focused in your job hunt
Who is an extrovert?
Extroverts tend to be easily identified due to their outgoing nature, but there are introverts who can manage some amount of social interaction and there are extroverts who may enjoy some time alone. Identifying either depends on how high or low they score when it comes to certain attributes. Extroverts are often:
- Comfortable being in the spotlight
- Socially inclined
- Able to draw energy from being around other people
- Work well in groups
- Disliking of being alone
- Willing to discuss problems
With that said, it is not hard to see how unemployment, coupled with being locked in, can have a negative toll on extroverts. This article is geared towards best practices for extroverted people when navigating the job search process during the pandemic. If you are an extrovert seeking a job, or know someone who does, these tips can prove helpful.
1. Tap into your network
There is a hidden job market and one of the ways you can get access is by networking. In fact, research shows that more than three-quarters of vacancies are filled through the hidden job market nowadays. This includes firms hiring people through referrals they got, hiring people who are members of certain groups or networks, or via conversations on social media networks and forums.
As an extrovert, you likely already have many friends and contacts and are probably a member of particular groups. Well, this is the best time to reach out and make a connection. You might be barred from visiting in person, but there are a number of ways you can still connect, including telephone calls, Facetime, WhatsApp, Zoom, and a host of other virtual apps.
When you reach out, don’t just talk about the good times you shared before there was ever a pandemic. Let it be known that you are currently and actively looking for work. Talk about your past work experience and skills, as wells as the type of jobs you are looking for. If you are talking to a friend who is currently employed, find out if their company is hiring. You can still share your situation with contacts if they are unemployed. They might know companies that are currently hiring, which you may be interested in, or think of you later on if they become aware of an opportunity in the future.
2. Be more intentional on social media
Being an extrovert, you probably share much of your life on social media, posting information about your daily activities. Now that you are seeking a job, you can use your social media pages to be more intentional about hunting for work. LinkedIn is one of the first places to begin by updating your profile to indicate that you are currently seeking employment.
Follow business leaders and other professionals who have influential positions in your field. Send inbox messages to introduce yourself and make it known that you are open to hearing about available employment opportunities. You can also request informational interviews over the phone or video call. An informational interview with a business leader can be geared towards getting insight on the position they hold or the industry they are in. If you have never done one of these types of interviews before, they present several benefits such as building quality relationships and tapping into the hidden job market.
3. Update your resume for remote work
Working from home may not be the most ideal scenario for you. After all, extroverts tend to crave being in groups instead of working in isolation. However, most businesses that are hiring are doing so for work from home positions. To increase your chances of employment, update your resume to indicate your experience and skills using popular work from home tools, including email, cloud computing, shared drives, virtual apps, etc. If you have experience as a freelancer, be sure to include that information as well. Learn more about how to optimize your Resume Why Companies Ignore Your Resume
4. Research hiring companies
With many companies closing their doors due to the pandemic – some permanently – it is easy to assume that none are hiring. That is far from the truth as there are many now seeking new employees, either because their goods and services have seen higher demand since the COVID outbreak or new companies were created as a result. Other firms that had closed in the earlier stages of the crisis are now re-opening and are looking for new or additional employees. But you may never know if you are not doing your research or only checking out traditional employers that have probably not been able to move their businesses online. Be willing to check and investigate new companies and startups, as well as online platforms that allow you to find work online. Besides the potential for finding employment opportunities, taking time to research will keep your mind occupied. On the Podcast “Ph.D. Career Stories” you can get inspired by PhDs career success stories A Ph.D. Podcast – Success Stories
5. Send out applications
Making use of your network online and offline is one of the best ways to uncover employment opportunities. You can further increase your odds by sending out job applications of your own. You don’t have to apply only for open positions either, you can also apply even when there is no vacancy being advertised. Remember, there is a hidden job market and there are companies who, at this time, maybe relying on referrals. If your application is impressive, firms in this category may decide to reach out.
Being under quarantine certainly does not go well with being unemployed. If you are an extrovert, the torture can become unbearable. However, keeping yourself occupied by actively seeking employment (following the above tips, of course) and thinking positively will help you to cope until things turn around. You find more valuable job searching strategies in the following blog post 10 Ph.D. Job Searching Strategies