Many job seekers are asking if the current crisis with the Coronavirus is going to impact on their efforts to get a job.
The short answer is yes.
The coronavirus concern has been spreading like wildfire and it’s causing some major issues for both employers, employees, and job seekers. Some companies are experiencing hiring freezes, alternative interviewing setups (i.e. video interviewing vs. face-to-face), and even layoffs as a result of this pandemic.
So, don’t be surprised if you see hiring slow down over the next few months. In a time of such panic and uncertainty, some companies will shy away from adding to staff until things are back to normal.
As a job seeker, what do you do during a time like this? Do you temporarily pause your job search? Do you continue as if everything is normal?
Here are some tips for job hunting during this uncertain time.
1. Get Really Good at Virtual Interviewing
You’ll likely have to do your first few interviews virtually, whether that means phone interviews, video interviews, or one-way interviews. So, be prepared because face-to-face interviews won’t be as common for the next few months. Interviews could move to Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Google HangOut. There is plenty of advice on the internet for how to prepare and things to think about for a video interview. Also, if you have little or no experience of using applications like Skype practice by calling someone you know and checking issues like lighting and outside noise.
2. Focus on Your Personal Brand
Take this time to revamp your LinkedIn profile, CV, and cover letter strategy so it’s easy for an employer to see your value quickly. Also, get very clear on your professional specialty (or the “service” you provide as an employee). You need to be able to explain your personal USP (unique selling proposition) so that you can differentiate yourself.
Work on creating a 2-3 sentence personal branding statement that clearly outlines what you do, how you do it and why, and what you’re looking to do next. This will allow your brand to resonate with people in your network so they can pass along opportunities that are a great fit for you.
It’s also a time to be careful about what you post on your social media accounts. Companies are increasingly checking a potential candidate’s social media posts as part of their background checks. You don’t want something you posted out of boredom or frustration with the current situation to come back and bite you in the future.
3. Start Using LinkedIn Properly
So many people are told they need to have a LinkedIn profile, but they don’t actually use it once they sign up. LinkedIn is a great place to brand yourself for strategic opportunities. It can also act as a virtual contact list.
Reconnect with people who are already in your network, share content in your LinkedIn feed that support your professional specialty (this will help people remember what you do), and invite people who work at your target companies to connect.
All of these activities will allow you to build a foundation for your brand and network strategically (and intentionally).
Downturns will happen. Proactive job seekers know that they can still make things happen even when things are tough.
While hiring will be a little difficult for the next few months, you can still set yourself up for success as a job seeker by doing these activities. Just because companies aren’t hiring now or have to lay-off employees as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, doesn’t mean they won’t ever need to hire again. And, when they do, you want to be ready.
Stay healthy, productive and take action (every day)!