With nearly 30 million workers laid off during the pandemic, you are bound to wonder: Is it even possible to find a job right now? Should you bother sending out resumes or wait for things to get better? It’s true that finding a job while unemployment rates have reached a record high will be more difficult. However, if you do it right, it’s not impossible, as well.
In this article, we will be discussing how to land a job during the pandemic. Let’s get started.
1. Speed is the Key
If you are applying for entry-level positions, then we suggest you send a resume within the first week or two. Any delays are likely to cost you since your profile may not get reviewed. If you find an interesting opportunity that you are a good fit for, make sure you apply as soon as possible. This will increase your chances of making it to the next stage and getting called in for an interview.
Even if you see job postings on a company’s website, they may have paused hiring. Before going through a long application process, get in touch with recruiters at the company, and ask if they’re currently hiring.
You can also set up alert notifications when new jobs are posted. This can allow you to apply quickly. While speed is particularly important for entry-level roles that are filled quickly, mid and senior-level roles have more competition than before. As a result, applying early gives you a higher chance of your resume being seen.
2. Preparing a Resume and Cover Letter
The first thing you need to do is draft a compelling resume and cover letter that can help you land an interview. Some of the things to keep in mind here include:
a. Customize Your Resumes and Cover Letters
If you are applying to companies belonging to different sectors, then you need to make sure you understand your audience. This primarily involves tailoring your cover letters and resumes so that they suit the organization you are applying to. For instance, if you are applying to a bank, then your cover letter will sound inherently different from when you are applying to a design agency.
Here are a few things you need to keep in mind when creating a resume and drafting a cover letter:
- Talk about your passion and interest in the role and the company.
- Discuss your past work experience, especially your most recent work experience.
- Talk about how your qualifications, skills, and experience relates to the role you are applying to.
b. Prepare Your Profile to Reflect a Valuable Skills-set
Another important prerequisite for how to land a job during the pandemic is to put yourself into the employer’s shoes. Think of what they are looking for in a candidate. Some of the key skills that employers are looking for in a new hire at the moment include:
- Critical thinking
- Conflict management
- Emotional intelligence
- Time management
- IT Skills
Showcase your skills in these areas such as how you collaborated with colleagues or led a project. Be prepared to share an example that illustrates your skills in an interview, as well.
c. Mention Academic Projects and Other Initiatives
If you have limited work experience, then you can always mention academic projects that allowed you to display your skills-set. This can include your research skills, data collection, teamwork, and leadership.
If you have signed up as a volunteer for an initiative, then you can mention this, as well. Employers look for candidates that have interacted with individuals from various facets of life and gained some exposure outside of their comfort zone.
d. Stick to a Professional Format
Avoid experimenting with the format of your resume. This can come across as unprofessional. A typical resume has the following format:
Top Section – Name, address, telephone number, and email
Body – Education and Work Experience
Supplementary Section – Academic Projects, Volunteer Experiences, Community Experiences, etc.
Keep the font size and style consistent (12 pt. for the body and 14 pt. for your name).
3. Apply to Relevant Jobs
If you are a fresh graduate, it may seem like a good idea to apply to any and every job possible. Unfortunately, this can quickly backfire. A targeted job search is more beneficial than opting for a “throw spaghetti on the wall and see what sticks” approach.
For starters, you are more likely to get accepted for a job that complements your educational qualifications and work experience. It will also be more useful in the long run. You need to think long term and apply to jobs that contribute to the advancement of your career.
Applying to a job that you have prior experience in will also allow you to display your skills most effectively and thrive in the workplace. Conversely, if you find a job you are not qualified for, then you will only get overwhelmed and may be forced to quit eventually.
4. Use the STAR Technique to Prepare for Interviews
If you receive a call for an interview, then we highly recommend using the STAR technique to prepare your answers. The STAR technique is a great way of showcasing your value during an interview. It relies on 4 elements: Situation, Task, Action, and Result.
You can use this technique to formulate your answers about your previous work experience. You can begin by describing a problem or a situation you were confronted with. This is followed by describing your role and responsibility during the situation. Next, you can talk about the steps you took to address the problem. Finally, you can discuss the outcomes and what you were able to achieve.
This technique provides a defined framework for talking about your skills and abilities in a professional environment and helps build answers that deliver greater impact.
5. Be Patient
As companies struggle to adapt to the new normal, a lot of processes will likely take longer than usual to complete. If you have given an interview but haven’t heard back yet, don’t lose hope just yet. Many companies take time before they respond to candidates. Typically, most companies maintain a response time of 3 to 4 days before reverting to candidates about their application status. Currently, however, this process can take a few weeks.
Even if you don’t hear back from a possible employer, you need to remember that every interview you have is another opportunity for you to improve your interview skills. Think of where you may have gone wrong and how you could have answered a few questions differently. This will help you be more prepared for your next interview.
6. Applying Again After Rejection
If you have received a rejection letter from an organization, then don’t be disheartened. Instead, consider this an opportunity for self-improvement. You can try and examine where you went wrong and use this time to learn new skills before you apply again. For instance, you can sign up for an online certification course that adds more value to your profile. This can increase your chances of success the second time around.
If you are considering applying again, make sure you let the recruiter know that you applied to the organization in the past, as well. You can highlight the new skills you have acquired in your cover letter and resume. Consider acknowledging the drawbacks in your profile and place emphasis on how it motivated you to enhance your skills-set. This will showcase your ability to work hard, adapt, be receptive to constructive criticism, and improve yourself.
If you made it to an interview and were declined, then we suggest you get in touch with the recruiter and find out how long you need to wait before you can apply again.
Work On Your Personal Brand
Even if things look a little grim right now, you can also use this time productively and redefine your brand. From focusing on your skills-set to identifying the kind of work that you are passionate about, there’s a lot that you can do during this period.
Things may seem difficult right now, but it’s important that you keep an eye out for interesting opportunities and apply if they appear to align with your goals and objectives.
To learn more about how to land a job during the pandemic, listen to our webinar, and get access to a wealth of insights from top recruiters and career coaches on how you can find a job in these trying times.