COVID-19 has changed how we do many things, one of which is the job search process. Where it seems to have made the most impact is on career management. As organizations shifted to remote working styles, the process of hiring and as a result, job applications also became more virtual. This change meant that job seekers needed to adopt new skills in researching, networking and virtual interviewing. For some, this also meant a potential change in career. We reached out to some of our job search clients to understand the realities of navigating this challenging environment.
Whether working towards landing a new role or virtual networking, the environment has definitely changed. Still, with the right support system in place, you can quickly determine what to expect during your job search and how to best prepare for it. Especially important is how to network effectively and considering whether it is time to pivot and change your career trajectory. Here is some advice from real people who are currently searching or landed new roles during the pandemic.
Navigating the new process
A decline in job postings and heavy restrictions due to social distancing were a few of the many challenges that came up because of COVID 19. These changes had job seekers resort to Zoom meetings and WhatsApp calls. With networking and interviewing with people and organizations obstructed, job seekers had to combat disruption to their routine by building strong professional relationships virtually.
Focus on sustaining a small network of people and spend time getting to know them via Zoom or other virtual platforms. Less time spent travelling to meet with people also means having more free time available in your schedule. Sign up for virtual events specific to your industry to broaden professional connections, as well as adding meaningful updates to your career story.
Networking, how it’s changed and which strategies to leverage
The way we network has changed, yet it shouldn’t affect how you cultivate your professional relationships. If you are networking during the pandemic, try applying these strategies to your routine:
- Get creative with Zoom calls. Set up a cocktail hour or virtual coffee.
- Stay informed. Attend webinars and virtual seminars to keep up with the latest in your industry.
- Use platforms like LinkedIn to your advantage. Increase your visibility by sharing, liking, and commenting on topical articles.
- Communicate regularly with your networks. This helps to uncover which companies are hiring right now and reach out to the appropriate contact personally.
- Be mindful that the contacts in your network might be undergoing similar circumstances. Try to offer support to them as needed.
Virtual interviews and how to embrace your surroundings
Much of the job application process is mostly now online, but don’t have to be daunting. Virtual interviews allow you the freedom to be in your comfort zone, at home. The relief from not travelling to an unfamiliar destination and waiting nervously at reception are added benefits. Embrace the change. Start with a neutral background, dress professionally, test out the lighting and sound prior to the interview and practice using the Zoom or chosen platform. Make your surroundings comfortable, so the virtual meeting goes smoothly.
Pivoting or changing career paths
People are setting time aside in their schedule to increase their knowledge and further their expertise. They are also using this time to re-shape their career goals, explore consulting opportunities, and share their expertise via LinkedIn groups. You can take this time to explore new areas of interest in your industry. Develop a ‘fractional work’ mindset and take on contract opportunities to upskill or reskill in new areas of interest.
Verity’s support during the job search
Our program offers comprehensive support to people at their most vulnerable time. Clients work with our highly-trained coaches who help them rediscover their strengths, values, and confidence.
We continue to maintain regular contact with our job search clients throughout the pandemic, gaining their valuable perspective on the unstable situation and offering new approaches to tackling new challenges. Our tireless support has inspired our clients in several ways:
Through our clients’ stories, we can better gauge and adapt to the shifting situation, redesign where needed, and continue to offer thoughtful and relevant support.
Learn about our career transition services and how we can support you through your career journey to help you find your next role.