How to find a new job during a pandemic

Yes, this pandemic is still here & you may very well be currently looking for a job, maybe by choice or maybe because you have been retrenched or laid off.

Here are a few tips to help you find a new job during this stressful & uncertain time.

 

1. Build your career confidence

Whether you’ve started to feel that you’re not qualified or skilled enough to move ahead in your career, or you’ve been missing the positive reinforcements and praise that you would normally experience in a physical office-based environment, it’s possible that your confidence has taken a knock in the past few months. If so, take a step back and proactively identify your strengths and the areas in which you deliver the most value. Then, focus on reinforcing those strengths in your mind, instead of concentrating on the areas where you may be lacking.

There are many ways of beginning to build your career confidence back up for the new era of work. One good starting point could be to look back at your accomplishments and successes, while thinking about the challenges you’ve successfully overcome. You might also cultivate confidence by repeating positive affirmations to yourself every morning and in the evening, reflecting on what has gone well that day and concentrating on your own journey of professional progress and growth, instead of comparing yourself to others.

The more confident you can be about your career as you look for a new job, the more effective you can be in marketing yourself to employers and making the case for the value you can bring to every role you apply for.

2. Be open-minded when considering opportunities

Being open-minded and flexible when considering the possibilities for your professional future is vital at a time like this. For instance, instead of thinking about the next traditional step up the career ladder for someone in your profession, why not consider whether a horizontal career move could actually be more beneficial for you?  Like a sideways move into a role that could help to build a skill set you may presently lack.

Keep an open mind, too, about the industries on which you concentrate your job search. Be strategic about how and where you look for new roles. In addition, don’t assume that any role that you take should be a permanent one. Temporary or contract roles, for instance, can be invaluable ways to build your skill set and gain experience in different areas, and that’s before you consider that such roles can sometimes be made permanent later.

3. Reflect on what you want from your career

During this time, it’s important to consider what you want for your future to ensure you’re making the right career decisions. After all, when was the last time you stopped, took stock, and thought about your current situation? Are you genuinely happy with where your career is heading, or the industry you’re working in? Does your career feel meaningful and purposeful for you, and allow you to do what you’re naturally good at? Is it aligned with your values? What about your skills – are they being properly utilised in your current role? Perhaps there are some skills you presently lack, that you’d like to develop?

If there has never been a better time to reflect on your career so far and the direction that you would like it to take in the future, it might well be now, when you may have a bit more time to think about these things than you did prior to the COVID-19 crisis. The changes that the pandemic has brought may also present you with an opportunity to be bold about what you truly want in your life and career.

So, use this time to reflect and be clear in your mind about exactly what you want your next career move to be. This level of clarity and focus will allow you to better target your job search, applying for only the most relevant opportunities, thus increasing your chances of success. Not only that, but this newfound understanding of what you really want will come across well in the interview room, allowing you to further demonstrate why you are the best person for the job.

4. Demonstrate your relevant soft skills

Do you possess the soft skills that aren’t merely in demand now, but will also be increasingly sought-after by employees in the months and years to come? Furthermore, if you were sitting in an interview room now, would you be able to provide tangible evidence of these skills? There are certain soft skills that you are likely to need to build on and develop in the new era of work, including adaptability, a willingness to learn, emotional intelligence, interpersonal and communication skills, problem-solving skills, and creativity.

So, now is the time to familiarise yourself with your skillset, so that you can be as prepared as possible for the future changing landscape, and steal a competitive advantage over other candidates during the job search process.

5. Proactively upskill to address any skills gaps

If you have identified one or more skills gaps that need filling in order for you to move forward in your career, it’s a good idea to establish a pattern of proactively upskilling, making use of the various related resources out there – including online – that could help you to achieve it. Upskilling now will help to improve your chances of finding a new job by making you more employable and demonstrating to employers your commitment to lifelong learning.

Even for those currently self-isolating or otherwise working from home, there are various ways to upskills including reading business books, listening to podcasts, attending virtual events, conferences and webinars, and enrolling on relevant online courses. Now could also be a good time to take advantage of any training and development resources your employer offers you.

6. Perfect your personal brand

Your ‘personal brand’ is, in a nutshell, how you promote yourself, and it will be instrumental in your efforts to land new opportunities, especially in the current climate. Now, then, is a great time to fine-tune your own personal brand, including optimising your use of social media to more advantageously showcase your expertise. In particular, it’s important to regularly update your LinkedIn profile, adding any new skills you’ve learnt.

Also use any time you have right now to share relevant industry news with your network, and consider writing blogs or creating Facebook pages to share your personal opinion on new developments or trends. This will help to increase your visibility in relevant circles, and in so doing, boost your chances of a recruiter or employer finding you.

7. Develop your remote interviewing skills

Remote interviewing is increasingly likely to be the norm going forward. So, now’s the time to make perfect your virtual interviewing skills, including ensuring you present yourself in the best possible way when being interviewed via a laptop, tablet or even mobile screen.

It’s true that many of the same tips commonly given for face-to-face interviewing also apply to remote interviewing, especially around preparation and how to best answer common interview questions.

Do you, for instance, have an environment that lends itself well to video interviews? Are you also comfortable with using the technology, and aware of your body language? Other good reasons to give the chosen virtual interview software a ‘test drive’ before the actual interview include the opportunity this provides to ensure you won’t be speaking too quietly or too loudly for the interviewer, as well as to check for any time lags, which will help you to avoid inadvertently interrupting the interviewer.

8. Stay positive and look after yourself

These are challenging times, and we are all dealing with different emotions. The added pressure of job searching may make an already trying situation even more difficult to manage. However, it’s vital to stay positive. Remind yourself of your unique strengths and the achievements you have celebrated in your career to date, and have faith that the right opportunity will come along.

Try to be patient and persistent, too; it’s unlikely that you’ll land your dream role after barely a few days or weeks of job searching. However, a suitable role will almost certainly emerge if you’re determined with your search – it might just take a little longer than you’d ideally wish.

In the meantime, look after your wellbeing – your own self-care should be high on your priority list right now. Also try to approach the job search process with a growth mindset, treating it as another opportunity to learn and develop.

9. Talk to a recruiter

Recruiters in your industry will be well-placed to give you invaluable insights into the present state of the job market, and any opportunities they may consider potentially relevant for you to explore. They are professionals in the industry & can guide you to find the best position for you.

As I said in the introduction, it is entirely possible to find a new job during a pandemic or recession. By following the above steps, you will be able to better demonstrate your value to employers and maximise your chances of job search success in the wake of COVID-19.

 

And just to add some good news at the end of this blog! Recruitment is definitely picking up! We are currently recruiting for numerous clients all over South Africa. If you havent checked out our jobs page yet then what are you waiting for!

 

Adapted from a blog by Gaelle Blake