There's no denying that the U.S. labor market took a huge hit from the coronavirus. Although the economy is gradually recovering from the devastation to the labor market, the current economic climate is still very much uncertain and the truth is that no one knows when things will return to normal, or if they ever will as a matter of fact.
In the middle of all this uncertainty, as a job seeker, it can be easy to be discouraged. "Should I even bother applying to jobs?" "Are companies even still hiring?" The answer is yes. Yes to both questions. While hiring may have reduced, there are companies out there still actively recruiting to bring on new talent to alleviate problems and solve challenges. This is definitely not the time to take a break from applying to jobs if you're looking for one.
However, with more unemployed people than ever in the job market, getting hired won't be easy. The competition for jobs is fierce and if you must land that job, now more than ever, it’s pertinent that you know how to stand out as the candidate companies are looking for. If you're unsure of how to present yourself as THAT candidate for a job you want, don't worry, we're here to help you figure it out. Below are 3 steps you should take note of that could help you come out of this global health crisis with your dream job.
Step 1: Enhance your Resume
● Emphasize on soft skills - Before you apply for any job, first and foremost, you should take out time to revamp your resume. With the pandemic forcing organizations to work from home, if you're applying for a job at this time, it’s especially important to ensure that your resume highlights relevant soft skills that demonstrate you can be as productive working from home as in an office.
Skills like relationship and time management, communication skills and teamwork etc., are in-demand skills as companies want people who can be great team players, meet deadlines and work efficiently with little to no supervision.
● Keep it concise and relevant- Your resume is in the simplest sense, a summary of your experience. As tempting as it can be to showcase all your qualifications, skills and work experience, you really shouldn't. Be as straight to the point as possible, highlighting just the points that are relevant to the role you are applying for that show you are fit for the role. This shouldn't take more than two pages at most.
Recruiters usually receive dozens of applications for a single job opening and the truth is that no one really wants to skim through multiple pages of one resume just to see if you're a good fit for the role.
● Tailor your resume to fit the role -There is no one-size-fits-all resume for every role. Tailor your resume to spotlight skills and competencies that easily tell the recruiter what you have to offer a prospective employer. For instance, if you're applying for a role in accounting, your resume should showcase your career accomplishments, education and skills as relevant to accounting, finance and business operations.
This means you might have different versions of your resume but it will stand to your benefit in the long run in terms of impressing recruiters and showcasing your expertise for the specific role.
Step 2: Develop your skill set
● Identify the skills gap -Here's a hard truth, you may be under-qualified for a job you really want. But that shouldn't deter you. As a professional, constantly updating your skillset is essential if you want to stay relevant in the job market. And guess what? There's no better time to explore your interests and pursue potential growth opportunities than now.
Do an audit of your skills to determine educational priorities and areas where you'll need to bolster your skills and qualifications. Regardless of your industry or position, there'll always be skills to learn.
● Take online courses- Once you have figured out where you're lagging skill-wise, the next step would be to fill the knowledge gaps. You can start by taking online courses to earn new qualifications. With many schools closed, e-learning has become more popular, and many online learning platforms and institutions are offering an array of informative content. You should take advantage of this.
Professional certifications can go a long way in increasing your proficiency for a new role. And once you've acquired them, don't forget to update your resume to include your newest qualifications.
● Refine your work-from-home routine-Once upon a time, working from home was an option only a few had the luxury to choose, but with the coronavirus outbreak, it has become a necessity for many organizations. Basically, with the remote work model, the ability to efficiently work from home is a critical skill employers are on the lookout for.
Future job interviews will likely ask about your remote work experience and how you were able to demonstrate your effectiveness during this time. So if you're working from home, to stay productive, try to maintain regular hours and treat your day as you would if you were going into the office. Create a dedicated workspace, set ground rules with family members to avoid distractions and try to stay consistent.
Step 3: Ace your Video Interviews
● Stay engaged during the interview-In-person interviews during this time while we are social distancing are most likely out of the question, so for the time being, you should also prepare for virtual interviews. Now, although video interviews allow you to be interviewed from the comfort of your home, it would be a lie to say they are any less nerve-wracking than in-person interviews.
It can be difficult to pick up on social cues and develop a rapport with your interviewer over the phone but you should put in the effort to show your engagement during the interview.
● Be appropriately dressed- It can be tempting to dress casually for your virtual interview, after all, you'll probably be in your room so what's the big deal? Well, you really shouldn't. It’s recommended that you dress up just as well as you would for a face to face interview in the company's office.
Also, you should set up in an environment that is suitable for an interview. This means a clutter-free, well-lit, simple and quiet space. Setting yourself up against a completely blank background is most recommended. You don't want to be somewhere that will be distracting for you or the interviewer.
● Rehearse ahead of time- Finally, it goes without saying that you should prepare for your interview. Download video platforms like Zoom and Skype to conduct dry runs before the interview. Record yourself answering questions then study the recording to help you evaluate your delivery.
Analyze your posture, eye contact, tone of voice, sound and lighting quality and background to polish your interviewing skills to ensure your interview goes smoothly.
Stay positive! - No one knows when this virus will subside and the job market will steady. But as always, try to maintain a positive outlook on life. Companies are still hiring and if you follow the steps given above, you’ll be better equipped to come out of this with so much more clarity and direction in your career.
Have you heard of our BrunswikSt. Career Workshops?
If you’re interested in learning more about how you can adequately equip yourself with information to gain job stability, then our BrunswikSt. Career Workshops are just what you need.
In our career workshops, we will:
● Focus on how to fine-tune your decision-making skills with a values assessment that will show you how to start finding and applying for the jobs that are ACTUALLY right for you.
● Cover how to build a resume that will set you apart from your peers and highlight your key accomplishments.
● Showcase how to write a cover letter and how to create a more engaging LinkedIn profile.
● Highlight key strategies that will give you the ability to navigate any interview with ease and create your own unique 30 second elevator pitch.