How to job search during COVID-19

How to search for a job during COVID-19

COVID-19 has made the daunting task of finding a job even more challenging. The uncertainty has changed the recruitment process to a huge extent and what had worked out in the past may not lead to results today. In this post, we have listed some steps that you incorporate into your search to land a job.

A job search process broadly involves three steps – finding a vacancy, sending your resume, and getting interviewed. Let’s go through each stage to find out how you can adapt to the changing job market.

How to search for a job online?

Besides scanning job search websites such as Internshala Fresher Jobs, Naukri, LinkedIn, Indeed, and Glassdoor, you can take the following steps to find out about job openings:

1. Leverage your network

We know you have been hearing how important networking is everywhere, but that’s because it increases your number of finding the right job for you. In fact, a LinkedIn study had found that 85% jobs are filled through networking. A number of openings are not posted online, but shared with the company’s employees. This is where your network can come into the picture. And because many of these jobs are not posted online, you can expect lower competition.

If you haven’t networked online before, you can start small with your family, friends, and past interns that you have worked with. Let them know that you are looking for a job including specifics such as the industry and your qualifications. You can do this through email or via LinkedIn. If you know someone who works at a company you want to apply to, you can request them to introduce you to a relevant contact in the company.

Additionally, make sure that you set aside time for networking regularly and expand your network. You can do this by scrolling through LinkedIn feed, commenting on relevant articles, and introducing yourself to people you want to connect with. To reach out, you could craft a professional networking message to specify why you are connecting with them. For example – 

My name is Chirag, and I am a student at Kirori Mal College. I came across your profile today and I was really inspired by your journey. I understand that you may be busy, but would it be possible for you to share your story with me over a brief Zoom call?

Alternatively, you could request someone from your network to introduce you through email. Remember to not outright ask for a job. The purpose of networking is to build and nurture a connection so that you could help each other out whenever an opportunity arises.

2. Update your LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn is one of the go-to places for recruiters to actively find and hire candidates. To make sure that you fall under their radar, use your job search time to optimise your LinkedIn profile.

To begin with, use a professional picture that matches the style of other professionals working in your industry. Next, you can edit your headline, which is the text that appears right below your name. You can use SEO-friendly keywords.

The summary section is where you can take the viewer through your journey. Before writing about your skills, experience, and accomplishments, scan the various job descriptions and make a list of common keywords such as content writing, digital marketing, Google Analytics, etc. Use these keywords while writing the summary. Also, remember to steer clear from overused words like hardworking, team player, organised, etc. Replace them with action words such as led, developed, managed, etc. You should also use this space to mention the projects you have worked on or to share links to your work such as a blog, website, etc.

Lastly, did you know that you can customise your LinkedIn profile URL so that it’s not just a set of random numbers?

3. Go through company websites

Make a list of companies that you want to work for and check out their Careers page for available roles. Not all of these positions are posted on job searching platforms. 

4. Set up informational interviews

If you want to gain insights about a particular job or career path, you can initiate contact with a professional from the industry or the company you want to work for and set up an interview with them. This is called an informational interview and it serves different purposes such as knowing more about a company, learning about opportunities available in a given industry, or gaining career advice. A few things to keep in mind while setting up an interview is having a clear objective, keeping it brief, taking care of any expenses such as coffee or lunch, and expressing appreciation for the person’s time.

5. Consider roles that could use your transferable skills

If the industry that you were studying for or working in pre-COVID has been affected severely, then you may need to broaden your search and look for roles where you can use some of your skills. You don’t have to meet all the criteria in the job description. If you have some of the hard and soft skills that the job calls for, then go ahead and apply.

How to apply for a job during COVID-19?

Once you find out about the job opening(s), the next step generally involves sending out resumes.

1. Tailor your resume

With the rise in the number of applications, recruiters have less amount of time to closely review each resume.If this study is to be believed, then a recruiter spends an average of 7.4 seconds on a resume. So, your resume should convey how you match what the company needs. 

Figure out the keywords in the job description and make sure they are included. This will also help in getting your resume through an automated application system if it is being used by the employers. 

Use the reverse chronological order. This means lead with your experiences and accomplishments from college rather than school. Also, give preference to experiences that are the most relevant to the job.

All of this information should be conveyed in a simple layout using sufficient whitespace.

2. Send out cover letters for the most important roles

If there’s a position that perfectly matches the kind of job that you are looking for, go an extra mile and write a cover letter. It is a short document where you can elaborate on what makes you the right fit backed by one to two experiences. 

Want to try writing one? Read how to write a cover letter for your first job.

How to prepare for the interview round?

When you make it past the application and resume stage, you will probably have a virtual interview. Here’s how you can be prepared for the same:

1. Get familiar with the technology

Set aside some time to understand how a video calling application such as Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, etc. work. Make sure that your posture is right and you’re looking into the camera. If possible, set up a mock interview with a friend or family member. This will also help you be prepared for connectivity issues.

2. Prepare for the commonly asked questions

Always make sure that you have framed responses to common questions. You should also be prepared to answer pandemic-specific questions such as:

1. Will you be willing to relocate when the pandemic is over?

2. What have you been learning during the pandemic?

3. Do your research on the company

Besides basic research where you find out about their work, products, and culture, explore what has been the impact of COVID-19 on the business. Find out about the challenges they have faced and whether they have been able to overcome them. Is there any way you can help them in combating these issues?

Once you have completed all the steps, remember to be patient. If you haven’t heard back from the employer in more than a week, send a polite follow-up. Even if you get rejected, send a thank you note for their time and continue applying to other job opportunities.

If you have sent out a number of applications, but still haven’t heard back, you could seek advice from people working at the companies you had applied to. You could ask them if they could take a quick look at your resume and see if something doesn’t fit the bill.

What to do if you can’t find a job?

If you are not able to make progress in your job search, you can try doing the following:

1. Upskill: Review the positions that you have been applying for and find out if there is a key skill that you are missing. Another way to go about upskilling is to research about the skills that are on the rise. Finally, you can also use this time to learn a skill that you could not find time for earlier. 

You could check out Internshala Trainings to learn in-demand skills such as data science, web development, blockchain, graphic design, etc. 

2. Do an internship: Due to a number of job offers being deferred, many students have turned to internships to keep gaining experience. If you can’t find internships in companies that you had in mind, try to be more flexible and look for internships at various startups or in similar fields. 

3. Volunteer: A volunteering experience can help you in exploring different career options and networking.

These were a few tips to help you in your job search during COVID-19. You can also check out Internshala’s Fresher Jobs to find out a job that’s the right fit for you.  And remember, you have got this!

Image credits: <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/vectors/office’>Office vector created by stories – www.freepik.com</a>

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