Searching for a job right now is not what 9 out of 10 people want to do. An actual pandemic has taken over the world and people are losing their jobs and unemployment is high. So, what do you do when looking for a job during a pandemic? When it seems like the world is “literally” not in your favor right now?
Being a Recruiter, I’m usually top of the list for friends and family members to go to for job search advice. I’ve had this conversation with family and friends who have lost their jobs, and (of course) candidates. Here is my top advice for what to do if you’re looking for a job – during a pandemic.
Don’t create a “Self-Fulfilling Prophecy”.
This is a psychological phenomenon where someone predicts the future and their behaviors reinforce that prediction…then their prediction comes true. If you believe you can’t get a job right now, then your behavior is going to reflect that thought. You might not apply for jobs as often as you should, or when you get an interview you don’t try as hard. You don’t get the job and your next through is “it’s because it’s impossible to get a job during this pandemic!”. Change the way you view your job search. You are uniquely qualified for the positions you are applying for – you are not the same as other candidates. The right job is out there for you and you just need to find it!
Positivity is contagious (no-pun intended).
After years of interviewing people and years of assisting people in their job search, I think a big part of someone getting hired or not is their attitude (and obviously their skills). When I interview with someone who is happy and positive it makes me feel that way too. I associate them with happy feelings. Don’t let your interviews get negative. Don’t dwell on unhappy things in your interview. It will have a positive impact if you are positive in your interviews.
Practice interview answers every single day; even if you don’t have interviews lined up.
Look up common interview questions and do some reflection on your answers and practice your answers. This will help you prepare for questions, so you don’t ramble on and on and on. Do this every. Single. Day. Practice these with friends/family/previous co-workers to get their thoughts on your answers. Look up YouTube videos on interviewing techniques. Read blogs. Listen to podcasts. Buy a book on interviewing. Just do this every single day.
Set a networking schedule.
This can be done virtually over Zoom or whatever video platform you prefer. Get connected with your existing network to keep them updated on your job search and catch up on what’s going on with them. The key thing though is to end the session by asking “Do you know someone in your network you could introduce me to?” It’s an easy way to expand your network and can sometimes lead to a job later down the line. Don’t forget to follow up with these connections as well to thank them for their time and wisdom.
Talk to Recruiters.
I might be biased here because I am a Recruiter. But if someone asks me a question and I can’t place them, I still want to help in whatever way I can. If a recruiter doesn’t give you feedback, ASK FOR IT. Giving feedback is hard- just like receiving it is. But if you ask for feedback it becomes easier for Recruiters to share it. We do a lot of things we don’t get paid for, like: Resume writing, interview feedback, job search tips in general. We will even recommend you to a company that we are not working with, because we love helping people! Plus- maybe we do have a job that might be good for you in that moment.
Looking for a job is your new full-time job.
Set a schedule – 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Wake up in the morning like you’re going to your job. Get dressed. Get a routine and plan out your days. Set goals for yourself. Goals on how many job applications a day, networking meetings a day, interview questions per day etc. Re-evaluate this each week to see if it’s working. If you’re not getting enough interviews then re-evaluate your resume, re-evaluate the number of applications you are putting out there, re-evaluate the types of jobs you are applying to. Don’t keep doing the same thing and expecting different results.
Realize that there are things you can control and things you cannot control. Focus on what you can control.
You can control how many jobs you apply to, how much you network, you can control (to an extent) how well the interview goes (through research & preparation). But you can’t ultimately control if you get the job offer. Reward your progress even if it hasn’t landed in a “job offer” yet. If you hit your application goals each week & networking goal, then this is something to be celebrated and can give you a sense of “control” over the process.
Increase your skills.
Been putting off getting that certificate in XYZ? Now is the time to pull the trigger and do it. That way when you’re hit with the “What have you been doing during your time unemployed” you can answer “well I got certified in XYZ and I’ve sharpened my skills in 123”. It looks better than saying “applying to jobs”.
Give yourself a break.
These are unprecedented times. Give yourself some grace. If you don’t come out of this knowing two new languages, that is okay. Boredom is a luxury. Treat yourself to some Netflix, a walk and some time to give yourself the mental break that you need.
Above all remain positive and do not give up. Don’t let doubt, negativity, or stress show in your interviews. Talk with friends and family members. Set boundaries on when you want to talk about your job search – but also when you just want to talk & have fun. Realize that this is temporary, and you will find a job that will be amazing & you will love.