We are living in a very strange time. The global pandemic known as COVID-19 and the preventive stay-at-home measures put in place to fight it are turning the lives of most people upside down. Social distancing has changed how we play, shop, and of course, how we work.
Now that many companies are being deemed “non-essential,” a good number of them have been forced to close or move to a remote workforce. If you are stuck between jobs right now, then you need to take action, because it is possible to find work during these uncertain times. Here are a few tips for an easier transition.
Get Yourself Ready
The first step for switching to a new job or career is to get your resume in order. Use this period to really take the time to reflect on what you did at past jobs so you can add meaningful content to your resume that will catch the attention of employers. When writing and formatting a resume, it doesn’t hurt to do like the executives do and write clear and simple bullet points that show what you have done in the past and cater some of your skills to the new career you are after.
With fewer people working in offices, more companies are using artificial intelligence via applicant tracking systems to weed out the worst resumes. To make sure you get noticed instead of dumped in the proverbial bin, research your new job for buzzwords that you can add to your resume and remove any unnecessary graphs and pictures that might trip up the system. If you have any certifications, spell them out instead of using acronyms that the hiring system may not understand.
With your resume up to snuff, now is a great time to try some networking by posting your desire for new work on social media. Focus on popular networking sites like LinkedIn and list some references from past employers. It is okay to ask your network if they know of any open positions. Of course, you should always be cautious when job hunting online. Remove any social media pictures that you don’t want employers to see and keep a log of the places you applied to so you don’t fall for fake phishing emails that may release viruses when opened.
Practice Makes Perfect
Now that you know the type of career that interests you, look for key skills that the job listings require and practice them while you have the time. For example, if you are going for an accounting position, you can download a trial version of a software program they use and get familiar with it or become certified for Microsoft Excel. You might even use this opportunity to take online classes to complete your degree to really wow your new potential employer.
This is also a good time to practice your interview skills. The coronavirus is forcing many companies to work remotely, so the future may involve more phone and video interviews where you will want to be as well dressed and prepared as the face to face version. Research common interview questions and learn some facts about your potential employer, so you can show that you take this opportunity seriously. Practice phone interviews where you sit up straight and talk with purpose like you would when sitting across from an interviewer.
While you are being proactive with interview and job practice, you may still feel anxiety over the fact that you are not currently working. However, keep in mind that there are many resources that you can take advantage of during the pandemic. Many states are expanding unemployment benefits, and the federal government passed a bill to provide an extra $600 on top of state benefits if you suddenly find yourself jobless. If you are having trouble paying debt, you may also be able to talk to your servicer about delayed payments until things blow over.
Learn the Jobs That Are Available
So, now that you have your resume up to snuff, and you are ready to ace the interview, it is time to find that job. It may seem like the economy has come to a screeching halt, but there are jobs available during the coronavirus. Many retail outlets are closed to aid with social distancing, but essential businesses are still operating, and they run the gamut from health care to the communications industry, so if you have some background and experience, you can still find work.
If you find a career that you are interested in, but you don’t have any solid experience, all is not lost. You can still start a new position from scratch. For instance, you could work as an intern or a volunteer during COVID-19, and if you prove yourself, you could get hired on when things get better. You can also try obtaining an entry-level position where you will learn the ins and outs of the new job as you work your way up. You can also ask someone in your network to vouch for you at their employer.
When you do apply, make sure to modify your application for each position. Human resources can see right through a form letter, so write a cover letter that expresses your enthusiasm for the specific position. After you apply, don’t be too bothersome with your follow-ups. Many HR teams are already swamped with new tasks related to the fallout of COVID-19, so keep follow-ups to once every couple weeks. While it may seem like the world has stopped, the last thing you want to do is sit by the wayside. If you are interested in switching careers or finding a new job during the coronavirus pandemic, you can make it happen, but you must be proactive.
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