In a matter of days, the virus has spread globally and the world changed dynamics with the onset of COVID-19. Today it’s a worldwide public health concern. The anxiety about economic disruption is affecting the markets and all industries globally with nothing comparable. The virus is causing stress for everyone, whether you already have a job or currently in a job search. There is no doubt that you are probably experiencing delays in the typical recruitment process. Companies and recruiters alike are being more cautious as we adjust to this new normal. It’s a time when people are social distancing, but business must continue. Work needs to be completed. That means jobs still need to be filled.
Jobprofile applies the safety rule for its team and their families, as well as for its clients and candidates by adapting mainly the services of recruitment, outplacement and coaching. Nonetheless, we continue to support our community and network as long as the outbreak lasts. Therefore, the goal of this article is to provide you with tips to confront the additional challenges brought by the crisis alongside the well-known ones for job seekers and professionals throughout their careers.
All workers are now feeling the worst part of the coronavirus outbreak, especially in their paychecks as more companies are obliged to stop their activity partially or completely, reduce hours with remote jobs and, in the worst cases, lay people off. We will be seeing talents losing their jobs. Almost all of us are at risk.
Being an entrepreneur and an independent with a small business, this global pandemic and financial meltdown is confronting me with a challenging reality. However, I cannot say I don’t know how a crisis feels like. I’ve been there three times: the Dot-com bubble in 2000, the September 11 attacks in 2001, and the Subprime mortgage crisis in 2007.
All crises are terrible but we have to keep in mind that, after all, crises always end.
During those crises, we learned the hard way for survival and forge the DNA of Jobprofile. It required us to think differently by launching new services. We developed workshops and coaching programs dedicated to entrepreneurs, the support and coaching programs for fragilized workers and outplacement programs for companies downsizing or obliged to layoff.
We help our clients to focus on the stay team, but care deeply for the leave team.
We were also partner of the State (ORP) after the Dot-com bubble in 2000 to support and help their services to coach the unemployed on how to bounce back, act with resilience and find their new opportunities. With all this experience put together we are ready to take care and support job seekers on the market by helping them shortening the economic impact this crisis will have on them.
What should you be doing in your job search while the world is fighting the COVID-19?
No one knows what the short-term future holds. Patience is key like adaptability. Each crisis requires different cultural shifts for which candidates and companies need to quickly adapt themselves. For those seeking new jobs and career mobility, there will inevitability be some adjustments to be made in strategies and approaches particularly in terms of networking, applying, interviewing and the following-up.
It is important during this crisis not to make any assumption about employers not hiring anymore. For sure some are reducing their staff, but some industries are speeding up their recruiting efforts to fill critical “need to have” positions. Don’t hold off on sending your resume or reaching out directly to the employer.
Be attractive to Smart employers
We define “Smart employers” as those using this particular time to build talent pipelines and pools for future jobs. Even if the process will not allow a regular recruitment process until the crisis eases, applying to open positions and engage in building relationships is a good networking strategy. Job search requires patience even more now. Some employers are well aware that this period offer them the possibility to get the attention of active AND passive job seekers (those who did not have time or the possibility of applying while working, or those not really thinking of moving to another job).
Fine-tune your CV
Sharpen up your resume and update it with the latest skills you’ve develop before and during the confinement. Most of the resumes I currently read are not optimized. If I cannot tell and understand what you do in the top third of your CV, you need help. It needs to be visible and readable to recruiters and robots who are deciding on who will take an interview.
Job applications: “Less is more”
Your job search is in a recession and you should focus on applying to fewer job openings. You need to narrow down to companies that you want to work for. The logic is to focalize your energies towards a few quality job applications, the ones that stand out from the multitude of mediocre job applications. Do not try to spread yourself by applying anywhere and everywhere in the market. This is not a strategy but a demonstration of distress.
Master your digital elevator pitch
Before going online make sure your elevator pitch is ready. Introducing yourself properly sets the stage for a professional conversation, especially at the beginning of an interview process. A personal elevator pitch is a quick summary of yourself. Drafting your own is not easy, that’s why we created a workshop to help you structure and bring rhythm to it. You will be asked to provide a summary of who you are, your background and what you want from your next job. Your pitch must grab the attention and make your interviewer take action.
LinkedIn is currently one of the best places to network and market yourself. Sharing and commenting articles of interest in your domain of activity with your work community is a great way to stand out. Join discussion groups with a direct link to your key competencies and become part of the virtual conversation. Take this time to reach out to professionals who currently hold jobs that might interest you. Ask them for a quick phone call or videoconference. Informal interviews and chats are a good way to break isolation, learn about someone’s career and build a network while still respecting social distance. But before you do so, make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date!
Start taking virtual face-to-face interviews
As a job seeker you should be prepared to polish your digital interview skills, as they are on the rise. Covid-19 is nudging employers to more receptive of remote work and flexible schedules. Your next interviews will most likely be virtual face-to-faces (videoconferencing, Skype, Zoom, Slack, Team). These interactions aren’t to be taken lightly as they will constitute the first impression you will make to recruiters and contacts.
Navigating Virtual face-to-face interview
The quality of your video interview depends on three things: your answers to questions, your environment background and your comfort with the technology. Do not get too comfortable during a video interview. It may seem less formal but it’s still an interview. That means you must be 100% prepared. Technical preparation is crucial as well. Test your technology before the meeting. Verify the quality of connection, sound and image. Be also, ready to share documents through screen sharing or chat. Being on camera doesn’t always come naturally to people. Analyze your posture, eye contact, tone of voice and backdrop—all essential details to get it right. Practicing video interviews is part of our coaching programs for many years. We can prep you anytime for your next interviews.
Train your voice
Traditionally virtual face-to-face interviews were used as an initial candidate screening. After this, you could still be called for a meeting and have a chance to let your competencies standout in-person. With social distancing, recruiters will be talking to more and more people virtually. How to make sure you stand out? What you have to say may be impressive, but if your tone, intonation, pitch and voice modulation is not there, your message won’t have the right impact. Same if you’re in a noisy place, scratching your head and reading your CV or your pitch. The quickest way to lose someone’s interest is with a monotone voice. Your voice and how you use it are the tools you need to master to communicate confidence, self-assurance and convince others.
LinkedIn as a learning tool
Being active every day on professional social media is more important than ever. In Jobprofile’s workshop on “Digital Job-hunt & LinkedIn”, we highlight that there is no such social medium when it comes to sharing and consuming professional focused content. Now is the best time to better understand your industry and use all the capabilities that LinkedIn is offering in terms of analytics insights. A well-prepared job seeker is a professional well informed, capable of picturing their field of activity in the next 5 to 10 years.
E-learning is the new normal
Use this period to take online skill courses to add value to your profile. When the crisis will end, we will still be in a skills-based economy. Prioritize online courses you’ve been putting off and learn new skills as much as possible. If you’re currently employed by a company that leverages a learning management system, spend some time exploring it to increase your proficiency. Under normal circumstances, daily routines and commutes often get in the way of pursuing new learning and development goals. Now is an ideal time to explore your interests, identify your skills gaps and pursue potential growth opportunities within your industry.
Working from home is a competence
Companies have encouraged or required employees to work from home. Embracing and optimizing remote work is no longer an option, it’s a necessity. Working from home is a competence in and of itself. In your future job interviews, you will likely be asked about your level of experience working remotely. If you’re able to demonstrate your effectiveness, you’ll have another valuable skill to add to your resume.
Let’s be open for whatever comes next
“Love the Process”
Once this is all over, like in most crises, companies will recover. This is only done with great and healthy employees. Focusing on what matters will lead us all to improvement and success.
Negativity and fear are everywhere in the news. Do not get overwhelmed by it. Take action and prepare yourself. Embrace a new mindset and think of all what we are going to learn out of this crisis and the future opportunities we will all be able to tackle with full consciousness.