We are in unprecedented times with the coronavirus quarantine happening in most areas of the world. How does this affect your job search? Below are some tips to help in this unchartered time.
Don’t panic– First and foremost, don’t panic. Even though there is a lot of suffering right now, we will get through this. The Spanish flu pandemic in 1918 infected 500 million people, roughly 25% of the world’s population at the time. We all are living proof that the world didn’t end with that crisis, and it won’t end with the current one. I am not downplaying the seriousness of the current state, but just know that this health crisis won’t last forever. Continue in your job search efforts by online networking, and applying for jobs.
Be Flexible- Employers are still hiring but it is taking more time to get through the process. Interviews are being delayed, rescheduled, and even postponed. You just need to be patient with the process, and at the same time diligent in your efforts to continue to follow up after every conversation that you have. Employers need to know that you are still interested in continuing the process even though it is likely to take much more time than usual.
Familiarize yourself with video interviewing- The use of video for interviewing is sky-rocketing now. Take time now to familiarize yourself with how to conduct a video interview if you haven’t already completed one. (see https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/interviewing/video-interview-guide) If you haven’t yet, you are likely to do a video interview in the future. This will be our new normal.
Add to your skills- Take advantage of the extra time that you have now by learning new skills. Ever hear of MOOC? It stands for Massive Open Online Course. According to Wikipedia, a MOOCis an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web. In addition to traditional course materials such as filmed lectures, readings, and problem sets, many MOOCs provide interactive user forums to support community interactions among students, professors, and teaching assistants. Most MOOC classes have specific start and end dates, but there are a few which are self-paced. The courses run anywhere from 4-12 weeks in length. Some courses are completely free while others charge a fairly low fee. Although some offer college credit, most courses offer certificates of completion only. Some popular MOOCs are Coursera (coursera.org) EdX (edx.org) Udacity (udacity.com)
Volunteer- During a crisis, help is always needed, even if it is getting groceries for an elderly neighbor. Volunteering changes your focus from yourself to helping others. Instead of worrying about your situation, your mind is actively engaged in benefiting a cause. Volunteering may also put you in contact with people that you might never have the opportunity to interact with normally, another opportunity for networking. In addition, volunteering, while not paid, is still experience and may be listed as such on your resume.
As this time presents a lot of challenges, I like to remember a quote by Christine Mason Miller: “At any given moment you have the power to say: This is not how the story is going to end.” We may not have the power to change the effects of the coronavirus, but we can be brave and take positive action now.