As companies adjust to the work-from-home setup to fight the coronavirus pandemic plus an increasing number of employees are being laid-off, it’s normal to wonder if candidates should continue to send out resumes or just assume that no one is hiring. Although our economy’s situation is uncertain, experts still advise to keep networking and applying—provided that candidates change their approach to acknowledge these uncertain and unusual times.

Due to shifting business models and adjusting to the current situation, some employers have paused their hiring activities until they have leverage on the new normal. Some jobs—that were posted for a while—might be put on hold or even canceled.  On the other hand, these jobs may be re-opened in the incoming months, based on the assessment of the Hiring managers. In most cases, if consumers will still have a demand for a business’ products or services, and that they are able to make a forecast is still profitable, the chances would be higher that hiring talent will move forward.

As soon as the job market reopens, candidates who were able to upskill and continuously build and strengthen their networks will have a better chance in landing a new job, as compared to those who have stopped.

Hence, candidates are encouraged to actively work on their job searches, even though the job market may seem challenging at the moment. Here are some proven tips that will help you better navigate in the job searching process:

Consider how urgent your job search is

If you can afford to put your job search on hold, you may want to wait as it could be challenge to be scheduled for job interview right now. If currently employed, think about how to make your current job more fulfilling and exciting.  If you are not employed, don’t think of your next job to be the perfect one, instead think of it as an opportunity to learn something new while providing for yourself and your family.

While many industries will continue to be affected by the pandemic, others are still hiring. If unemployed and in need of a job, consider applying in industries that are hiring or for part-time jobs that will help you pay the rent and put food on the table.

Get comfortable networking online

Virtual Events.  On-site job fairs and events will be canceled for a while, so you need to find a different networking strategy. Seek out professionals online and ask about virtual events where you can network.

Social Media.  Look for professional groups on Facebook and LinkedIn and joinBoth platforms offer a wide range of options with groups for every profession and interest. Make yourself visible and join conversations by posting an update or comment. Keep the conversations professional by posting relevant articles and contributing to topics that can demonstrate your expertise and skills.

Stay in touch

Check-in with the Hiring Manager.  Perhaps you had a promising interview and was anticipating a job offer prior to pandemic; the company has shifted working remotely but you haven’t heard from the Hiring Manager nor the HR recruiter. What should you do? Reach out to them through email. Acknowledge and understand their though schedule, and mention that you are still interested in the job you have applied for. Let them know you are looking forward to hearing from them. This will let them know you fully understand the circumstances and it is not easy for everyone.

Be thoughtful. Show your concern by asking them if there is anything you can do to help them. The idea is to show compassion and connect with people.  Your email can say: “I wanted to reach out to see if there’s anything I can help you with.  You have been so generous with your time during the hiring process and I want to know how I can return the favor.” If you have a specific skill a Hiring Manager might be able to tap into, mention it. You might say: “Given that I’ve led virtual teams, I might have some ideas to share on how to keep your employees feeling connected when they’re not in the office.”

Professional networking should be driven by what the company needs, and how those needs match with your skills.  It’s also an opportunity for you to show what type of employee you are if you joined their organization.

Gather Intel

Learn about the leadership.  The COVID-19 crisis can provide a unique preview of a company’s culture. Follow the company on social media and take note of how the leadership team deals with the situation and how they treat employees. Are they providing flexible work arrangements? How they are supporting their employees? Be attentive and watch out for news on the company’s financial situation.

Google Alerts.  Setup Google Alerts for companies you want to work for and listen to investor calls.  If you get the chance to be interviewed, you’ll be able to demonstrate that you understand the leadership’s concerns and also the threats in which the company is facing.

Use the time to reflect

Consider what you want to do next. Get clarity on where you want to work and the type of role you are seeking.

Be prepared to think about the role more broadly, and possibly adjust to a position that would also make use of your experience and skills. For instance, you might have been targeting a marketing role but with fewer people spending money, the company might be more inclined to hire someone for an internal communications role during this crisis.

Boost your skills

Now is the perfect time to work on strengthening your qualifications.  Analyze job descriptions by listing each required skill and experience. Check whether you have the exact skill set they need, or you have the skillset but haven’t used it for years, or if you are lacking their required skill set. Use this information to determine what you need to brush-up to make yourself a better candidate.  For instance, if you are applying for social media or marketing specialist positions, the Hiring Manager will likely require experience with Google Analytics. Get certified so that your profile stands out.

Article by Marge Casio/Associate Director of Asia Select

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