The job search and hiring process have changed dramatically due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Not only are more Americans out of work and looking for jobs, but companies are changing their hiring process to account for health and safety measures. The good news is, the basic principles of a successful job search are the same. You still need a solid resume and interview skills — they are just applied in a new virtual landscape. If you find yourself overwhelmed by the new virtual job application process, or just want to make sure you are putting your best virtual foot forward, here are our tips for success:
1. Review Your Resume. This should be your first step in any job search. Make sure your resume includes all relevant experience and jobs that may be missing since the last time you updated your resume. Have a friend or family member look over the resume for typos or formatting issues. For small fees, you can even find companies or freelance professionals that can give you resume tips to make yours stand out from the rest. Make sure your resume can be sent in multiple formats (word doc, pdf, etc.,), depending on requirements.
2. Don’t Forget A Cover Letter. Having a concise and relevant cover letter can be the key to grabbing an interview or going unnoticed. Not many companies have the time to carefully analyze each resume as they are submitted. Instead, the first hurdle you have as a job hunter is to catch their attention with a cover letter that quickly highlights your experience and why you are a good match for the company. As with the resume, it is important to make sure your cover letter is free from typos and reads professionally, so don’t be afraid to have another set of eyes look it over. Also, while you can save time with a “template” cover letter, make sure that for each application, you include specific details about the job you are applying for to show the company that you know what the job is and why you can do it.
3. Build An Online Professional Presence. Even before the pandemic, more and more companies have turned to looking up applicants online before even offering an interview. This means that you need to know what potential employers may be seeing and control it to make you look like the ideal candidate. First, Google your name and see what comes up. You may need to temporarily take social media sites down or update the privacy measures to make sure information employers may see doesn’t hurt your chances. You should also put professional information about yourself out. This can be in the form of creating a LinkedIn or other professional listing for yourself, building your own simple website, or adding profiles to job search sites. Just make sure that the professional information on those profiles matches your resume.
4. Practice Virtual Interviews. Interviews can be intimidating enough without the added stress of it being conducted online. Ask a friend or family member to practice an online interview to help you identify potential pitfalls and also build your confidence for the real thing. Aside from the stand interview role-playing, ask your friend or family member for feedback on the background or location you interview from, appearance, volume, and demeanor. This is also the ideal time to make sure your phone, laptop, or computer has all the necessary video and audio equipment and that they are working properly.
5. Keep Improving. The more virtual interviews you do, the more comfortable you will become. After each interview, take notes on what went well or what you need to change for the next one. This may be practicing different questions or coming up with a better virtual set up. The important thing is to learn from each interview, and you will land a job in no time.
As a final thought, if the technology is causing you more stress than the actual application and interview process, step out of your comfort zone by teaching yourself or taking training courses online. You can easily find webinars or explanation videos about anything that you feel uncertain about, from how to troubleshoot software and hardware, to teaching you new functions on programs you already use. Don’t let your insecurities about this new landscape keep you from otherwise landing your perfect job!