Job Search Tips during COVID
Updated: Oct 11
Unreal how quickly reality has changed. My head is still spinning. Job hunting with today’s uncertainty is incredibly hard... No one has a clear road-map. In this article, I will share thoughts and ideas garnered from my 20 yrs of recruiting, hiring, and surviving other financial downturns. Hoping these suggestions can help you to move through these crazy times. Look Long-Term: Ask more experienced people in your life about their experiences of layoffs and recessions. Practice resilience, patience, and self-compassion. Invest in daily self-care routines. Take one day at a time and celebrate incremental progress. Be Practical: A job close to career aspirations at an OK company is better than no job at all. Act quickly on new job postings. Also, there are more temporary/contract positions. Learn how staffing agencies work and curate relationships with top recruiters. Consider freelance work. Use good project management methods to keep track of the incremental effort and results. Which Industries More Likely to Hiring? I don’t have a crystal ball, but I do think more hiring is likely with some industry sectors. My best guess is that includes Genomic Equipment Manufacturers, Large Pharma, EdTech, Digital Health, Logistics/Supply Chain, IT Connectivity/ Networks, Online Business SaaS Software, Government Agencies, and Data Analytics. I would also include start-ups with recent, substantial (>$30M) venture capital funding. Build Deeper Professional Relationships: With people working from home and more time flexibility, there are new ways to network/build relationships with adults/professionals. IMO, networking is one of the hardest skills to master and sustain. Now networking is a critical skill. Before COVID, 50-60% openings were filled through an introduction. That % has increased significantly. Pick Up the Phone: Don’t keep all your communication to email and text. A phone conversation allows more accurate emotional nuances to be shared. This will enable people to develop more trusted, deeper relationships. Also, phone calls can be more spontaneous and faster than a video call. Be Creative & Resourceful: Spending all your time searching for jobs and networking will be emotionally exhausting. Use part of your time to improve skills and to volunteer. These activities will make you a stronger candidate when companies do start to hire again. Don’t Wait for an Interview to Prepare: In my work, many clients tell me that preparing for interviews made a significant positive impact on their job search. Every interview will have behavioral interview questions that ask about your previous actions/behaviors. Companies use your past behavior as an indication of future behaviors. Many of these questions can be tricky to answer. For example, “Walk me through your work history. For each company, tell me why you chose that place to work and why did you leave.”
The interviewer wants to know a) Do you have a logical strategy for your career; b) Are you running from challenges; and c) What motivates you and what demotivates you. Use your time NOW to prepare for these tricky behavioral interview questions. Focus on Right Fit, not Rejection: A job search is never easy. You will get many “no’s” while waiting for the “yes.” One way to help with the emotional toll is to keep your search in the context of the right fit, not rejection. Recruiters always want to have 2-3 good candidates who satisfy the role at the end of their search. Then the manager will select the candidate that offers the best fit with the team, project objectives, and long-term company goals. These are all factors you cannot control and do not reflect upon your abilities or skills. Don’t take a “no” personally. All my best wishes to you and anyone you know who is looking for work. And if it helps to talk, feel free to reach out.
Tricia Dolkas, KickStart Career
Chapter 122 Los Altos
Tricia is a career coach in Palo Alto, CA. Her 20+ years of experience as a recruiter along with industry experience in various tech roles bring her mentees sound, practical wisdom, reduced job search stress and techniques to quicken a job search and maximize career progression. Tricia focuses on people starting/early in their career or in a career transition/pivot. Services include new resume, optimizing a LinkedIn profile, target company strategies, job search project management techniques, interview preparation, offer negotiation techniques and best practices in starting a new position. Learn more at the KickStart Career website.
Tricia offers a complementary 30 minutes initial consultation where you will receive actionable ideas for your career/job search and learn about her collaborative approach with clients.