Many have been forced into a job search in the recent months as companies pare back operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is estimated that 26 million U.S. workers have been affected by job loss in the past five weeks. It is an unprecedented situation with nothing but uncertainty in the near term.
The dire outlook does come with a silver lining for job seekers. For many companies, budgets are decided at the beginning of the year. That gives hope that any planned hiring for 2020 may still happen.
Also, as any corporate copywriter will tell you, we’re in this together. Those looking for employment are not alone in their search. It makes perfect sense to be looking for a job right now, and everyone in recruitment and human resources understands that.
What exactly constitutes the most effective job searching strategy during a pandemic? For the most part, the core principles of job searching remain in place with only a few exceptions that we’ll dive into below.
Put yourself in the right headspace before anything else. Do not take the layoff personally. You were at the wrong company at the wrong time and the layoff has nothing to do with your aptitude or performance. The good news is you can act immediately to address the financial stressors you are experiencing.
Apply for unemployment benefits; they are designed to help you in this specific time of need. Contact your creditors to take advantage of the policies they have put in place to help you weather this crisis. Many have implemented forbearance and other hardship programs due to the millions affected by pandemic-related loss of work.
Reach out to your former employer about whether they would be looking to rehire you after the market picks up. Many have an incentive to do so under federal relief programs.
Your due diligence for securing financial assistance will afford yourself time and bandwidth to analyze and evaluate the right moves for finding your next job, as well as time to position yourself for successfully obtaining it.
Professional networking had been trending towards digital before the pandemic. Expect it to be fully digital for at least the next few months. Companies are hiring during shelter in place orders, and if they’re not hiring, they are online networking.
Love it or hate it, you have no real choice other than LinkedIn as your social platform for professional networking. Now is the time to update your LinkedIn profile and start walking the walk. If you are unfamiliar how LinkedIn etiquette works, it’s not unlike other platforms. Build your contacts list from your work history, follow thought leaders and find groups in your field, engage meaningfully, and avoid toxic LinkedIn behaviors that make you look unprofessional.
Now is a perfect opportunity to update your portfolio site or build one if you have not already. Self-publishing content on a regular basis gives technical professionals a chance to build authority and showcase problem-solving skills. Here are some pointers about what a good programmer blog might look like.
The COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the certain industries like travel and hospitality, oil and gas, aviation, and parts of brick-and-mortar retail. Should we expect to see growth in sectors that are responding the crisis—government, nonprofit, healthcare, communications? The signals are mixed.
The overarching narrative is we should expect the slowdown to reach across the breadth of economy. Industries that can withstand not having person to person contact will fare better. The good news is that most knowledge work can be done remotely, and the crisis has created a lot of demand because companies are looking to adapt to new paradigms, namely supporting a remote workforce that teleconferences with clients and customers.
As finance, insurance, and professional services companies are suddenly needing to accommodate a remote workforce, and their tech stacks have evolved in a short period of time. This drives demand for systems administrators who prepare workforces for remote work. Meanwhile, systems engineers and business analysts might be looking to re-architect internal systems to accommodate new and different needs of end users.
The InfoSec industry needed talent before the crisis hit, and cybersecurity skills will remain in high demand in the short and long term. Retailers responding to the shelter in place orders are refining their e-commerce portals and need web developers and skilled SQL and database technicians.
Earlier this year we discussed writing an ATS-friendly resume so that it is read by a sentient human being instead of getting caught up in a software filter. This is more important now than ever with upwards of 20 million people looking for a new job.
When updating your resume, make sure to include any experience and aptitude for using Zoom, Slack, and other tools used in a remote workforce. Chances are those will be sought after skills for your next job.
Highlighting relevant soft skills is important as well. Job descriptions have a handful of words that mean you can be trusted with self-guided productivity: Time management, ability to work independently, strong written communication skills, and coming soon to a JD near you, reliable and secure office equipment.
Remember it pays to tweak and tune your resume for each job application. For the best results, pick your words carefully—directly from right from the job description.
Ready to find an amazing opportunity? Apply to our open positions at CyberCoders.com.