Job Search During a Crisis

If you are one of the many people engaged in a job search right now, you are likely feeling stressed about the impact of COVID-19 on your search process. First, take a deep breath.  Yes, the pandemic is creating a unique environment for job seekers, however, companies are still hiring and people are still landing jobs every day.

What to expect

Many companies have key performance metrics around how quickly they are able to fill vacant positions.  Most likely, they will be less concerned about that measure during the pandemic.  Simply, companies may take longer to make an offer and this will become even more exaggerated for senior-level positions.  The main reason for this is because it will become more difficult to get all the key decision-makers and stakeholders to weigh in on job candidates to make hiring decisions. As everyone is transitioning to working from home, they are adjusting to their new working environments and processes and there may be a slowdown in communication.

Of course, no one wants to take part in prolonged hiring processes, however, it is important to remember that these are unprecedented circumstances. To land your next job, it will be important to remain patient and continue to engage with the process- even when it is taking a long time.

Make Networking Adjustments

We often think of networking as a face to face endeavor involving conferences and events with large numbers of people such as career fairs. Since these are not an option right now, It is important to get a little creative with networking.  If an event is canceled due to the social distancing and shelter in place requirements, reach out to the event organizers and ask about virtual options for similar or smaller-scale events. Have “coffee chats” via video or consider starting a virtual mastermind group with other job seekers to encourage each other and share your successes.

Complete Your Social Media Profiles

Everything is moving online! Make sure that your online footprint is complete and consistent. Are all of your social media profiles (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn) complete and consistent? Do they inspire a favorable first impression?

For example, here are a few tips to optimize your LinkedIn profile to attract recruiters:

  • Complete all fields, including samples of your work
  • Use a professional headshot/photo
  • Optimize your headline with keywords that are relevant to your desired job function or industry
  • Select a vanity URL that is simple (and doesn’t include a string of numbers)
  • Craft a thoughtful, comprehensive, and action-oriented summary

Expect the Unexpected

Additionally, it is important to expect the unexpected during these next few weeks while people are acclimating to the new normal of working from home. While everyone will want to continue on with their professional tasks, life can sometimes get in the way when children, pets or even the doorbell become distractions that we are not used to.  It is important to be patient and try to have a sense of humor as we face new challenges.  It is ok to smile if you see a cute, rogue toddler in the background of your next video meeting.

About Dr. Sheila Boysen

Sheila M. Boysen, Ph.D., PHR, BCC, MCC is Master of Organizational Leadership Program Director and ICF ACTP Director at Lewis University

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