How to Improve Your Job Search and Employability During and Post-Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Recession

The brutal impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic on businesses is not over yet, but likely to continue for months post-retreat, till companies get enough time to recover from the severe losses. As of now, it’s pretty clear that there will be job-cuts, layoffs, pay-cuts, and hiring-freeze. The economy has been sluggish for quite some time. Now, with this ongoing unprecedented situation due to the coronavirus pandemic, the job market will be even tougher. In this post, we will look at some useful tips on how to improve your job search and employability post-COVID-19 recession.

Job Search & Employment Tips During and Post-COVID-19  Recession

Co-authored by Parinita Gupta

Millions of people around the world have lost their jobs amid the current COVID-19 crisis. With the whole world at the brink of what could be the worst recession in ages, almost all of us are at risk of losing our jobs. Especially if you are a job-seeker, searching for a job in a recession will be a Herculean task and you need a battle plan.

So, let’s check what measures can evidently help you find the best opportunities:

Narrow Down Your Job Search

The first thing is you need to analyze what are you looking for, and where do you want to find yourself at the other end of this unexpected crisis. A recent survey claims that any working professional has on an average of four doors they can knock and find a passage through.

For example, if you profess abilities in Sales you might look for opportunities as a Sales Manager, as a Product Trainer, as a Business Analyst or otherwise possibly a Sales Trainer. So, considering the wide scope you can avail, you may preferably filter your search and gather more information about fields you are more interested in.

The logic is to direct your energies towards a few quality job applications, the ones that stand out from the multitude of mediocre job applications. Do not try to spread yourself thin by applying anywhere and everywhere in the market.

Research a Lot

The lockdown and post-COVID recession allow ample time to spare on your focused research. Research more about the market trends, the rises and falls, the startup entries and the giant exits, the stocks, your coherent skills and their latest versions and updates that may be acquired on short notice, your contenders, their products and prices, and anything and everything that may be relevant for you to talk about in a detailed interview and may virtually interest your future employer.

When jobs are scarce, target industries that are growing, hiring rapidly or are recession-proof. Further within those, look at firms that have robust financials or obvious growth plans. For instance, in startups, education technology players continue to hire and show growth currently. 

Apart from edtech & online learning, online groceries, core tech, delivery & logistics, communication technologies, fintech, healthcare, biotechnology, etc. will also need employees. Here are a few top industries to target if you are looking for a job now.

Also, read Job Market Trends for Data Science, ML/AI & Data Analytics during COVID-19 Phase.

Be Creative and Implement the “Pain-Letter” Approach

The pain letter approach is a tried-and-tested method, at least for me. It’s even more effective during the recession.

Hiring managers don’t just want people who can do the job. Ideally, they want people who will make their lives easier. People who can hit the ground running, who can go above and beyond the duties listed in the job description, and who can help the team or company hit its goals. During a recession, businesses will be even more careful and strategic with hiring.

In a pain letter, you talk about the organization’s biggest problem(s) and how you, if hired, would plan to solve it. In doing so, you highlight not only your skillset and how it applies to the new position but also your knowledge of the company and your excitement about coming in and making an instant impact on the job.

In other words, it’s kind of a sales pitch. In this case, you will be selling your skills (and expertise) to solve the pain points of the hiring manager and the organization.

In order to implement the pain letter approach, you have to invest some time and energy in researching the organization. It uses your knowledge of your function to advance a hypothesis — an educated guess about what might be vexing your hiring manager the most.

Read my case studies when I implemented the pain letter approach twice for my job and career change.

Work on Your Resume

Out of all the applicants, 70% are rejected in the initial screening, and credit goes to the mindboggling CVs that one has proudly set around. Resumes get often rejected due to lack of relevant information, unprofessional email ids, clumsy formats, and most essentially the needed ‘keywords’ not being included. So, we begin with the latest.

This is the age of the ‘search engine’. Anything and anyone, one may be looking for is just a search bar away. The same applies to your employer too. As and whenever there is a position ready for hire, the initial screening happens as searches may be happening around with specific skillsets, roles, experience, domains, etc.

So, ensure you include all the relevant expertise, experience, skills, knowledge as ‘popular keywords’, in your field that you could be easily found with. Also try to include all testimonials, certifications, short-term courses, merit records that you may otherwise find insignificant. Multi-dimensional expertise is always preferred by employers and it also portrays your energy and enthusiasm.

Last, but not the least, use an advanced format that would make your CV look organized, categorically informative, simple, and easy to read. Understand, that no employer has more than 5 minutes to go through a resume.

Create a professional email id, choose a clear font like ‘Helvetica’, create headers & sub-headers, bolden any important information you would like your employer to eye upon, shorten sentences by limiting them to relevant information only, and include sections like ‘what role I am looking at?’ or ‘why hire me?’

Related Post: Tips on Job Search, Resume Writing and Online Personal Branding by HR-Recruitment Professional

Leverage Social Networking Platforms

Employers are professionally active on various networking sites as they may be hunting for various news related to the industry, for useful resources, for increasing network or maybe trying to headhunt a good employee they might think suitable for certain significant roles. However, engaging yourself in any media platform is pretty outdated. It is time that you engage your employers rather.

So, let’s take a look at a few activities that can increasingly make you popular as everyone keeps an eye on the internet.

Create Case studies for visitors:

To be honest, everyone is looking for interesting cases from reality that can relate to or learn from. Understanding your audience, your respective domain that you may be targeting a bigger network in, you can post relative problem-solving posts or something like ‘what should I do in this case?’ sort of content to engage your surroundings on a forum. It makes it nevertheless interesting too, as anyone and everyone liked to advise, and once asked for it, there’s nothing like it.

Show your presence everywhere:

Appreciate, congratulate, or send wishes wherever you think you may. Try to comment on any content you think you can indulge in and talk about, share your perspectives, and invite further discussions to make it more engaging. The more you connect with users on a particular subject, and the better chances people remember you and want to see you again.

Share and discuss your experience and want to learn from the learned:

Post different learnings you found interesting in your field or maybe any field you find exciting and might be looking to get into. It can also be very general to invite mass audience participation. Follow the reactions, and in case you are successfully able to make some of the aces turn their face around, allow them to share more of their experiences on the same. Show your interest in their opinions, and ask for more.

Leverage your LinkedIn profile to get noticed, set up meetings with your first and second-degree connections. Invest time in cold calls and reaching out to decision-makers who are not part of your network yet.

Related Post: Zoom Interview Tips for Job Seekers

Buff Your Skills and Work on Your Weaknesses

This is also a good time to invest in your potential strengths and threatening weaknesses. Each of us is equipped with few extra-ordinary skills that make each professional individually different and exclusive.

However, expecting our employers to recognize those for us, appreciate, and value them doesn’t claim for a fair chance unless we get to recognize them ourselves.

So, think about what makes you add values to an organization and how you can evidently prove yourself to be an asset they will think twice to part with.

Also, simultaneously work on your weaknesses which might be big as taking the right decisions, carrying the right attitude towards work and customers, to trifles like punctuality, time management, and language skills.

Related Post: Just Got laid off… Now What?

Be Flexible and Get Out of Your Comfort Zone. But, be Resilient

When the job market is down, the demand for jobs exceeds the supply. So, offered salaries could be on the lower side. You need to be flexible and realistic in expectations from role and salary.

Also, don’t be rigid about job roles. It’s better to focus on the skillset rather than the major during your job search. However, don’t lose your resilience and self-belief. If the proposed salary is way too little or a job position is way below your skillset and qualifications, don’t accept it. Read Important Factors to Consider Before You Accept a Job Offer or Sign the Employment Contract.

Upskill and Reskill by Mastering the Critical Skills of the Hour

Even before the economy got hit by COVID-19, a majority of the workforce around the world needed significant reskilling and upskilling. New-age technologies such as automation, robots & AI and lack of vital soft skills are expected to disrupt the global workforce with as many as 120 million workers around the world needing to be retrained or reskilled.

For years, it’s been a candidate-driven market—but the pandemic has created unrivaled economic uncertainty. While it’s true many companies are in a hiring freeze and others are reducing staff, some industries are ramping up their recruiting efforts to fill critical positions.

As companies move to remote work to fight the coronavirus pandemic, the demand for employees who are well-versed with technology would be on a rise.

“Companies might not be hiring today, because they’re trying to figure out how to do business virtually, but they will be hiring,”

So, it’s only wise to pick up the new-age skills. There are plenty of useful online training courses.

With the coronavirus outbreak, it will be very critical to leverage the online platforms and reskill and upskill yourself. Here is a list of top online platforms that you can use to upskill yourself while sitting at home.

Invest in Higher Studies

During the Great Recession (2008 – 2010), there were many cases where an advanced degree (MS or MBA) helped candidates to get a competitive edge.

Job Search Tips for Post-Coronavirus (COVID 19) Recession
Source: BBC

This is not 2008. In fact, it could be worse – the COVID-19 recession could become a depression.

As a rule-of-thumb, when the job market is down, it could be a great time to opt for higher studies, and even in a foreign degree. By the time you finish your degree, the market will get comparatively better. Additionally, a recent MS or MBA degree will also help you to stand out in an inflated job market.

Recommended Articles:

Top Courses to Study Abroad During Recessions

Is it Wise to Study Abroad in 2021 (During COVID-19)?

Job Search Tips for International Students during COVID-19

Stay safe and good luck!

About Parinita Gupta: Parinita is a full-time banking professional. Additionally, she is also a passionate blogger and digital marketer.

She mostly writes about the Banking & Finance, Technology, and FinTech sector. But, she also enjoys writing on other topics as well.  You can follow her on Twitter.

Featured Image Source: Unsplash

References: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

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