Tips for job seekers during COVID 19 pandemic and apparent economic slowdown

In addition to claiming a huge number of lives, the Covid-19 pandemic has made a massive dent in the economy and brought despair to a lot of businesses and organizations. As an impact of the lockdown, large numbers of people are going through financial turbulence irrespective of their socio-economic stature. Job seekers all over the world are now getting the deepest of blues and are left feeling scared, unsure, and even hopeless. However, this article we have tried to come up with some good suggestions and tips for job seekers.

While, on one hand, it is easy to turn unenthusiastic in the midst of a flurry of bad news on the career front, many industry experts advocate that this is the time to plan on how best to sell yourself going forward.

Here are some tips for job seekers –

  • Be digitally engaged, particularly on social media and networking platforms. You may chance upon unexpected job listings.
  • Modify the cover letter for each job application; this will boost your chances of landing with an interview.
  • For the career gaps in the resume, mention a precise reason; avoid indistinct statements.
  • Make your resume elaborate by detailing relevant work experiences and skills in order to stand out.
  • Make your resume highlight five most wanted soft skills including – creativity, emotional intelligence, collaboration, adaptability, and persuasion.
  • Take professional help from a career adviser – a) A recruitment agency that specializes in your field will be of great help. b) Also, keeping in touch with consultants will help in keeping your name in their minds. c) Recruitment consultants maintain strong connections with industrial sectors and have the potential to help in these times. d) They might also be very helpful in targeting your CV, in preparing you for interviews, and share tips on negotiating salaries.
  • Get outside of your “comfort” zone and try to understand the sectors that are currently hiring. E.g. Tech Support, Social Media, Telecommunications, Online retail/delivery, Online entertainment, Medical, Pharmaceutical, Marketing, Public Sector et al.
  • Include the words virtual, online, remote, interim to your job search keywords.

While these are the general suggestions from us, we have also tried to collate some specialist opinion on the topic and in doing so have talked to a couple of industry experts.

According to Abhijit Giri, Director – Career Development Cell & Group Outreach, ADAMAS University,While the Covid-19 pandemic is the most discussed topic in every corner of the globe,the next challenge is its massive impact on economy slow down and disruption in business and as a result the overall hiring sentiment in the country is likely to witness an adverse impact with 60-65 per cent interviews getting delayed across industry, especially in the services, retail, manufacturing, infrastructure sector.

On the other hand organizations would be much careful on cost control on human resource and the expectation would be mostly 3 fold higher on multitasking and highly skillful human resource and for obvious reason the other challenge would be competition. Therefore finding a new job in the economic slowdown time will be a massive challenge and hence should have very careful focus on readiness and proactive battle plan.”

He shared some interesting and effective tips for job seekers –

1. Create your mind and take a closer look at the short term:

This is the time it’s very important to find out strength in your skill and map industries and job accordingly. This may help you get an opportunity but it may not be the perfect job. Consider it as a short term move, so that the mind would be ready and relaxed to accept.

2. Time to work on 3 skills:

Utilize this time to work on and improve the following 3 skill sets which are going to be decisive in future job search.

Sociability skill: Focus on effective communication, team work, ego & expectation management, presentation skill etc.

Analytic Skill: It’s not only data analysis and data representation, but also situation analysis. You learn this skill by following several case studies from several organization available in internet.

Functional Skill: Should have very honest and careful focus on functional skill and its strong foundation.

3. Digital Networking:

Look for joining professional groups like LinkedIn or Facebook etc. Join in the conversation, post and comment, chat, and make yourself visible. Get ready to ace a virtual informational interview or networking chat by practicing with a friend

4. Stay Connected:

The situation may be that in recent times you had a promising interaction with a hiring manager, but due to this situational reason the same is taking time to mature, so it’s recommended to stay connected with the hiring manager through different means. For instance, connect with the hiring manager on LinkedIn and, if they post a status, comment on it. But be very careful that the comment should be honest and that illustrates you read it and have valuable insight to contribute. Pretend you’re giving them a preview of what you’d add to the team if you worked there.

5. Boost skill:

Nothing better than this time to work on and boost your skill and improve qualification. There are plenty of free online programs like MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course), Microsoft Training, EdX Classes (featuring free courses from MIT and Harvard), Coursera, NASSCOM FutureSkill etc. This kind of program would add lot of value and make your resume stand out.

6. Learn to face interview digitally:

At this moment there is no proven treatment and vaccine of COVID-19, hence organizations would prefer to go for the digital interview process until it’s extremely essential to have F2F discussion. Therefore first few rounds of interaction on the digital platforms would decide a lot and this required lot of practice to comfortable with. Like its required to know technology know-how of the platforms like Zoom, GoToMeeting, Skype, WhatsApp video call, etc and on the other side important to know the etiquette, representation, Q & A, etc.

The best way to learn this is to start such sessions with friends or known peoples of the same pitch whom you know. The other way is to go for online classes for re-skilling and up-skilling yourself.

7. Mental & Physical Fitness:

This is last but not the least that ensures honest effort to make yourself mentally and physically fit, happy. I strongly recommend making a practice of doing min. 30 min. physical exercise (freehand) and min 30 min Yoga that would boost your physical and mental fitness, improve concentration, make you stress-free.

During an economic slowdown due to pandemic, it’s important to focus on what you can control—improving your skills and reaching out to your network. You should be realistic while optimistic by doing homework now so that when the situation improves then you can actually open the door and see the light of a brighter future ahead.

Margaret D’Souza, Head HR- Zeta, is of the opinion that COVID19 has already impacted the whole world more than any one of us was prepared for. “The collateral damage that has happened to the world economy has been unprecedented. The fact that COVID 19 will have a significant impact on the global economy including a slowdown in various sectors cannot be ignored. Companies across the world have been trying to keep continuity in business and cash flow possible.  The massive outburst of coronavirus has made more and more businesses to mandate that their employees work from home (WFH) to minimize the effects of the Coronavirus outbreak. With the outbreak of COVID-19, organisations will implement cost-control measures which will include a freeze on hiring. This will impact those seeking new job opportunities,” she said.

D’Souza also shared some valuable tips for job seekers –

1. Stay Connected and Updated:

Many companies have frozen their hiring process, but at the same time, there are companies that are still hiring. Look out for those companies, and do not miss the news and updates which will be able to help you with better information during this hard time. Be patient if you were in the middle of a hiring exercise that is currently on hold, stay in touch with the recruiter.

2. Be prepared: 

With the current situation, it is uncertain how soon companies will start fully functioning from the workplace which also means scheduling candidates at work. Companies will leverage technology to further their recruitment process. For e.g. replacing in-person interview rounds and presentations over video interviews. Need to be prepared for this change.

3. Be creative:

Get creative in your choice of words used as the subject line and body of the message/email that you send to recruiters. You need to be extremely creative with your resume and ensure it has all the relevant information and important ‘keywords’ to be able to catch the hiring manger’s attention.

4. Upskill your hidden talents:

Use this time to upskill yourself. Identify areas that need improvement or focus on newer skills that will add weight to your overall candidature.

5. Take care of your mental health:

This is an unprecedented situation, where everyone is doing the best they can. Things for job seekers are not easy like the salaried people, but the uncertainty among the job keepers can lead to major mental disease. The time definitely is bad, but time doesn’t stay the same always, things will change and people will start working on their new venture. Yoga or exercise can keep your stress and panic free and help you in making your decision in a much clear light.

Times are now very unusual and situations are difficult, but businesses and organizations cannot sustain without adding skills and talents.  What you might need to do is change your approach, but do not ever give up!

Remember! All clouds have a silver lining! 

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