Job searching under normal circumstances can be stressful enough. Add in a global pandemic, and it can seem impossible. It’s true that many companies are cancelling or delaying vacant positions and reducing staff, but there are some industries who are increasing their recruiting efforts in order to fill critical positions.
Now is a good time to make most of a slow job market by thinking about what you are passionate about, what industries to consider and what kind of work would truly satisfy you. These tips will help you navigate the process during the pandemic and the associated economic slowdown.
Be prepared for organizations to suddenly put a hold on job openings or cancel them altogether. Not to worry. Many will open back up in the weeks or months to come, but some departments are probably trying to get things in order first. With all that is going on, supervisors may be trying to sort out details regarding the position, such as the way in which training will be completed, what onboarding will look like, or if the position can even be done remotely.
This doesn’t mean you should stop applying or following up. You still want to put your name in the hat because once an employer is ready to continue the job search, you want to be ready. This is a very difficult time for both applicants and employers. Consider the situation and remember to go easy and not get too frustrated if you do not hear a response as soon as you would like.
This global pandemic will impact all of us moving forward. Businesses may consider reducing commercial office space and employing more remote work positions than ever before. As you continue your job search, consider drafting a list of companies, industries and positions you are targeting. Take into consideration which industries will take time to recover and which ones will be on the rise.
Events and gatherings will likely be canceled or postponed for some time, so we should all get comfortable with virtual networking. Putting yourself in networking situations will give you the opportunity to speak to people in the industry about trends, companies hiring and current openings.
Look into professional organizations in your industry of choice. Make yourself visible and join LinkedIn, forums or other social media platforms and ask about joining virtual events. Tell the LinkedIn community what you need help with. Are you interested in a job or volunteer opportunity? Do you own a business and want to promote your services?
Staying connected with your friends and current and past colleagues will be beneficial in the long run. You never know how you can help each other in the future.
In this time of uncertainty, control the controllables, such as improving what you can offer employers. As the job market slows down, now is the perfect opportunity to gain new skills and qualifications. You can do this by analyzing job descriptions that you’re interested in and listing the required skills and experience needed for that role or industry.
If you already have the required skills and experience, be sure to include that on your resume. If not, online-learning is becoming widely available where you can learn free or discounted informational content on just about any subject. UCF Continuing Education offers a variety of training programs in a cost-effective and flexible format, such as distance learning. You can receive trainings and certifications in human resources, project management, website design and coding.
Another platform to look into is Skillshare. Skillshare is an online learning community with thousands of classes on topics including illustration, design, business, photography, video, freelancing and more.
It may also be a good idea to familiarize yourself with video communication platforms, such as Zoom. Many employers will be utilizing this feature now and in months to come.
Now is a good time to reflect on your career and professional development, explore your interests, identify your skills gaps, and pursue potential growth opportunities. Instead of being anxious about finding the next job opportunity, think about what kind of role you really want to see yourself doing that will make better use of your skills and experience.
For more useful tips, visit the How to Job Search During the COVID-19 Pandemic Guide on the UCF Alumni website.
Ashley Colquhoun ’12 ’15 is a human resources management and event services professional with a background in HR generalist affairs, including employee recruitment and retention, staff development and employee relations. She earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing in 2012 and a second bachelor’s in management in 2015. She earned her MBA from Nova Southeastern.