The new rules for landing a job in the COVID Era

The new rules for landing a job in the COVID Era  (or Building a Resilient Approach to Your Job Search during COVID-19)

The economic slowdown resulting from the pandemic has catalysed changes in the job seeking landscape.  And with unemployment at a record high in South Africa, job searching requires new strategies in order to successfully navigate this changed environment.

“Whether you are a graduate or someone wanting to make a career change, understanding how COVID has altered the job search market can help accelerate the achievement of finding employment,” says Natalie Rabson, Wellness and Career Guidance Counsellor at Boston City Campus.

Natalie recommends the following strategies for successfully landing a job in the COVID era.

What is the most effective way to job hunt now?

It is ironic that in a time of social distancing, connecting and connection have become more important than ever.

This is the time to reinvent your networking strategy.  Whether it’s joining a group online or starting a conversation over a social media post: it’s time to make yourself visible.  Post articles.  Engage in comments and conversations to show your knowledge on a topic.  Catch up with former colleagues.

How has CV writing changed?

Overcoming the first hurdle of getting the job is to get your CV through the applicant tracking system known as ATS.  This means including keywords such as the skills and experience mentioned in the job spec, relating these requirements to previous work experience.

Further illustrate your competency with links to published work and include relevant work samples.

“Flexibility is a key quality, especially during this time of unprecedented changes brought on by Covid-19.  Share examples of how you adapted or pivoted during this time, showing your ability to apply your skills to support changing business needs.

Do my skills need enhancing or refreshing?

Improving your existing skills or acquiring new skills can boost your employability.  Use job posts as a guide to see which skills are in demand.

“Learning a new skill can enhance your current offering or even change your career trajectory if you are wanting a new direction,” says Natalie.   “This could be through avenues such as online courses, a personal project or job shadowing.”

Where to look

Check out LinkedIn and other job sites such as careers24.com or careerjunction.co.za for employment opportunities.  Look on LinkedIn to see if you have a contact who can introduce you to a company where you would like to work.  Boston Graduates have the advantage of taking part in the Graduate+ programme which assist both with recruitment tactics and CV building through online modules, cv assessment, interview coaching and more.

Recruitment updates can also be found on Twitter and LinkedIn by following people or companies in fields you want to pursue.

Has job interviewing changed?

Most interviews are still being conducted online.  And in this scenario, first impressions count. Unlike a face-to-face meeting where you can enter a room, shake hands, make eye contact etc, your visual presence makes the greatest impact in the online environment.

It is important to be as comfortable as possible in the virtual environment. This means rehearsing in a mock interview situation to prepare yourself by roleplaying with a colleague or friend.  Extend this to knowing your way around the video communications app.  This creates an overall good impression while increasing your confidence levels.

“Support yourself further by writing out key points about your skills in advance in relation to the job requirements.  Post the list near the camera to avoid looking down,” says Natalie.

What are the basic Do’s and Don’ts for a positive virtual communication style?

  • Do look at the camera.  That is the equivalent of making eye contact.
  • Avoid looking at your own image as this makes you seem distracted.
  • Rest your hands on your lap or your desk rather than folding your arms across your chest.
  • Avoid side and back lighting as this will cause a shadow on your face or create a silhouette image of you. Face your largest light source (usually a window) directly in front of you.
  • Make sure your camera is at the same level as your eyes so that people are not looking up at or down on you.
  • Make sure your surroundings are tidy and appropriate.
  • Lastly smile.  It’ll put both you and your interviewer more at ease.

How to stay upbeat and Overcome self-doubt  

Job hunting requires perseverance.   The trick is to keep at it, despite any disappointments along the way, to ensure success at the end.

Focus on what you can control such as enhancing your CV, strengthening your online connections and presence and learning new skills – all of which can boost your confidence.

“Keep in mind that despite the fact that it may take time, it is a temporary situation. And while it’s important to prioritize your job search, focus on other areas too.  Spending time with friends, reading an uplifting book or other nurturing activities will help support you through this time while giving you  a positive outlook, enabling you to build a resilient approach to the post-Covid-19 job market,” concludes Natalie.