Preparing for the Job Search Post Covid-19

negotiating  a flexible work schedule

While many companies have managed to shift to remote operations, the COVID-19 shutdowns have led to millions of Americans simply without work. Some have been furloughed while others have been laid off. Either way, with many companies looking to trim staff or even unlikely to survive the pandemic at all, there will likely be countless workers starting a job search in the coming months.

If you’re amongst the ranks of those unemployed by the coronavirus and unlikely to get your job back, here are some job search tips to help you stand out against the competition once you get back into the action.

Stop and Think

The first thing you should do when preparing to re-enter the workforce is to stop and think. What are your goals moving forward? What are your skills, interests, education, and experiences? Ask yourself a few more important questions:

  • Do I want to stay in my line of work?
  • Or do I want to shift to a new position?
  • Do I want to pivot into a new career entirely?

Your primary goal may be to pick up your career where you left off, but this may be an opportunity for you to shift your career in order to focus on a new area.

Take some time initially to reorient yourself and make sure that you have a clear, desirable objective in place before you begin working on the job hunting logistics.

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Sharpen Your Skills

Once you know what you’re aiming for, it’s time to consider your skills. Where are your skills on point? What areas can use some work? It’s important to remember that you need both soft and hard skills to survive and thrive in a position.

For instance, tech professionals may feel the need to highlight hard skills like cloud computing and analytical reasoning on their resumes. However, it’s equally important that they consider soft skills that employers will be on the lookout for, such as creativity, collaboration, and time management.

Consider what skills, hard or soft, are required for your field, and then look for ways to refine them in yourself. You can do this by:

  • Conducting independent research.
  • Earning an online certification or taking a class.
  • Working on social skills by interacting with others.

Whatever you choose to focus on, it’s worth taking some time to sharpen and expand on your skillset before the job search.

Tailor Your Tools

Take the time to assess what kind of work you’re going to pursue and then make sure you have the right tools for the job.

If you’re going to work a job where you commute regularly, make sure your car is in good working order. If you’re likely to work remotely, make sure you have a good computer and an adequate internet connection for the particular work you’ll be doing.

Ready Your Resume

Having an updated resume or CV is an essential step in getting ready to apply for jobs. You can prepare a generic resume, but you’ll be better off if you actually look up samples and resume templates for your particular field.

A nurse’s resume, for example, will likely highlight education and certifications more prominently than a graphic artist’s resume, where experience and a portfolio will be front and center. In addition, make sure to always be ready to tailor your resume depending on the job you’re applying to. Look for keywords in the job description and then work them into your resume wherever possible to help you get past any applicant tracking systems.

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Prepare a Proposition

Along with your resume, take some time to brush up on writing cover letters and personal value propositions. The former can be the key to getting a hiring manager’s attention, while the latter can be a great way to help you stand out in a sea of candidates.

Practice for Interviews

Finally, prepare for the interviews themselves. What will you wear for an in-person interview? Do you have a space set up to conduct remote interviews as well?

Also, try to take steps to build your confidence and boost your self-esteem, as both can be crucial in helping you stand out in the interview process. This inner preparation can include:

  • Quieting those negative thoughts.
  • Determining your values.
  • Practicing self-care.
  • Learning to say no.
  • Visualizing what you want.
  • Getting out of your comfort zone.

As you practice and prepare, you’ll feel your confidence rise and you’ll be better prepared to answer interview questions confidently.

Preparing for a Post-Pandemic Job Search

There are plenty of ways that you can give yourself an edge during the job search. The important thing is that you look over the list above, identify where you’re the weakest, and then work on improving things now, while you still have time.

Eventually, the economy will open back up and everyone will flood back into the job market looking for work. When that happens, you’ll be uniquely prepared to go after whatever position at whatever company you want.

This guest post was authored by Magnolia Potter

Magnolia Potter is a blogger from the Pacific Northwest. She loves writing on a variety of topics from technology to lifestyle. When she isn’t writing you can find her traveling far and wide or reading a good book.

Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.