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Finding a job in COVID Times

by Yvonne Quahe

What makes a job search in COVID times different?  The key difference is that companies are going through a period of uncertainty about their own future and the changes they must make to thrive, or even just survive in these COVID times. Consequently, many have slowed down in their hiring or are hiring on a temporary basis only to give themselves more flexibility in the ever-changing business landscape. In as much as some sectors like hospitality, travel and tourism have been badly affected by COVID. Other industries like healthcare, technology, logistics and transportation, construction and real estate have seen exponential growth and opportunities for innovation.

With the shift to remote work for most organizations and the likely return to a hybrid model post pandemic, leading and managing virtual teams is a skill that is in-demand.  

It is not all bad news. The initial uncertainty that companies had at the beginning of lockdown is wearing off and they are starting to hire again.

What is the impact for you, the job seeker?

Currently, the response rate to applications is about 20%. Don’t take this personally, it is not a reflection of your worth or employability.

Companies are also more cautious about hiring. Hence, as already mentioned, an increasing number of companies are offering new employees temporary positions. Also, companies are creating more remote roles (so use ‘remote roles’ as a search filter).

Given the likelihood of a huge number of applicants for any advertised position and the resulting workload and difficulty in selecting the best candidate, companies are placing greater reliance on professional networks for identifying potential candidates. You should, therefore, show the added value that you will bring to the position and that you are a safe bet in times of uncertainty. This is where a referral from a trusted source will be of help.

One of the Career Lab Alumni is a recruiter and here are some of the tips she shared during the PDP session on Finding a job in COVID times.

  1. Keep up your self-confidence.
  2. LinkedIn is one of the main sourcing platforms used by recruiters. Ensure that your LinkedIn profile stands out, curate your content and build your social media presence so you will be noticed.
  3. Network! Network! Network! Find ways to network virtually. There are many virtual online networking events you can attend. Use the New Year as a time to reconnect with old colleagues and friends.
  4. Most of us are not used to relying on virtual networking and interviewing. There is no substitute for practice. Make sure that you are comfortable in front of the camera. Practice interviewing virtually. 
  5. Work with staffing agencies/recruiters to find a job.

Boost your skills and extend your network

Here is another piece of good advice from a Career Lab Alumni who has just got a job.  She said “use the time to boost your skills. I took an online course in data analytics to boost my quantitative research skills. I also used the online course to meet like-minded professionals and network, along with virtual conferences (which are a dime a dozen now!).” As the popular adage goes, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. She did all the essentials (enhancing her skill set and networking) and landed a job in December 2020. 


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