By Susan Hoffman
Contributor, Online Career Tips
At any time, job hunting can be time-consuming and challenging. There’s the filling out of online applications, tweaking your resume to be accepted by applicant tracking software and going to networking events to make contacts. Then there are the phone or in-person interviews, the anxious waiting for news, and the elation when you hear the company has given you the job.
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The current coronavirus pandemic, however, has caused changes to how U.S. businesses operate. Some organizations have put a hiring freeze in place, while others have asked employees to work split shifts or work remotely. For companies that are actively hiring, interviews conducted with software such as Skype or Zoom have risen in popularity.
But even though it’s become more challenging to job hunt during this time of at-home quarantine, there are still helpful tasks that you can do from home to aid your job search.
#1: Research the Company before Phone or Video Interviews
Before any interview, read the company’s website, check out its social media posts and look at its employees on LinkedIn. Take copious notes and use that information to form thoughtful questions for your interviewer.
#2: Practice Your Video Interviewing
Before a video interview, make sure that you prepare for it properly. Check that your Skype or Zoom software works correctly, choose a well-lit location to use during the interview and remove any background items that could distract your interviewer. Also, consider doing a mock interview with an APUS Career Coach to get valuable feedback on your phone or video interviewing skills.
#3: Polish Up Your Marketable Skills
Staying busy during this time is useful for your mental health. There are plenty of e-books and online video tutorials to help you learn new computer software or polish up existing skills. For instance, if you don’t know how to create a macro in Excel or your PowerPoint skills aren’t strong, now is the time to improve yourself to maximize your value to a new employer.
#4: Improve Your Industry Knowledge
Consider taking at least one hour every day to improve your knowledge of the industry you’re in. Read online articles, participate in LinkedIn discussion groups, and use the ebooks available through the APUS Library or your local library.
Also, think about attending an online webinar or conference as another way to increase your industry knowledge. ZDNet, for example, has a list of conferences that are going virtual.
#5: Fix Up Your Resume Before You Start Your Job Hunt
Now is also a good time to fix up an outdated resume; resumes should always be tailored to each job ad. Also, email your resume to a friend or family member who can check it for any errors or use the free Chrome plugin Grammarly. Another option is to send your resume to one of the APUS Career Coaches, who offer free resume reviews to APU/AMU students and alumni.
#6: Build Your Professional Networks Electronically
It’s no secret that networking and making new contacts are helpful during the job hunt. Although attending large networking events and meeting people over a cup of coffee aren’t possible right now, consider asking your first-level LinkedIn connections for email introductions to local industry leaders you’d like to meet. Those leaders may be willing to chat with you on the phone or to offer advice via email on how you can improve your industry knowledge and skills.
#7: Make Your LinkedIn Profile Search-Engine Friendly
Do you have a LinkedIn profile that hasn’t been updated in a long time? Now is the time to fix it up to make it more attractive to search engines and human searchers.
Keep Yourself Prepared for the Job Hunt
While the job hunt just now is more challenging than ever before, spending time on your professional development can help to reduce any stress you’re feeling. Although it remains to be seen how profoundly American business – or global business – will be affected by the coronavirus pandemic, it is wise to be as prepared as possible for the future challenges of working for a new company.
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