Launching a Career in the Age of COVID: Adapting Your Approach to Job Hunting

Woman on a video conference call, with a notepad and coffee cup next to her computer.

Between the rising unemployment numbers, restrictions around social distancing, and the surge of business closures, finding a job in the era of COVID-19 might seem like an impossible task. However, many companies and industries are still actively hiring. The competition for these jobs will be fierce, and in order to distinguish yourself, you’ll need to show why you’re uniquely well-suited for the challenges ahead. Here are three tips to help set you on your way. 

1. Embrace Creativity in Your Job Search

With U.S. unemployment at 15% and rising, now is not the time for a narrow lens on your job prospects, and you may need to rethink assumptions you previously held about your career path. The good news is, you might have had to do this anyway! Given the accelerating pace of change over the last decade, having a more flexible view of how you’ll earn your living may save you frustration in the long run. Think about your experience and skill sets, and get creative in imagining where your talents will be put to good use. This article from Glassdoor offers a good place to start, with tips on how to search during the pandemic. 

Reminder: As you expand into other industries, remember to update the way you showcase these skills on your resume to reflect each field’s priorities. A resume should not be one-size-fits-all. Also, don’t forget to include remote-friendly keywords (proficiencies with software like GoToMeeting, or characteristics like being an independent self-starter) in your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn page. 

2. Learn New Skills for Socially-Distanced Job Interviews

In this time of remote work, how well you handle the logistics of your Skype interview will provide insights into how well you’ll perform your job. Even with businesses opening up, many jobs will continue to take place online, and events like large meetings or conferences will be primarily virtual for the foreseeable future. It’s not your fault if you’d never heard of Zoom prior to March of this year, but you’ll probably be expected to use it confidently during your interviews. This Forbes article contains advice for interviewing remotely, and this video from Google’s Global Education Evangelist, Jaime Casap, will help you set up your video conferencing tools for success. 

3. Alter Your Mindset for Success in Ambiguous Times

The coronavirus is supercharging a trend we’ve been observing and writing about since launching NimblyWise, the proliferation of ambiguity. The modern workforce doesn’t have the same certainties as decades past, and in order to thrive in such an environment, workers have to feel comfortable in situations where there are no blueprints or right answers. The types of workers who will be valued the most right now are those individuals who adapt quickly, learn new skills when necessary, and work independently without hand-holding from a supervisor. 

The virus has changed the shape of the global economy for years to come, and navigating the job market during this period of flux will require agility, perseverance, and creativity. However, as unprecedented as these times may be, the main question hiring managers will ask candidates is largely the same as it was three months ago: Can you help us solve the problems our company and its customers face? Demonstrating how well you’re evolving with these challenges during the job interview process is the first step in answering that question in the affirmative.