Job Hunting During Coronavirus

My plan is to return to work at some point this year. For the past few months, I’ve been trying to decide what that will look like. Will I work part-time or full-time? Do I want a permanent job or contract/project-based work? How far am I willing to commute for work? Do I return to my former field or dive into a new industry?

And, of course, this novel coronavirus pandemic and subsequent shelter-in-place order has had a huge impact on my job-hunting plans. I had just decided to give video and commercial acting work a try before pursuing more traditional office jobs; and then the outbreak in the Bay Area escalated and we were ordered to shelter in place.

Now, my focus is on pursuing roles that can accommodate employees working remotely. It doesn’t necessarily mean I need to return to my previous industry of digital marketing and advertising. But it does limit the new fields I can consider. Some of the careers on my sabbatical list are really a no-go right now — interior design, real estate, theater. But there are some roles that function just fine in remote settings.

But it also has me wondering — how are the pandemic and quarantine measures going to affect hiring? I set out to do some research.

Are companies still hiring?

In short, some are and some aren’t. While certain industries have been hit hard and forced to majorly downsize their workforce, other industries are not as affected by (or are even growing during) this pandemic.

According to Forbes, unsurprisingly, there is a huge demand for health-care related workers. There is also a lot of growth in other industries that are booming as a result of the shelter-in-place mandates, such as video conferencing, online teaching, delivery services, video game companies and grocery stores, to name a few. Tech giants, whose work can often be done remotely and whose huge cash reserves help weather economic impacts, are also continuing to hire.

How should I adapt my job search?

With many people experiencing layoffs and other loss of work, we may see the job market flooded with candidates. Now, more than ever, it’s important to make sure LinkedIn profiles and resumes are up-to-date and compelling.

For the type of work I would pursue, I would almost certainly start the role working from home. According to Fast Company, it’s good to highlight your experience with remote work, to prove you can be productive outside of an office setting.

How should I prepare for interviews?

The biggest change in the interview process during the pandemic is that most interviews will happen over the phone or video conferencing. According to CNBC, you can set yourself up for success for a video interview by testing your tech and remembering to still dress appropriately (at least on the top!).

For me, personally, I will also need to create my narrative around my sabbatical. Why did I take so much time off of work? What did I do and learn? What skills did I gain? What are my career goals now?

What else can I do?

Fast Company offers a few tips outside of actually applying for positions that can help with one’s job search, including nurturing your online network and focusing on professional development.

For me, I think this can be particularly useful to boost my visibility in some of these industries I’m new to. For example, I plan to repost my blogs about the podcast as articles on my LinkedIn profiles to highlight my experience there.

I will also explore online courses that can help me develop or improve skills.

My job search may be more prolonged than it has been in the past, which is why it’s good for me to start early. I will likely apply to many different industries and types of positions, which will mean a lot of work creating different resumes. And ultimately, I’ll have to decide on the best set-up for me to work remotely, while also considering how I’d like to work at the company once normal operations resume.

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[…] I wrote about several months ago, my plan had been (and continues to be) to return to work on a more full time basis at some point this year. At the beginning of the year, I was thinking late April or May would be a reasonable time to wrap […]