If you have to look for a new job right now amidst secondary lockdowns, you have my greatest sympathies. COVID-19 has thrown all our plans out the window and nine months later, it’s not getting any easier.

Job seekers have to navigate a new normal when it comes to job hunting and the rules are still murky. 

How does the pandemic affect your job search?

Few people are prepared to search for a job during a crisis or a global pandemic. It’s stressful enough to live through a pandemic in the first place. Much more to deal with financial uncertainty and dwindling prospects in your field. Yes, there are those sectors that have been left unscathed – IT, engineering and also digital design – but as a whole the job market has been decimated.

Not only are the number of job offerings fewer and far in between, but there are also fundamental changes to how job hunting even works. 

Hiring freezes and limited offerings

Let’s not lie to ourselves. The job market has shrunk and prospects don’t look optimistic for the next year at the very least. Companies are less focused on growth and mobilize their retargets to survive. Hiring freezes are not that uncommon and the few job postings that do arise in industries that have been severely impacted attract more candidates than ever.

What job seekers need to do is arm themselves with patience, because finding a job will be a long-term project. At the same time, we also advise looking into ways to stay on top of new postings by heading to Twitter and making use of technologies like RSS to boost productivity

All virtual recruiting process

The biggest change in the recruitment process has been the shift towards video meeting apps like Zoom, Slack, Skype and Google Meet. Obviously, you have to make the best impression during a digital interview though that comes with its own challenges. Poor Internet connection works to your disadvantage, and you have to consider camera quality, lighting, background and ensuring a quiet environment. 

The shift towards virtual recruitment also affects employers, because it’s less efficient and given the financial stresses of the pandemic recruitment occupies a lower priority. 

New job needs in response to the changing business environment

Businesses have reoriented themselves to a remote approach to keep processes going. Work from home has fully become the new normal, which on one hand harms productivity, but on the other, it opens new frontiers for job seekers. Don’t restrict yourself to local markets, because we don’t know how long we might still work from home. There’s also no telling whether a return to office life will be as prevalent in the end. 

How to secure your job despite Covid-19?

You might be familiar with the old saying ‘job hunting is a full-time job in itself’. Covid-19 has upped the difficulty level considerably, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to bounce back from unemployment. With the right mindset and adjustments to how you approach job hunting, you can land a good-enough job. Even if it’s not exactly what you’ve envisioned for yourself. 

Creative job search techniques

Now that job hunting has moved entirely in the digital world, it’s best to consider how to fully optimize the tools at your disposal. Make the most out of recruitment sites and social media accounts advertising job openings with RSS readers like Inoreader. Using RSS to structure your job search shaves off considerable time you’d otherwise spend hopping from site to site.

Job hunting during the pandemic is stressful enough. Check out retargets that will help you find a great job, even in a competitive job market. 

Networking and follow-up

Tap into your contacts and research whether you can’t find an opening internally through a friend or a former co-worker. Leverage your presence on LinkedIn. We’re all stuck at home most of the time so rather than spending all our hours on Instagram or Netflix, direct that energy into building connections where it matters.

A good thing to keep in mind is that HR personnel and recruiters are going to be overwhelmed at the moment, so if you haven’t heard from them after an interview, follow up. But don’t come off as aggressive – it’s a fine line between assertiveness and entitlement

Patience and Flexibility

In the ‘before’ time, it took a lot less time to accomplish everything; finding a job included. Allow yourself a few extra months before you feel frustrated. Between hiring freezes in certain industries and an influx in job seekers, you’re going to have to learn how to be patient.

It also doesn’t help that the hiring process is now mostly digital, which comes with the unfortunate downside that internal communication is going to take more time. To that end, think more about where your skills are applicable so you have more opportunities.  

Plan ahead

With all this time at your disposal, it helps to take a step back and reevaluate your career trajectory. Are you still employed, but your job has become a target of stress? Maybe consider how long you can push through until the job market stabilizes. Is your industry suffering? Then think about the skills you can polish and develop to target different positions.

Talks about dream jobs are good and all, but rather unrealistic during this particular climate. As with everything worthwhile in life, a sound strategy is the best course of action. 

Have alternative career paths

Staying in one lane feels safe for the lot of us. This is what you’re good at, so let’s stick to it. I’m not one to criticize personally. However, nothing is guaranteed so you might as well think outside the box in regards to what you can do. Move away from thinking about job positions and assess your core skills and how they translate into other industries. You may be surprised at the overlap and here is your gateway into a different career.

If you’ve considered a shift career-wise, then now is the time to look into what courses and steps to take to make yourself an attractive candidate.