Help for Your Job Search During Coronavirus (COVID-19) Uncertainty -Important
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The COVID-19 virus is causing stress for everyone, whether you already have a job or currently in a job search. Our home offices are located in Orlando, Florida, and we are witnessing the complete shutdown of our tourist industry. Universal Studios and Disney are closing for the rest of the month. Our convention business has come to a standstill. Over 100,000 employees will not be working for the foreseeable future. Thankfully, Disney and Universal will pay their employees while the parks are closed. No matter what, if you are in the middle of a job search and really need to work, the COVID-19 is going to disrupt this already stressful process.
What should you be doing in your job search while the world fights COVID-19? There isn’t a playbook, but after talking to quite a few employers, I like to offer some suggestions that you should consider. I intend to give you some hope in such an unprecedented time. Here are my thoughts, followed by interesting articles on this topic.
- I am hoping that COVID-19 is a short-term issue. Most of the employers we are talking to have NOT stopped hiring. It doesn’t mean they won’t look at some point, but no one has been through a crisis like this, so they are not sure what to do. When a hurricane disrupts, you watch the radar, get hunkered down, and then you can predict when you can get back to a normal life. It is crucial during this crisis NOT to assume employers are not hiring. Don’t hold off on sending your resume or reaching out directly to the employer. I think you may find good results since others competing for the same job may shut down their job search during this crisis.
- Interviews will most likely be phone or video. Here is an article you have to read if you have a phone interview. These interviews will be your first impression, so please don’t take them lightly.
- Patience is the key. No one knows what the short-term future holds. Smart employers will use this time to build pipelines for future jobs. They know that many “passive” candidates are now working from home and may have time to apply to their open positions, something they could never do from their office workstations. In your job search, don’t hesitate to apply to jobs that you qualify for, knowing you may not get an interview until the crisis eases. You can’t win the lottery if you don’t have a ticket.
- If everyone is staying home, use this time to take online skill courses to make you much more valuable in your job search. Every industry requires different certifications for advanced jobs. If you are a waiter but want to be a restaurant manager, there is an online training curriculum for making that happen. We are in a skills-based economy, and when the crisis ends, you will be much more valuable (and can demand more money) with training and certifications.
- Sharpen up your resume. Eighty percent of the resumes I see are not optimized. If I can’t tell what you do in the top third of your resume, it needs help. Read about how to do that here. This is a big deal for recruiters and the robots who make interview decisions.
The COVID-19 virus will pass, and companies will be ready to roll. In my 25 years of recruiting, I have never seen an event that has impacted Americans and the world in such an unpredictable way. For those of you in a job search, keep the faith and continue applying to jobs that fit your skills. The good news is once COVID-19 dissipates, unlike the great recession, companies should recover in a much shorter period of time. This is only done with great employees. In Orlando, Disney and Universal already know that once they are reopened, they will be selling out to capacity crowds. They can’t afford to lose their current employees or the new ones they picked up while they were closed.
Some other interesting articles on your job search and COVID-19:
Coronavirus triggers ‘nightmare’ scenario for workers in Orlando: Layoffs and job reductions are starting (I was quoted in this article)