Get Employed Again After The COVID Pandemic
It’s almost over. After experiencing the most harrowing year in 2020. You survived a job loss, being isolated, and if you are fortunate enough, and diligent in practicing the preventative measures, you may have survived not getting this frightening respiratory condition.
Even if you weren’t fortunate enough to not get COVID, hopefully, you’ve recovered and you are on your way to normal again. Now it’s time to get employed again. The question is where to start?
Because of COVID, unemployment soared to a rate higher than it has been in decades. It forced employers to close their doors or amend their practices to the guidelines set by our lawmakers.
Now it’s 2021 and the infection rate is dropping every day, and more and more people are getting vaccinated. All of this means it really is almost over. Slowly, but surely, we will experience normalcy. It most likely will never be as it was pre-COVID, but we will experience less isolation, and will want to return to some form of normalcy and employment.
To Get Employed Again, Realize Things Have Changed
Before sharing tips for getting employed again, it’s important to understand how the employment process has changed, and will probably never go back to the old ways of doing things. Because of COVID, getting hired is no longer just about sending out a resume and waiting for a call or email inviting you to interview at a company’s physical location. Now there is a hands-off approach. Before COVID, Phase 1 of a hiring process was already hands-off. Still, you expected that eventually you would end up having a face-to-face to determine if you are a good fit and to take the next steps with confirming your qualifications. All of this has changed. Now it’s all done virtually.
There are new trends emerging because of COVID that may affect how you get employed again. Here are 3 of them.
Initially, employers would contact their potential candidates to have a phone interview before the face-to-face. Now because of technologies such as Google Hangout, Zoom, and Skype, businesses interview their potential prospects before they leave home.
Employers are not just depending on virtual face-to-face, they are implementing processes such as virtual assessment to determine your skill level and your personality. Remember the old ways of finally meeting to determine if you really are the right candidate? Now they will have an answer and decide if they want to hire you without you having to put on business attire, and walk through their doors.
Usually when a company hires a candidate, on the first day of work they spend almost the entire day in personnel going through their onboarding process, which involves filling out paperwork, learning about the company policy and procedures, and so much more. Now this entire process is virtual. Whether they hire you to work from home, or at a business location, they expect you to complete their onboarding processes online. Some companies are offering VR tours of their facility to help facilitate the process of accommodation and familiarity.
Working from home was always a viable option that’s used by certain companies who find it to be cost effective, productive, and offer the diverse talent they can only find if they expand their geography.
Now, because of the pandemic, employers are choosing to take advantage of technologies that were already available. It forced them to facilitate work from home arrangements that will probably stay in place long after the pandemic.
How do we know that remote work is here to stay? In a twelve year study conducted by Gallop, they found that the number of employees employed off site was just 39%. Move ahead just four more years and that percentage increased to 43%. Because of COVID, that percentage has increased even more to 63%. Employers use what was already in place to keep their businesses viable. As a result, they’ve discovered part of their business can function remotely and will save them money, amongst other benefits. These practices were already in place for companies that focus on sales, Airline companies, and credit card companies.
5 Tips For Getting Employed Again
1. Prepare for online recruitment
Getting hired is no longer just about presenting the right resume. While a resume is still a part of the process, it’s no longer the way to stand out and get hired. A resume opens the door to a virtual interview where a decision is made whether to hire you or to move you to the next phase of a hiring process.
First impression still matters, just as it would in a face-to-face interview. To be successful at making a good impression visually, make sure these tips are in place before the call.
Still wear professional attire
Even if it’s just from the waist up. Also remember, what you wear conveys your personality. Depending on the company you are interviewing with, you don’t want to wear patterns and prints that are ostentatious. In fact, if you can, stick with neutral colors that won’t distract from how you present yourself while responding to their questions.
Do your due diligence
Research the company, consider what questions they may ask, practice potential answers. Do what you would do if you had an appointment to meet in-person.
Prevent intrusions or distractions
When you are at home in front of a computer, it’s easy to have intrusions. A ringing phone, email notifications, the blender going off in your kitchen. The scenarios are endless. Remember, you are trying to make a first impression.
Watch out for online gestures
Imagine this scenario. The interviewer asks you a question, and you are considering the answer. The gesture you don’t realize you are making? You roll your eyes to the ceiling, thinking about the answer. How do you think that will look on the opposite side of the computer? I can share that it’s not a pleasant look.
Test your technology
This tip should probably be the second one listed. Also, a part of it should be your preparation process. It’s frightening to think you had a scheduled Zoom call, but you never used Zoom before, you don’t know if you need to download an app or if you can have the call on your browser. In addition, make sure your internet works, and the sound on your computer is functioning. Do a test call with a friend well before your scheduled call to make sure all works well.
This final tip is important because you need to stand out from all the other interviewees and you can’t do it in person, you can only do it virtually. To do this, you need to be authentic, and pay attention to how you express yourself (Think of the eye roll example above.) Show your confidence and convey your abilities with enthusiasm.
2. Start networking online
Before COVID, most applicant use sites such as LinkedIn to find potential employers. Now you have to stay longer on these sites and find more ways to engage with potential employers or business contacts online. You never know if the person you are chatting with is hiring, or know who is hiring. Join groups that’s in your field of expertise. Visit these groups and be visible by joining the conversation. A comment or a question may open the door to an interview.
3. Update your skills To Get Employed Again
Not having the resources or time to take an Excel class is no longer a viable excuse. Because of the growth and popularity of online courses, you no longer have an excuse to not build your skills and learn softwares that will build your Skillset. There are so many business courses offered by sites such as Udemy and StackSkills, learning a new skill is more possible than ever. And it’s as Udemy says on their webpage: You can learn on your own schedule.
4. Make a conscious choice
The pandemic have taught us many lessons. One lesson we’ve learned, possibly without realizing it, is that it matters what type of company you work for. Not all companies would keep you employed during a pandemic by giving you the resources you need to work from home. I think a lot of us know someone who works for a company that offers such support and you should want that too.
Being able to work for a company that will have your back if god forbid there is ever another pandemic or something similar should be a conscious choice when deciding who you want to attract as an employer. Yes, you are eager to be employed again and make money. The temptation may be to accept anything that comes along. Just remember what you’ve experienced this past year and ask yourself, would you want to go through that again?
Here is how to make a conscious choice. It’s really simple, research the company before contacting them. Learn as much as you can about the company’s policies, benefits, and if you can, how they treat their employees. Use this pandemic as an indicator. What did they do for their employees when they had to close their doors? You choose them before they choose you. That should be your motto.
5. Don’t forgo self care
The pandemic have been hazardous not just to our physical health, but our mental health as well. How could isolation, fear, and unemployment not affect us negatively? At the beginning of this post, I said it’s almost over. It’s time to find what normal means, and to do that we must and work on our well-being.
Do what works for you, but consider finding opportunities to socialize face-to-face when it’s safe to do so. Exercise outdoors, again when it’s safe to do so. Do something each day that will help you reconnect and destress your life. When you connect with Zoom or whichever form of communication, you will use to conduct virtual interviews, you want to feel optimized and ready to present your best self.
You can find many tips online on finding a job during and after the pandemic. Each and everyone of them is relevant and worth considering. The tips above are not just pertinent, they are self-centric. Which means every effort you make in the coming months will be to connect with who you are and who you want to be.
You’ve spent these past months focus on a potential health crisis that may or may not have affected you. You’ve watched lives change around you temporarily and permanently. However, despite everything, finding normal again is possible. Perhaps for you it starts with getting re-employed. Start by reading the tips others offer, then re-read them and think solely about where you are now, and where you want to be tomorrow. With that in mind, as I mention above, make conscious choices and get yourself employed again.