COVID-19 has changed the way we work – and the way we find work. From applying, to interviewing, to being hired: the process of getting a new job can look quite different to the way it would have before. So, what do you need to know about if you want to apply for a role now, and what should you do differently?
Whether it’s been a long time since your last job search or you just want to make sure you stand out in this new environment, there are a few key things to keep in mind if you’re applying for jobs during COVID-19. Here’s what to focus on.
With social distancing in place, the way you apply for a job, and be considered for it, could happen almost entirely online. Depending on the kind of work you’re applying for and your location, it might not be possible to meet your potential employer in person or visit the workplace you’re applying to.
So, while some things will stay the same, you’ll need to think about the process from a digital point of view, says Kelly Van Nelson, Managing Director, Adecco Australia.
“There are the basics that will never change – having a concise, updated resume tailored to the position you are applying for remains a number one priority for all candidates,” says Van Nelson.
“However, in the online environment, it’s really important to ensure the keywords from job ads are placed in your documentation, and that you embrace requests for online interviews.”
It’s a good time to get familiar with the online tools that can help you – update your SEEK Profile to include keywords employers will look for, and take a look at these tips to help you make the most of your job search.
Get ready for screen time
Video interviews may not be a new experience for you – they were on the rise before the pandemic hit. But you can expect them to become popular due to physical distancing requirements.
Remote interviews can work to your advantage, says Dorothy Hisgrove, Chief People Officer at PwC. She says some job seekers perform better in video interviews because they are able to relax and open up in a less formal setting.
“Opening the interview with a bit of friendly banter helps to break the ice,” she says. “And listening with keen attention helps with building a personal connection via video.”
Van Nelson says it can be challenging to convey your personality via video, but there are ways you can show who you really are.
“It’simportant to have high energy in online interviews, as they cut out most of your body language,” she says. “Being upbeat, confident and clear in your communication is paramount.”
There’s also your technology and location to consider: this step-by-step guide can help you prepare for your video interview.
Highlight your transferable skills
If your industry has been hit hard by COVID-19, your skills may easily translate to another sector or a different role.
“Transferable skills such as customer service, communication skills and teamwork or leadership capabilities are extremely sought after by employers right now,” Van Nelson says. “Highlighting these on both your resume and online career platforms will help you in your search for your next role.”
“Being adaptable to this fluid situation and having the skills that can be used across a range of roles and sectors is going to put you in the best position to secure employment,” she adds
This transferable skills checklist can help you identify what your own transferable skills are.
Be open to new types of work
The pandemic has changed how we work – and where we work from. Many businesses have shifted to having their staff work from home during the pandemic. Others have had to switch to operating differently. In all, there’s been a lot of change – so showing employers that you can adjust and adapt to new situations can be really important.
“Demonstrating a willingness to be agile and open to new types of work is vital right now,” Van Nelson says. “You can highlight agility through your previous experience, giving specific examples of how you have been flexible and agile in previous work situations and the outcome that has produced.”
For example, in a previous job you might have taken on additional duties outside of your core role to help the business through a busy period, or to achieve a certain goal. Or there may have been a time where you had to put aside your normal work to deal with a problem or challenge that emerged. Being able to explain how you handled situations like this can help demonstrate to potential employers that you can be flexible and adaptable.
Van Nelson also recommends highlighting ways you’ve remained resilient or have adopted new work methods. “Highlight where you have taken the initiative in building your own skills and developing yourself and show how this has benefitted both you and your previous employer.”
Sharpen your attention to detail
More people are looking for work as a result of COVID-19, which can mean more competition when you apply for a role. In this environment, it’s important to give your applications the best chance possible by ensuring you don’t miss any details.
Van Nelson says it’s more important than ever to follow all the application requirements. “The entire hiring process is now very much in the online environment, from video interviews through to remote onboarding, which is a new experience for many people,” she says.
“It’s important to embrace new ways of applying for work and complete every application step, as with the increase in unemployment we will continue to see an increase in the number of candidates looking for roles, making it harder to stand out when applying.”
There can be a lot to keep track of, especially if you’re applying for multiple jobs at once. This job application checklist can help you break the process into simple steps.
These tips on how to stand out in a crowded job market could also help you ensure your application gets noticed.
So much of the way we work and live has changed due to COVID-19 – including applying for jobs. But by focusing in on these key areas, you’ll be able to adjust and adapt – and put yourself in the best position to find a new role in this new environment.