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6 Tips for How to Job Search During a Pandemic

By: Michelle Redepenning

Woman on her laptop

As a record number of workers have been laid off or furloughed due to the global pandemic, you may be discouraged or hesitant to start a full-time or internship search. Career experts say it’s best to keep networking and applying, though you may need to tweak your search strategy. Here are 6 tips to help you navigate the job search process during the pandemic and economic slowdown.

  1. Develop a virtual networking strategy: In-person networking events have been cancelled so you need to find a new way to network. Look for virtual events. Invite connections to meet for a virtual coffee chat. Look for professional groups to join on LinkedIn and Facebook. Like, comment, post, and share content to create visibility for yourself. Remember to keep your social media communications professional. Let your connections (friends, classmates, professors, mentors) know that you are searching and ask if they know of any open positions or companies hiring.    
  2. Prepare your application materials: Update your resume and LinkedIn profile and learn how to customize your cover letters. Write your resume to promote digital and remote team skills. Knowing your application materials are polished and up-to-date ensures that when a position is posted you can apply immediately. If you are a McCoy graduate student contact Michelle Redepenning to help you prepare your application materials. If you are a McCoy undergraduate student contact Bruce Howard in Career Services for assistance.
  3. Do your research: The COVID-19 crisis is providing a glance in to every company’s culture. Once you’ve created a list of companies you want to work for, research how they’re responding to this crisis. Follow these companies on social media and check different news outlets for information. How are they treating their customers? How are they managing their employees? Did they layoff or furlough staff? If so, how did they handle layoffs or furloughs? Are employees allowed to work from home? Finally, set up Google alerts for the companies you want to work for and listen to investor calls. “When you do have a chance to interview, you’ll be able to demonstrate that you understand the concerns leadership has and the threats the company faces from this pandemic,” says Laura Labovich, CEO of The Career Strategy Group. “You can mention what you read and listened to and use your specific knowledge to drive home how you could help the company achieve its goals if hired.”
  4. Boost your skills: Now is the perfect time to start adding to your professional toolkit. Analyze job descriptions to see what hard and soft skills employers are looking for. If you’re lacking the skill entirely or have not worked on in it years, use this time to brush up and become an even better candidate. As a Texas State student you have access to free LinkedIn Learning courses. There are plenty of free online course including MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), EdX classes (featuring free courses from MIT and Harvard), Coursera (free professional and training courses) and free Microsoft training and tutorials. Find more sites that offer online courses on this website.
  5. Consider temporary opportunities: You may not be able to work your dream job right now. In the meantime, consider project-based or contract work, gig work or freelance jobs.
  6. Be patient with yourself and with employers: We are all trying to adjust. It is a tough time for individuals searching for work. Employers are challenged as they pivot their entire business model. It may take employers longer to respond and the search process may be slower now than it was 6 months ago.