Although the first US COVID-19 case was reported in January 2020. The initial impact was simply a tiny ripple in the economy. It wasn’t until the beginning of March that it began to feel like a tsunami was overtaking our country. Of course, we are all familiar with the narrative…jobs have been lost, the Dow has plunged, and people have suffered many personal losses.

Those who are able to work from home have sheltered in place as best as possible and tried to keep the show going. The doors are slowly trying to reopen. So now what. What does that mean for active and passive job searchers?

Rules for your job Search

  1. Be prepared to move quickly. With hiring processes simplified and everyone on a more flexible schedule, the process is poised now to move quickly. For the cleared worker, now is the time to job search. New contracts may pop up in the new fiscal year, but now is the time to check your networks and search for opportunities. It’s always best to have your online profile up to date and resume ready; however, now it’s even more critical.
  2. Follow up if you want the job. With everything that has happened, HR teams may be overwhelmed. So, don’t wait on a call from them. See how you can make their job easier. Contracts are constantly being awarded right now despite a global pandemic, so recruiters may have more openings to fill and more responses to filter. Don’t be a stalker, but do be persistent so that you stand out among the crowd.
  3. Make peace with the virtual interview. With so much life that has happened in the virtual environment, recruiters and candidates are more at ease with the limitations of the virtual interviews. But just because you feel at ease doesn’t mean show up for an interview in workout gear. Figure out the right camera position, as well as the right lighting. Practice with friends so you’re prepared to make the right remote impression.
  4. See the shifts in perspective. With the lack of stability, candidates that were unlikely to budge before might be ready to take leap, so your competition may have changed. And jobs that were plentiful before might have vanished.
  5. Seek internal promotions where possible. Sometimes new leaders emerge during changing times. The current pandemic is no exception to the rule. Now is not the time to assume the “That’s above my pay grade” or “That’s not in my job description” mentality. Step up and into another position within your own organization. Internal recognition will pay dividends on your resume.

Soft Skills and Digital Literacy

While remote work may not be the new norm, it certainly has the potential to impact the new norm. You don’t have to pretend that you have loved being at home, but it is good to present it as a viable work environment for you. If you have been out of work, or you’ve found the telework life a bit of a challenge,  take advantage of ways to grow your soft skills and update your digital literacy. If there has ever been a time to brush up on these skills, now is the time.

If your goal is to get hired, showing your flexibility and adaptability during this time gives you an edge. Inventory your skills and capabilities that can help your current company or industry adapt to upcoming change, and find ways to communicate that.

Networks are Key

Whether or not you’ve been hit by job loss, this pandemic has had an equalizing power to it. I find that we all tend to realize that we do not have immunity or control to the impacts of the virus, so that gives a little bit of camaraderie with each other. Everyone understands if COVID-19 has brought uncertainty to your personal or professional life, so it’s good to be honest about that with those in your network. Refresh those connections, and don’t forget to be on the lookout for new connections.

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Jillian Hamilton has worked in a variety of Program Management roles for multiple Federal Government contractors. She has helped manage projects in training and IT. She received her Bachelors degree in Business with an emphasis in Marketing from Penn State University and her MBA from the University of Phoenix.