Career Advancement

Navigating the New Job Search

Written by Paula Gray

Finding a new job was often a frustrating and time-consuming process, even before the COVID-19 pandemic upended the professional world as we know it. In today’s post-COVID era, navigating the job search is in many ways more challenging than ever before.

While there is no real lack of available positions with companies across all industries dealing with staffing shortages, the COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly created new complexities for those searching for employment. To help you navigate the new job search in the most efficient and productive way possible, we’ll take a look at research into how the pandemic has impacted employment practices and what you can do to set yourself apart from the competition in this complex new era of job hunting.

COVID-19’s Impact on Employment Practices 

The current economic downturn caused by COVID-19 has forced companies to manage their human resources budget more carefully.  But the most significant impact that COVID-19 has had on employment practices is the fact that the hiring process is now being conducted almost exclusively via virtual format.

According to an article titled “12 Tips to Navigate Your Job Search During COVID-19” published by George Williams College of Aurora University, “The hiring process has gone virtual. From school districts to hospitals to businesses large and small, interviews are being conducted by phone and video (Skype, Zoom, GoToMeeting, Webex).”

Not having the opportunity to meet with interviewers in person has made it more challenging for job seekers to make connections and sell themselves to potential employers. Combining this with the financial hardships that many companies now face leads to a scenario where anyone searching for employment needs to be especially proactive regarding their job search strategy to find success.

Tips for Navigating the Post-COVID Job Search 

In a document titled “Job Search Tips During COVID,” the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health outlines several helpful tips for navigating the post-COVID job search, including:

  • Create Your Own Marketing Materials – Faced with the limitations of virtual interviews and a dipping economy, it is essential to use every tool at your disposal when searching for employment, including the tools you create yourself. Put plenty of effort into creating standard marketing materials such as a resume, cover letter, and C.  However, don’t ignore less common marketing materials such as a script for an elevator pitch to ensure that you can present potential employers with a pitch and materials that will stand out.
  • Apply for Positions Even if You Don’t Meet all of the Qualifications – According to the “Job Search Tips During COVID” article, “If you possess at least 60% of the required qualifications, consider applying. As long as you meet the “essential qualifications” you may be invited to interview, during which you can sell yourself and begin to network into the employer community.”
  • Practice Interviewing – Job interviews are now mainly being conducted virtually, but that doesn’t make putting forward a great impression during your interview any less critical. Like anything else, interview skills are skills that can be sharpened with the proper practice. Consider practicing with a friend.
  • Network Online – Like interviewing, networking in the post-COVID era is now essentially an online process. Being proactive about online networking can help you form valuable connections that may eventually lead to being offered an interview. To make the most of this new era of networking, building a professional social media presence is essential. LinkedIn is an incredibly beneficial social media platform to utilize.

An article titled “COVID-19-Specific Job Searching Tips and Support” published by Columbia GSAS presents several other good points, such as treating the job search as your current full-time job, focusing on short-term career development opportunities, and being flexible regarding the requirements you have for a new job.

There’s no denying the fact that searching for employment in 2021 can be a real challenge. However, with the right approach, it is still certainly possible to find a rewarding career even in today’s challenging times. By following the tips outlined above, you can help set yourself apart from the competition and ensure that you present yourself as a desirable option to potential employers.



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About the author

Paula Gray

Paula Gray is an anthropologist and the Director of Research and Knowledge Development at AIPMM. She has traveled the globe to work with companies throughout the US, Europe, Africa and Asia-Pacific to help them gain a deeper understanding of their customers. She is featured in Linda Gorchels' book The Product Manager's Handbook and has contributed to several books on product management including The Guide to the Product Management and Marketing Body of Knowledge (ProdBOK). She is also the author of numerous blog posts and papers including Business Anthropology and the Culture of Product Managers.