Job Seeking Modernization in an Era of Fundamental Change due to COVID

Posted by Caitlyn Dorrer on Nov 15, 2021 10:23:18 AM

Young man frustrated

Are you seeking post-pandemic employment?
College graduates struggle to find careers as corporations evolve their operations. 
Finding a job is becoming increasingly more difficult as businesses are changing their hiring methods due to the pandemic, but with these steps you can be successful. 

When news of the pandemic first broke out, the world was riddled with fear, denial, and misinformation. However, once the lockdowns, regulations, unemployment, and shortages ensued, the reality of fundamental change in the way society operates became more apparent. Companies that neglected to adapt to these changes and refrained from converting to remote work inevitably went out of business. Contrarily, certain businesses adapted or flourished in the era of modernization and virtuality. As of now, the post-pandemic unemployment rate is low for low paying jobs. However, it is becoming increasingly more difficult for college graduates to acquire careers in the corporate world. As businesses continue to adapt their operations and hiring processes, jobseekers, too, need to adapt to life behind a screen. 

Impact of COVID-19 on the Job Industry

Although the global pandemic disrupted practically every corporation, the primary impact of COVID-19 was the dismantlement of numerous restaurants and small businesses. Companies that disregarded the importance of adapting to the fundamental changes in society due to the influence of COVID-19 typically ended up applying for bankruptcy or went out of business. As lockdowns were initiated, numerous workers were furloughed or laid off due to the social distancing regulations and the unsustainable costs of labor for struggling businesses. A major repercussion resulting from the mandatory lockdowns and social distancing regulations is the switch to virtual business operations. Businesses incapable of adjusting to virtual operations or alternative social distancing methods inevitably failed. 

Many surviving businesses are seeking alternative solutions to filling positions such as repurposing current employees or hiring gig workers to complete specific projects as opposed to hiring long-term employees. Although the job industry seemed bleak in the midst of the pandemic with the substantial drop in job opportunities, the desperation and restlessness of many home-bound jobseekers led to an influx of entrepreneurship and creativity. As for those less inclined to accept the risks of entrepreneurship, acquiring a career in the condition of the job industry was significantly more difficult with the reduction in career opportunities, increased competition, and the permanent change in required skill sets, hiring processes, and the virtuality of businesses. Post-pandemic, job opportunities for low paying jobs are flourishing while career opportunities in the corporate world diminishes as corporations switch to online operations. 

How To Avoid Unemployment After a Pandemic

 Circumstances appear hopeless in terms of avoiding unemployment during and after a global pandemic that, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, resulted in a rapid loss of 22.1 million jobs and notably exceeded the unemployment rates of the Great Recession. However, despite these statistics, all hope is not lost in acquiring a job. With the application of technology that society did not have in previous economic downturns and the quick adaptation in the way people conduct business, society swiftly adjusted to change and made the pandemic the shortest-lived recession in history. That said, since this is an era of fundamental change and modernization with the assistance of technology, you, as a job seeker, need to accommodate for change as well to avoid the contagion of unemployment in the air. If you currently have a job and are seeking other opportunities, then the most imperative aspect of preventing unemployment is to simply not make yourself unemployed. This means to ensure you have a new career secured prior to resigning from the previous job. This is crucial, especially in today’s circumstances, since there is a reduction in career opportunities as countless people are hunting for employment. 

Continually, it is critical to network and utilize connections you already have with friends, family, and neighbors who may have ties to places of employment and can push you through to the interview process. However, if you lack personal connections to businesses, platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook are great mediums for networking and engaging with businesses. Once you have successfully networked and found a place of interest, it is imperative to do research on the business, their mission, and what they do so you can be successful, knowledgeable, and professional when speaking to recruiters and interviewers in videoconferences. Be prepared for multiple interviewers and the questions they may ask, such as why they should hire you, previous work experience, and what you accomplished during the COVID-19 lockdown. With these strategies of networking, preparedness, and transitioning jobs, you can successfully evade unemployment. 

Obstacles in Acquiring a Post-Pandemic Career 

Now that you are well versed in avoiding unemployment in the aftermath of a global pandemic, there are some new obstacles to consider as business operations are transferring to virtual means. The primary obstacle of acquiring a post-pandemic career is adjusting to the distractions of working from home and learning to use the necessary telecommunication software and applications to ensure success in the virtual workforce. Distractions can be neutralized through creating a designated, professional, and clutter-free workspace such as a home office. It is essential this space has a professional aesthetic, as interviewers and employers will observe your surroundings during videoconferences. These videoconferences are conducted on telecommunication software such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. With these video conferencing tools, it is important to maintain a professional appearance and demeanor despite the impersonal feel of virtual meetings. When operating telecommunication mediums, it is necessary to learn how to register for the meeting and learn how to use tools such as the mute button and camera-off button in case of sudden interruptions within your environment. Despite having the ability to turn the camera off or mute the audio, these tools should only be implemented if necessary, as their overuse may make you appear disinterested and unprofessional. 

Another obstacle jobseekers may encounter is a lack of communication from potential employers. As the amount of career opportunities diminishes and the demand for careers skyrockets, companies are bombarded with applications and emails from jobseekers. This dilemma ultimately reduces the responsiveness of recruiters and may result in the lack of a response concerning whether you have obtained a position with the company. Although this is problematic for jobseekers, you should not be discouraged. The key to successfully creating a dialog with recruiters is consistent communication and patience. Overall, converting to virtually working from home is likely a permanent change in the job industry and it is imperative to designate a professional workspace, master the skill of telecommunication, and practice patience to overcome the obstacles surrounding post-pandemic job seeking. 

How Companies Are Adapting Their Hiring Processes

When deliberating entering or returning to the workforce, it is helpful to consider the adaptations to business hiring processes and the reprioritization of values over the course of the pandemic. One major beneficial change to the hiring process is the reduced severity of employment gaps on resumes. This reprioritization is a result of the widespread unemployment that left millions of people without a job due to the pandemic shutdown. Therefore, time off for health problems, caregiving, maternity leave, or loss of employment is significantly less impactful to the hiring process which is beneficial to jobseekers who have been absent from the workforce for a period of time. Continually, as in person interviews and meetings are less commonplace, cover letters are now more valuable to potential employers. In the absence of the ability to meet in person, cover letters allow applicants to showcase their personality, values, and the skill sets that set them apart from other applicants. Although cover letters can provide an advantage to applicants, it may also be detrimental if it contains grammatical errors. Therefore, when writing a cover letter, or any professional document for that matter, it is essential to thoroughly proofread. Once an applicant has surpassed the resume and cover letter review stage of the hiring process, the applicant is then interviewed on a videoconferencing platform, such as Zoom, to assess whether they are the right fit for the company. As stated previously, the interview process has been converted to online video conferences to accommodate for social distancing. Finally, numerous innovative companies are employing Virtual Reality tours to immerse new employees during the onboarding process once the applicant has obtained the position. In summary, expectations and procedures for the hiring process have shifted to accommodate the fundamental change and progression towards virtuality. 

Strategies to Improve Your Likelihood of Being Hired

In this new era of modernization, virtuality, and fundamental change, society is deprived of human interaction. With this in mind, personalization and perseverance are key factors in distinguishing you from other applicants. These factors demonstrate to employers that you are diligent and that you truly want the job. The first technique to accomplish personalization is, again, a cover letter. Cover letters are imperative in the virtual job industry because during the hiring process there are no opportunities to meet in person. Many applicants overlook the importance of a cover letter, and this neglect may lead potential employers to dismiss the application due to receiving countless bare bones resumes daily. Additionally, within your cover letter or resume, it is beneficial to discuss your activities and accomplishments you completed over the pandemic shutdown. Providing examples of your productivity during a nation-wide shutdown demonstrates resilience, reliability, and determination to employers, as well as provides a unique and intriguing twist to your application. 

Furthermore, to showcase adaptability, jobseekers should include ‘proficiency with Zoom and virtual working’ in the section encompassing their skill sets within the resume. Once the application process concludes and the interview process ensues, it is important to enter the video conference interview prepared with meaningful and relevant questions for the interviewer. This preparedness demonstrates that you have dedicated time to research the company and that you are interested in pursuing the career further. Finally, after the interview concludes, it is imperative to send a personalized thank you email or letter. Although sending snail mail sounds contradictory to modernization, a handwritten, personalized note can certainly be the determining factor between you and a competitor for the position. Overall, personalization and effort are sincerely the most influential resources jobseekers have, but do not often employ. 

Promise For the Future 

Despite the detrimental impact COVID-19 holds on career opportunities, there is still hope in finding a post-pandemic career with the strategies of consistent communication, practicing patience, mastering telecommunication software, and utilizing personalization tactics to set your application above those of competitors. Since corporations converted to teleworking, it has become significantly more difficult for college graduates to obtain a career or internship. Typically, internships function to provide in person mentoring, foster critical skills for success, build experience for resumes, and provide a direct path to employment with the company upon graduation. Although these direct career paths and internships are more challenging to find due to the pandemic, a career is still obtainable once you understand the adaptations to company hiring processes that occurred.

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Topics/Tags/Categories: Networking, Job Exploration, Indeed, How To

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