Looking for work is challenging enough, but when you throw a global pandemic into the mix, it can be significantly more difficult. If you’re a job seeker, your job search right now might seem a little daunting. Who’s even hiring? How can you get the support that you need? How do you conduct a job search in a virtual world?
That’s why we’ve put together this list of five ways you can boost your job search during COVID-19. Whether you’re taking this time to plan your next career move, or you just need some quick tips to secure work quickly, we hope this helps. Remember to persevere!
1. Prepare for virtual job fairs
Like a lot of gatherings right now, job fairs are turning virtual. But just as in-person job fairs, if you want them to be useful, you must be prepared. Here are a few tips to ensure you get the most out of a virtual job fair:
- Do your research on the employers who’ll be in attendance, and the ones you’re interested in. Why do you want to work for them? What can you offer? Prior to the job fair, take a look at the Careers page on their website and decide if there are any postings you are suitable for.
- Sign in early to make sure your technology is working. Chances are you’ll need to download a program or app in order to partake, so this will give you time to make sure you're prepared.
- Prepare a 30-second elevator pitch. They’re your opportunity to tell people who you are, what you’ve done and where you’d like to be – all in about 30 seconds.
- Consider your background and environment. What will the employer see behind you? Make sure you’re not sitting in front of a bright window, so you can be seen easily. If you can, try and make sure your background is a neutral wall, and that you’re in a quiet environment with minimal background noise.
2. Be kind to yourself and don’t be afraid to ask for help
Looking for work is hard to do alone at any time, let alone when it feels like the world has shut down. Remember that no matter how fabulous you were in your last job, it’s normal to struggle as you flex your skills for interviewing, cover letter writing and networking.
Successful job seekers don’t hesitate to reach out to family, friends, former colleagues and employment professionals for support.
You can find fresh ideas, an expanded network and help in identifying why you’re great (for free!) at WorkBC Centres. WorkBC Centres provide free employment services to British Columbians, like one-to-one career support from a Case Manager, training, interview preparation and more. During COVID-19, all services are being offered virtually, to keep you as safe as possible.
3. Prepare a career portfolio
Career portfolios are important because they showcase what you have to offer, what you’ve accomplished and how qualified you are. This is a fantastic opportunity to curate yours. Here’s a list of items you can include:
- Copies of your educational qualifications: degrees, certificates, training, grades, transcripts.
- Photos of your work: use pictures of projects you’ve worked on, even if it was on a team. Photos of you teaching, leading, managing, doing…. Be sure to get permission to take or use photos, especially if you’re going to post them onto the web for job search purposes.
- Examples of your writing: blog posts, essays, magazine articles, copy, advertising, manuals, website information, instruction manuals, signage, anything where you’ve successfully demonstrated your writing abilities.
- Copies of awards or achievements: employee of the month, sales targets, educational awards, team sports awards, military awards if relevant, industry or peer awards, notes from professors or instructors.
- Thank you cards, emails or testimonials: save emails from co-workers, employers, clients or students who thank you for the work you’ve done. Be sure to get their written permission before sharing or posting any personal correspondence and be sure to hide their personal contact information unless they are one of your references.
- Copies of positive performance reviews: show evidence of achieving any goals you set for yourself in moving forward after the review.
- Photos of you: work-related events, trade shows, team building, volunteering events or crossing the finish line at the end of a marathon.
- Spreadsheets of documented numbers: documents that show your successful outcomes, such as sales figures, growth charts or analytics demonstrating how your contributions benefited the company; percentage figures of reduction in losses or increased revenues. Copies of workflow and thought processes: employers want to know how you think and solve problems. Copies of mind maps, brainstorming sheets, lesson plans, outlines, proposals, and PowerPoint presentations are great ways to demonstrate that.
- Video or audio files: presentations you’ve given, YouTube videos, audio recordings of a speech you’ve made, a workshop you’ve delivered, interviews you’ve given or conducted. Bring them on a flash drive to show on a tablet if it’s relevant.
4. Get ready for phone and/or video interviews
Don’t be fooled - successfully handling a phone or video interview takes just as much preparation as an in-person interview. Check out these blogs on how to succeed at phone interviews, and how to prepare for video interviews.
5. Stay informed
In the current climate, it’s important to have a general sense of what’s going on economically and with the labour market to help inform your decisions. This means staying on top of reliable news sources and being on the lookout for resources. Here are a few articles to help get you started:
- Emerging Economy Task Force final report released
- Report maps pathway to grow innovation in B.C.
- 'We make zero': How COVID-19 is likely to impact B.C.'s economy
- How long will job losses due to COVID-19 last?
If you need support with your job search, especially during COVID-19, contact your local WorkBC Centre in Metro Vancouver. Find your local WorkBC Centre.