Are you looking for a new job amidst a raging global pandemic?
That’s no easy task. Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of people across the globe would soon have to experience the challenges of finding a new job during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Good thing is, it’s still possible to find a job even in a time like this.
The job market has shut down in several sectors because of the current situation with the virus. But we still need essential supplies, medical and public workers and other necessities. Therefore, a lot of companies are still hiring.
Aside from preparing yourself mentally, there’s one more thing that you should prepare for your job search. Your résumé.
Here’s how to update your résumé for job search due to an unexpected job loss or potential layoff during the COVID-19 pandemic:
Address your employment gap
You’ll possibly end up with an employment gap on your résumé due to the layoff. Your goal is to minimise the gap as much as possible, which means you can’t be too picky during these times.
But it could also take a while until you’ll find a new position. So how do you address a prolonged employment gap on your résumé?
Be completely honest. Don’t try to hide this gap on your résumé. These are hard times and employers are more understanding about unemployment due to layoff.
Mention in your career history about being laid off due to COVID-19. But don’t stop there. Mention how you’ve used the time off to improve your skills – whether it’s completing online courses and certifications or learning new computer software.
You have a lot of spare time and you can use this to your advantage. Some of them are now being offered on discounted prices or even for free, such as free TAFE courses ranging from Writing and Presentation Skills, to Social Media, eMarketing and Administration Skills.
If you’re not yet involved in any volunteer activities, try to look for opportunities to support others. Many organisations are running various non-profit projects during this pandemic. This shows that you’ve remained proactive and contributed positively to a greater goal. You can include this volunteer work under the work experience section or put it under a separate section dedicated to volunteer experience.
If you’ve not done anything productive during this period, Hiring Managers might think that you’ve just spent this time binge-watching shows on Netflix.
Highlight your technical skills (and soft skills)
More companies are now moving into remote work. The use of various communication tools, such as Zoom, TeamViewer and Goole Hangouts Meet, has become prominent in today’s current work arrangements.
Hence, it will be advantageous to highlight your digital and technical skills on your résumé.
If you have experience with remote work (example: working with geographically dispersed team members), make sure to mention this as one of your skills.
However, don’t forget about your soft skills too. It’s equally important to mention your reliability and self-motivation skills as new circumstances call for the ability to work unsupervised. Hiring Managers will appreciate high levels of organisation and prioritisation skills.
Make sure to include these skills in the Profession Profile section of your résumé.
Good references are important than ever
We usually don’t recommend including references on your résumé. But this doesn’t necessarily apply to our current situation.
In times like these, having referees who can vouch for you and your abilities could add value to your job application.
Try to obtain a minimum of three professional references. These include your former supervisors, ex-colleagues or even your clients. These are the people who can verify your abilities and tell how you had performed in your previous roles.
You can put them directly on your résumé. Include your referee’s name, position, company, phone number and email address.
Be selective about who you will ask as a referee. Remember that you have to know your referees well enough and be sure they can give good feedback on your character, skills and abilities.
Recruitment has shifted online too as Hiring Managers and Recruiters are now spending more time on the Internet. Therefore, your online reputation has never been more important to your career than it is right now.
To improve your online presence, start by creating and/or enhancing your LinkedIn profile. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, most applicant screening will be conducted virtually online, and oftentimes, with the use of LinkedIn.
According to a study, 93% of recruiters are using LinkedIn to find their future employees and almost all use it to initially screen applicants. You can also establish connections with company representatives who have the power to give you a new job.
But before you begin networking and using LinkedIn in your job search, you should ensure you’re making a great first impression with a compelling and effective profile.
Once you have a profile you’re proud of, you can start using your LinkedIn’s networking power in your job search.
Extra tips and resources
- Are you changing careers (or worried that you’ll need to)? Read this guide on how to write a perfect career change résumé.
- Not sure about what to include on your résumé? How to format it? Whether to send it in PDF or MS Word? Check this article where we’ve dispelled some of the common résumé facts and myths.
- Are you currently affected by the COVID-19 pandemic? Click here to download our free resume template.
Click here for more job search tips and advice.