Millions have filed for unemployment across the country as budgets have shrunk due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Nancy Spivey, career coach and the founder of Ready Set Resumes, calls this time an “employers market” due to the high number of job seekers right now.
“We are in an unprecedented time,” she said. “Be flexible. Things are not normal. We are in a new normal.”
Here are some tips Spivey has for job seekers during this time, from resume preparation to common interview questions.
Be open to pivoting
Due to the uncertain nature of the job market, it can mean that job seekers might have to adjust their expectations based on if their industry is thriving or stagnating.
“If you’re in an industry that has really taken a downturn, and there’s not a lot of hiring going on, and you still need to make a living. Maybe you really need a job right now, there are going to be people who have to consider taking a little shift right now until things turn around,” she said.
For those who work in a growing industry, Spivey recommends for them to stay the course and try to secure a position in their field.
Refresh your resume
Spivey said it’s always good to have your resume ready and stressed the importance of optimizing the document for applicant tracking systems.
“The companies that are busier hiring, they are going to rely more on computer technology software to identify resumes that are a fit,” she said.
Making sure your resume is on target is using keywords that match the job description, Spivey said.
Don’t worry about having a gap in employment, right now
Spivey said to remember that it’s not your fault if you’ve been laid off or let go from your job due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s not like you did anything wrong. It’s not like you aren’t a good employee. It’s just what’s happening,” she said.
She advises that job seekers, who are facing this reality, acknowledge that they were laid off if it comes up and to shift to expressing enthusiasm about the prospective role.
Prepare to answer these interview questions
Spivey said some of the questions that might come up during an interview right now are: “How do you feel about working remotely?” and “Are you willing to come into the office?”
When it comes to relocating for a job, Spivey said to be flexible if you are open to moving and to ask about the company’s plans around returning back to work.
She said to keep in mind common interview questions, such as “Tell me about yourself,” “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” and “What salary are you seeking?”
Networking is key
Being connected within your prospective industry is crucial right now, Spivey said. Networking is one of the main ways to get your job application seen, rather than just applying for the role.
She said to look into joining professional organizations, along with Facebook and LinkedIn groups pertaining to your industry to find opportunities to connect with others.
Consider hiring a career coach
Some of the ways that a career coach can be helpful during this time are to help people recognize their strengths, prepare for a job interview and to get assistance with resume writing, Spivey said.
Visit a virtual job fair
She said she’s seen virtual job fairs for companies in Atlanta, Georgia, regionally and nationwide and to check out sites, such as Eventbrite, CareerEco and Jobfairsin.com to find them.
Expect to have a chance to hear from representatives from companies at the job fair and potentially talk to them.