If the economic hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a layoff, furlough or loss of your current position, you can still keep moving forward to find employment. Here are some tips that could help you manage your job search in these uncertain times.
First and foremost, give yourself a break and realize that you are not responsible for your job loss. This is an unprecedented situation, one that will touch many lives, companies, and industries. Even though you cannot control the economy, you can position yourself well to weather what the future will bring if you are mindful and compassionate with yourself, and make a strong plan.
Begin by collecting unemployment benefits. To cope with the pandemic, the government recently announced that self-employed contract workers and gig workers may qualify for unemployment. So even if you’re not sure if you qualify, you can apply. If you contact your unemployment office in advance, just be patient since they are currently overwhelmed with inquiries and you may need to be persistent.
When thinking about your job search, define what you are seeking by creating short- and long-term goals. While a permanent position may be your long-term goal, there are other ways to earn income now. If you can be flexible, check out temporary remote jobs like contact tracking, working with the U.S. census, or delivery work. The Center for Career Development (CCD) is conducting virtual appointments through Handshake to discuss any aspects of your job search and career goals moving forward.
Make sure you update, retarget, and improve your resume. If you are an alum, you may make an appointment with a CCD member to have a virtual resume review. Log into Handshake to see available appointments. If you are a current student or young alum, you have access to VMock for up to 2 years after graduation. VMock is an online tool that helps improve your resume in seconds. Check out Resumes and Letters on the CCD website for more indepth information.
When thinking about your search, don’t forget networking! One advantage about being at home is that you probably have more time to network with people in your chosen field(s) and do informational interviews with people about their job, career path and/or organization. It’s usually easiest to begin networking with people you know: Your family, friends and former co-workers. You can also find networking opportunities on LinkedIn, the BU Career Advisory Network, and learn more on the CCD website.
Since most job applications these days are conducted online, the actual applying part of your search will probably not be much different than you expect. Use job boards like LinkedIn, Idealist, or Indeed to find potential roles. And of course, Handshake has thousands of active listings from organizations seeking BU talent.
Most companies who are still interviewing candidates will do so with virtual interviews. We suggest that you prepare for a virtual interview as if you are going to an in-person interview. Use Big Interview, a resource you’ll find on Handshake, to practice interview questions in advance and record your answers for feedback. Conduct research on the companies in advance; the more you know about the company, the more you will stand out from other candidates. And dress professionally! Business attire makes a difference in your attitude even in a virtual setting.
Lastly, use the time you have now to build some skills. Take online courses; many are available for free from Lynda, Udemy, Coursera, Skillshare, and more. BU is also offering summer classes online. You can volunteer to get relevant experience for your resume. And consider starting a project like a website, a podcast, or even a new business!
Though a job loss can feel like a setback, taking steps like those outlined above will give you the best chance of using it as a meaningful opportunity to invest in yourself and your future.