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Tips for College Graduates Job Searching During Pandemic

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Graduating college and searching for your first job can be a daunting task.

Now add a global pandemic and an uncertain economy, and you’re in an unpleasant situation. It’s important for college graduates to remember companies are still hiring, but the process is a little untraditional for the time being. Here are 11 ways you can fully prepare yourself for the job hunt and hiring process during this unusual time.

Prepare to Work Remotely – The COVID-19 pandemic caused more companies to have employees work from home. You may already have a laptop and most of the equipment necessary from being in college. Just make sure you have a proper place to work since you can’t go to the library or coffee shop any more.

Strengthen Your Resume and Cover Letter – This is a no brainer for the job hunt, but make sure your resume and cover letter are squeaky clean. Take time to review everything and try to find ways to discuss how you are able to adapt, or work by yourself and a group. These are key items that companies are using to differentiate candidates right now. Also, take the time to tailor your resume and cover letter for each position and company you apply for. Hiring managers can differentiate between a resume and cover letter that is generic verses one that has created for that exact position. Making edits for every specific position shows that you are detail oriented as well as that you also actually care about the position.

Utilize Your Contacts –Take advantage of people you’ve met over the years, your professors, and even friends and family. Make sure to follow-up with them after you reach out because they may not be checking their email as rapidly while working remotely.

Get Online – Right now is the time to showcase your abilities online, no matter your profession. It’s important to be on all the proper networking websites, like LinkedIn, but think outside the box a little. Today’s businesses rely on the internet more than ever, so if you can illustrate to employers how you’re capable of utilizing it, then do so. Consider making a website or blog to display your past projects, make a video of you presenting experiments, or even demonstrate your abilities on your social media. After all, employer’s often research candidates online, so make it work their time. At the same time, make sure to clean up your social media sites, you will want to create a cohesive image of who you are. 

Check Out Virtual Networking – Several companies are now taking their networking opportunities online in order to meet candidates while social distancing. Do some research of companies, associations, and groups that host video networking, webinars, and chat sessions. While this won’t always get you face-to-face with people, it can provide you context to take advantage of when reaching out to professionals.

Remain Professional – With video interviews and phone calls it’s easy to forget you are actually in the run for a job. Make sure to always remain professional whenever you communicate with employers. Always dress for the part, even when you’re just on the phone. That means fully dressing in interview attire, head-to-toe, because you never know when you may have to get up during a camera interview. Also, remember that while you may be used to video calling with your friends and family, an interview is not the time to be too relaxed.

Always Opt for Video Calls – Not as many companies are conducting in-person interviews. Video conferencing can be daunting, and while making phone interview may seem more desirable, don’t let the fear get the best of you. Video calls are the only opportunity for companies to get to know candidates right now, so always take advantage of it.

Research is Even More Key – It’s always important to conduct some research before interviewing for a job, and that’s no exception during a global pandemic. Since you most likely won’t interview in person, you won’t be able to build rapport with an interviewer based on items in their office, or within the office building. Take the time to research both the company and the people with whom you are interviewing. Even doing a social media review can help you, as you might find something that you and your interviewer can connect on, like a sport team or hobby.

Practice, Practice, Practice – Always take time to practice, especially if you are not familiar with phone or video interviews. Ask someone to do a mock phone interview, or video call with you, since there’s a high likelihood you’ll have to partake in a digital interview. This allows you time to refine your speaking skills, to make sure all of your technology and equipment is working properly, and even the ability to gain confidence in verbalizing your abilities.

Search for Jobs Everywhere – A global pandemic is not the time to leave any stone unturned for potential jobs. Look at every website possible, including both career sites and actual company sites. Many companies are delaying posting potential jobs, so make sure to check for updates, even multiple times a day. This is also the time to consider where potential jobs could be outside your typical career field. After all, factories need accountants, technology companies need project managers, and (Maybe not mention funeral home advertising during a pandemic). There’s a chance your dream, first job is out there, just maybe not with the company you always envisioned.

Stay Positive – It can be easy to get discouraged when it’s difficult to find a job. So many companies are limiting their hiring or slowing their entire process. That makes it especially important for you to remain positive in yourself, your abilities, and your future. Make sure to take time for yourself during this time in order to keep yourself both mentally and emotionally strong. Your first job is out there and someone will hire you, you may just have to think about things differently.

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