We are all aware that it isn't business as usual these days and as BC Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says, "This isn't forever, it's just for now." So, although we don't know how long we will be adapting through the pandemic, there are jobs that need to be done during this time and although it may be a bit more challenging to find good jobs, be resilient, adaptable and open. As non-essential businesses and services continue to re-open, more and more opportunities will emerge. Here are a few actions to take to help you work toward your employment goals.
Inventory your assets
Take this time to clearly reflect upon and inventory all of your skills and abilities. With your inventory, be sure to provide evidence or proof of your skills in simple, measurable statements. An increasing number of jobs are performed in a virtual manner — a realm with which you, as an online learner, are very familiar. These newfound skills are valuable in an online work environment.
Adapt your expectations
This may be the time to look at different roles or industries than you originally planned or even trained for. You might be surprised at the new skills you could build that are highly sought after by employers across all industries. Consider multiple streams of income, project work or less than full-time work to get started. As the economy improves, you may be in a position to work and contribute more.
Some employers are eager to hire new employees to keep up with the new demand the pandemic has created and as provinces continue to re-open, we will see more and more services emerge that may require employees. Some essential services such as pharmacies, grocery stores, parcel delivery and food delivery have increased recruitment. This is in addition to online companies, tech companies and companies that support remote work capabilities and are uniquely set up to succeed in today's virtual work environments. Check LinkedIn, Glassdoor, JobBank and go2HR or other job boards regularly for opportunities and even network leads (see links below).
Create or update your LinkedIn profile, and polish up your social media presence, such as Instagram, Twitter and Ten Thousand Coffees, to connect with employers or learn more about opportunities. Read up on the latest trends and changes, as there is lots of free, useful job information available on the LinkedIn and Glassdoor platforms. Be kind, be courteous and be safe, and be mindful that everybody has different stressors, responsibilities and demands, so be sure to respect everybody's time and boundaries.
Apply, apply, apply!
According to Wayne Gretzky, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." So, if you don't apply for the job, what are the chances you will get it? Obviously, think critically about opportunities you find online and if it seems too good to be true it likely is. Read the CareerVIU Job Search Safety post to brush up your critical thinking skills.
Tailor your resumé, cover letters
Before you apply, remember that it is good practice to draft individualized resumés and specific cover letters for each position, as the skills and experience employers are looking for are often very different. Need some help? Sign up for the Centre for Experiential Learning's Resumé and Cover Letter Workshop. Email email@example.com with your full name and student number to be enrolled in this self-paced course.
Keep copies of all your resumés and cover letters, the date when you applied and the results of those applications, as this will help you to be prepared when you do land that interview. Record all the network leads you have, with dates, contact information and notes from the interactions. Keeping track of your search shows you all that you have accomplished and it helps you change course if you need to. All these steps will prove invaluable when you interview. Once you have applied for a position, we recommend that you follow up within two weeks. You can write a follow-up email directly to the hiring manager and use the opportunity to confirm your interest. Be brief, clear and reinforce your enthusiasm for the role.
It is likely that many employers are going to engage in virtual interviews, either over the phone, Zoom, FaceTime or Skype. Now is the time to practice your virtual interview skills with a friend or family member. Learn about the various online platforms and be sure you've downloaded them and are familiar with them. Send a family member some possible interview questions and practice, practice, practice.
These are challenging times for everyone, and we are all adapting to new work realities. We may never completely return to doing things the way we did them pre-COVID-19, so for those who are positive, adaptable, resilient and optimistic, there are many future opportunities that will emerge. Make the most of these days and prepare for a brighter future.
The Centre for Experiential Learning (CEL) offers courses that contribute to academic success. These courses help students within co-operative education and internship programs find work experience within their fields of study.
Learn more about job hunting from VIU