I have been having career coaching sessions with clients during the last 10 weeks of lockdown and conversations have become more related to finding jobs and job applications rather than wider career development. The good news is that people are finding jobs, with 80% of my clients finding jobs within this time. Nevertheless, I thought it might be useful as we start returning to work to give some career advice during Covid-19.
Career concerns during Covid-19
The biggest difference we’re seeing from a career perspective is the number of people working from home and flexible working options. Obviously there are some people working face to face – NHS staff, retail staff, teachers, to name but a few.
Indeed.com has done a survey asking people about their top concerns during this pandemic. In it, they found that the top concern related to COVID-19 was spreading COVID-19 in the workplace (25%), but others included:
- Taking a financial hit (24%)
- Contracting COVID-19 in the workplace (23%)
- Losing my job (22%)
- Maintaining my mental health (20%)
Job loss during Covid-19
If you have lost your job make sure that you are receiving the benefits available to you. Then my advice would be the same as it is at any other time:
- Look for jobs using online jobs boards such as indeed.com and recruitment agents – find out who is hiring now
- Use your network – LinkedIn is a great place to start but as we choose right now who and where to spend our energy you can use any method available to you but obviously staying safe.
- Tailor your applications
Even before this pandemic, these are actions we took remotely in most cases so no major changes there.
General career advice during Covid-19
There are a couple of other things to remember:
Patience is key. To be honest, it’s always been the key but now it’s even more important as decisions take longer as HR and recruitment agencies negotiate working from home themselves. It’s OK to follow up with a polite enquiry but the response might take a little longer. There may be cancellations or delays in starting a new role, again, this is time to show understanding and grace and remind the employer you are still keen to work for them.
Your interview may move online. It could be a pre-recorded interview where you answer questions, you may have questions provided for you to record and send, or in the later stages, it might be a live interview. If you haven’t had an online interview before then it can feel a bit weird at first but I would advise preparing as you would normally – practising questions, using the STAR technique (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to describe your answers and dressing appropriately. Consider your body language, your background, and any other people/pets in the house. You can find out more about online interviews here.
Remember your values. When looking for a new role make sure it fits with your values and it meets your criteria in terms of what you enjoy and your skillset.
Looking after yourself
Your mental wellbeing is always important but this is even more true right now. If you are job searching now (or in the future) my advice would be to look for no more than an hour (or two absolutely max) – you will see all the jobs you need in that time, especially if you use the filters effectively. I would encourage you to take some time away from job searching and do something that refills your cup.