COVID-19: Your Guide to Job Hunting

Crack the code to job hunting at this time of social distancing.
Sarah Si
Sarah Si
Editor, gradsingapore
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COVID-19 has hit the job economy hard. Really hard. Companies had to get creative in order to stay afloat in 2020, and their difficulties haven’t abated with the coming of the new year.

If the hiring landscape looks like a desolate wasteland straight out of your worst (hiring) nightmare, you’re not alone. No one could have predicted what was going to happen – before COVID-19 swept everything away over the past year, a survey done in 2019 had even forecast 2020 as “upbeat”!

Terms like “Circuit Breaker” and “Heightened Measures” have become familiar, and stringent measures mean that a new normal has come about. But even though everything has taken on a tinge of otherworldliness (and pre-COVID times are looked back upon with fond nostalgia), the need to job hunt and land a stable role has remained – with certain new elements, like video interviews.

But no matter the reason you’re job hunting, the fact that you’re doing so means that there’s a glimmer of hope at the end of this tunnel finding-a-job-wise, though the going will definitely be tough.

So remember: Tough times don’t last. Tough grads do.

Don’t stop applying

Even if you don’t hear back from firms you’ve applied to, keep your momentum going and continue to send in applications.

It’s tiring and hard to keep your spirits up when it seems like you’re sending out countless applications, and companies don’t seem to be acknowledging your efforts. So, don’t hesitate to pat yourself on the back! Set a daily goal and reward yourself whenever you reach it, whether with your favourite coffee in your favourite mug, or sitting down to replay the Final Fantasy 7 remake.

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Be patient

Interview processes are long and tedious enough as they are, but add in social distancing and new measures, and you have a whole different ball game. Keep in mind that most company hiring procedures were not designed to be remote, and although parts of the process have been updated to keep with the times, there are still logistics to be addressed.

This “wait and see” mode you’re forced to take up can be stressful, especially when your anxiety levels are close to bursting through the roof. But remember, even without these new processes, job searches already require a lot of waiting. So, take note not to pressure yourself and keep in mind that all this isn’t your fault because you think you sent in a bad resume – you followed resume tips to the letter.

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Polish your resume and cover letter

It’s generally understood that a resume can make or break your chance to get invited to a job interview. The thing is, employers go through hundreds of resumes and applications a day, so you need to make your resume and cover letter stand out.

To start, make your resume and cover letter look professional. Then, tailor them to every employer you apply to. Matching your skills to job descriptions in order to impress recruiters is especially crucial right now, so make sure you send the best versions of your resume out to employers you’re interested in!

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Prepare for video interviews

It’s easy to think that preparing for video interviews is similar to getting ready for a face-to-face one. While that does hold some truth, there are added factors that you need to consider in video interviews.

There’s a new dimension, for one thing. For instance, in physical interviews, the setting and environment is dependent on the company and even the room you’re doing your interview in. In video interviews, however, you have to create the visual environment along with the recruiter on the other side. Good visual presentation (like your background and angle of the camera) will earn you brownie points, and the opposite will detract from your efforts!

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Get creative

Take stock of all your skills and then look for opportunities wherever they may be. They don’t even have to be in your area of study! Although it might not be ideal for you in the present time, when the job market has recovered and you can move into your preferred sector, employers will be impressed by your experience, resilience and ability to leverage on your top skills in a different environment.

Don’t disregard graduate internship opportunities or traineeships either. Show that you’re willing to work hard and see if you can approach your manager to convert you to a full-time employee when the chance arises.

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It’s easy to get very frazzled, very fast, as you begin your career journey in this environment of uncertainty. But just stay realistic in your expectations and focus on yourself and what you can do. It’s true that job hunting has changed over the past year, but what hasn’t changed is your drive to find your dream job. The journey might be longer and more tedious, but there’s still light at the end of the tunnel; you just have to find it.