Your job search has got COVID-19 and social distancing has become the norm. Numerous companies have ceased operations and others have cut back staff. Layoffs are rampant and thousands of people have been added to the talent pool and are actively searching for new employment opportunities.
Although it may seem tempting to “hunker down” and put your quest on hold – don’t do it! COVID-19 will eventually be brought under control however, most experts predict that things will not return to the way they were and that there will be fundamental changes in society and the economy. It is reasonable to expect a surge as pent-up demand for goods and services hit markets. Consumers will carry over some of their adaptive practices moving forward – they will change the way they have done things in the past. Many organizations will alter their business models. New businesses will emerge and others disappear.
In order to be prepared you need to ensure that your resume and LinkedIn profile are compelling. They are your print and digital ads. They create an impression before a single word is read – they must be visually appealing. Your “Personal Value Proposition” (Brand Statement) needs to capture the attention of the reader and give them reason to continue since research indicates resumes are read for 7 seconds otherwise. Ensure that it invites questions for further exploration – “How did she increase sales 20% year-over-year?”. Research by LinkedIn indicates that pictures are critical. Your photograph should be of your head and shoulders only, against a plain background with no distractions. Ensure that your dress is situation-specific. For men – open collar shirts for start-ups – ties for banks. For women – open collar blouse or shirt for start-up – buttoned bouse or collar shirt and dark jacket for banks. Be sure to smile. You can get your picture “rated” on www.photofeeler.com
Networking is the key element in any job search because 80% of jobs that are filled never see the light of day, as a result you should focus on improving your networking skills. Continue sending out your emails. Ask for a “virtual meeting”. Ensure that you have a selection of software; Skype, Facetime, Zoom, etc. to accommodate what they use. Test out your camera and microphone. Make sure that the image and sound are clear. You may want to invest in a better-quality camera and microphone. Ensure that your camera is at eye level – use books to raise the level of your laptop as necessary. Do not put your laptop directly on your desk – you do not want them looking up your nose. Ensure that your image is centred, clear and ideally head and shoulders only.
Watch Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are”. Take Amy’s advice and do your Power Poses before the meeting.
If you are having the conversation by phone decide if you want to use headphones or earbuds and make sure they are working properly. Do not use a speaker-phone. Ensure that you have a strong signal and don’t wander too far from the signal in case you lose it. Some people find that standing or even walking around while on the phone allows them to project more energy and animation.
For a virtual meeting, find a quiet place where there will not be any distracting background noise and visuals. Impressions are formed in 30 seconds – make sure you create the right impression. Dress appropriately – you can wear your pajama bottoms or jeans since they will not be seen.
Research conducted by a psychologist indicated that only 7% of communication is the words themselves; 38% of communication is para-verbal or related to tone and intonation and 55% is non-verbal (body language). Sit with a straight back and lean slightly forward (10 degrees). Establish and maintain eye contact with the other person. A trick is to move your gaze around their face moving from their eyebrows, nose, lips, and chin – they will not be able to tell that you are not looking into their eyes. Smile. Do not get your hands in the picture – it will be distracting to the person with whom you are speaking. Pause for 5 seconds before you begin to answer a question to ensure that the question has been completed and to gather your thoughts. Nod vertically or tilt your head to one side – it shows that you are listening. Speak slowly – give the listener time to absorb what you have said watch Barak Obama. Vary your tone and pace of delivery.
Make sure that you send a “thank you” note – immediately is best – within 24 hours at worst.
Life goes on – make sure that your networking campaign does as well.