How to dive into the post-COVID job market?
Today's reality associated with the COVID-19 pandemic surprised everyone. Do you remember one of the most common and unjustified job interview questions “where do you see yourself in 5 years?”. Well, our current stage proves that such an approach towards recruitment was complete nonsense. That’s just clearly a specter of the past and we will need to break those old habits in order to succeed.
Until quite recently, we experienced a so-called employee market, which consisted in the fact that employers had to compete with each other and literally fight for candidates on different job markets. It was also a long time ago that people got work right after school and were stuck in it until the moment they decided to retire. Today's reality has nothing to do with either the first or the second example. Now what counts is agility, proactivity and awareness of your competencies allowing you to wisely approach new job opportunities on such a dynamically changing market.
Where to start?
Here, the answer is relatively simple, and one thing is certain - our reality has shifted towards the online world. From the moment we were locked up in our home prisons (#stayhome) all the activity of the outside world has perfectly found itself in the new online reality. So, if you want to know what is happening on the job market, there is no option to isolate yourself. Just start building your professional image online. Step by step. To begin with, let's look at all Facebook groups concerning HR as well as job opportunities. That’s the right place where you should find yourself if you are willing to be up to date with new recruitments, trends and forecasts for various industries. Also think about what you can do best, to what extent you have knowledge and where you could bring value by sharing it - this way you can start building the position of an expert and contributing to your personal branding. Of course, this requires a lot of work on your end, but if you forget to communicate what you are great at, then no one will just guess! So, join all online communities where you will be able to exchange experiences and broaden your horizons.
Which competencies matter?
It is said that the digital, e-commerce and IT industries today are least affected by the COVID-related situation. Why? I have my thoughts on this, which I will gladly share with you. Well, this is because work there is, in principle, strongly connected to the online world, aimed at achieving specific results and it operates in an agile model. Hence, employees who have been directed to a "forced work from home" scenario overnight, perfectly cope with this new situation, while maintaining continuity of work, because it’s virtual reality that is flourishing. Just because you are not a programmer or an expert on e-commerce platforms doesn’t mean that you won't find a job in one of these industries. Think about what competencies you have and how they could be useful to your future employer. In other words, rate what you can do really well and then verify job offers appearing on social media, job portals or career pages of individual companies. I also recommend that you contact recruiters who may possibly have an offer for you. However, remember one important thing - do not send a random resume to a recruiter without any information about what you are looking for, because it may be treated as spam. I often come across the fact that after accepting a LinkedIn invitation, I immediately receive a resume without any explanation and then I have completely no idea what to do with it - hence my advice that this is not necessarily a good approach.
Also, make sure to take a look and check for yourself if the industry in which you have worked so far is still publishing job offers. And don't wait. If you notice a job description that really interests you, apply immediately, remembering that you are not the only one looking for a a new opportunity so the sooner you apply, the better.
What about remote work?
Right, what about it? And here we enter my favorite subject, which opens up limitless opportunities. If you discover how to thrive in this intriguing ocean of various professional possibilities, you will honestly be amazed about how remote work can change your life for the better. To start with, if you have already done your homework consisting in assessing your competencies, you can start looking for remote work and… attention - if only you know English very well, the entire world is open to you. You can stay in a small house in the mountains surrounded by nature, while working for a company from Silicon Valley, that has a distributed team working in different parts of the world. Start by joining the freelance community - I recommend Upwork or Fiverr or Facebook groups, where you'll be able to find some nice offers to start with so that you can see if you like this model of work in the long run. But remember that it also requires a lot of patience and some things simply take time. Don’t give up after sending 5-10 queries but continue until the first offer of cooperation hits.
Creativity, proactivity and patience.
We can probably summarize this article with those three words. Try to look for opportunities that you have not thought about before. Don't be your biggest enemy saying, "I can't do it, I'm not good enough," but move on. Let me give you a final example - if you worked in the customer service field and you suddenly lost your job, start looking for virtual assistant positions or other remote job offers where only sky is the limit.
Don’t count on the fact that your new employer will simply somehow find you or guess that you may be looking for a job. Get outside of your comfort zone and fight for yourself, because if you don’t, then nobody else will.