Everything is different in the era of COVID-19, including landing a job. Fortunately, every aspect of your job search - from making new connections, to applying and interviewing - can be done completely remotely.
Here’s our expert advice on continuing your job search and nailing the interview, all from your couch.
Build Your Professional Network, Remotely
If you’re on the job hunt but confined to your house, it’s tempting to invest all of your time into job applications. But building your professional network is equally important, and you don’t need to wait for the next Young Professionals happy hour. Here are a few things you can do to progress your career, even when you can’t attend local events.
Engage with online networking groups.
It’s easy to say you’re going to start networking, request to join one Facebook group, and call it a day. That won’t help you learn from others, and it’s very unlikely to get you a job. Hold yourself accountable by setting a goal, and join a new Facebook or LinkedIn group every week. Then stay active: reserve time every day to browse through posts, comment, and share articles with a discussion question.
Reach out to industry pros.
You might be stuck at home with some time on your hands, but so are many others in your field. You’ve got a unique opportunity to make new connections.
Reach out to industry professionals through LinkedIn or their work email (if it’s public - let’s not get creepy). Be honest about where you are in your career growth, and ask for an informational interview. As long as you’re professional and only reach out once, you won’t run the risk of bugging anyone.
Learn some new skills.
If you find yourself with some downtime, you can put it to use by learning a new skill that gives you a competitive edge in the job market. Have you been contemplating a career in digital marketing? Start that Google Analytics certification. Are you an Excel nerd looking to get promoted to Senior Data Analyst? Learn SQL.
Write a clear LinkedIn headline.
Your social media presence becomes more important when employers forego in-person meetings and rely on your virtual persona. LinkedIn is the most valuable platform for your job hunt, and your headline is the best shot you have at getting views from recruiters.
Even if you’re not currently employed, define your career goal in a few words. Some choose to be catchy or clever, but you don’t have to get too creative to communicate your expertise. If you’re out of work but still volunteering, learning, or collaborating in an industry group, add it to your profile.
Prep for A Successful Video Interview
The good news: you really can demonstrate your unique value, from your UX design skills to quirky sense of humor, through virtual platforms. And instead of fighting traffic and finding a parking spot, you can spend some extra time on the important stuff (like practicing your interview responses).
But there will be some challenges, and we want you to prepare for them upfront rather than finding out one minute into your interview that your mic doesn’t work. Here are the extra steps you need to take to display your absolute best self during your video interview.
Do a test run.
Sit down where you plan to take the interview, open up your laptop camera and check out the view. You may realize you need to raise the screen for a better angle or grab a sweatshirt off the couch. It sounds minor, but when you’re making a first impression remotely, the little things do make a difference.
While you’re at it, make a quick video call to your best friend or your mom to make sure your sound and visuals are clear on their end.
Prepare just as much as you would for an in-person meeting.
A remote interview is just as in-depth as it would be in person. Your potential employer still needs to learn a lot about your experience, skills, work style and personality. So block off a full hour, read up on the company, and outline the key points you want to highlight in your conversation. Keep physical notes in front of you so you don’t have to worry about opening a new window during your interview.
Give yourself decent lighting.
Your light source can seriously impact the quality of your interview. Too much light behind you and you’re a silhouette; a harsh glare from the side could give you more of a horror movie villain look than you were going for. Experiment with different lighting situations before the call so your future boss is focusing on what you have to say, not how you look when you’re saying it.
Look at your audience.
Eye contact is always important during an interview: it communicates confidence and honesty. That’s just as true when you’re talking to a laptop.
Most video conferencing software allows you to see yourself as you speak. It’s natural to glance at your own face on occasion, but try to make eye contact (virtually) as much as possible. If it feels distracting to see yourself as you talk, hide your own screen from view so all you can see is the person you’re talking to.
Wear headphones to fend off distractions.
Headphones usually make it easier to hear your interviewer, minimize background noise and even help you focus. If you’re concerned about a roommate washing dishes in the background or the dog tapping past the door, wear some earbuds in preparation. Airpods or fancy noise-cancelling varieties will definitely do the trick, but a pair of basic earbuds are just fine too.
When you go into a conference room for an in-person interview, distractions are already at a minimum. You’ve turned off your phone and the only two people at the table are you and your potential employer. Not so when you’re interviewing online.
Silence notifications and close out other browser windows before the interview. All it takes is one new message in your Gmail to derail your thought process right at the moment when you’re trying to impress.
Figure out what you’re wearing.
If you look professional, you’ll feel professional. Wear the clothes that make you feel confident and look the part, even if you’ll only be seen from the shoulders up.
Ask for feedback.
Have a nagging feeling that your first couple of video interviews didn’t go so great? If you get rejected, as just about every job seeker does, ask for some honest feedback. Maybe your enthusiasm didn’t come across, or you just didn’t have the exact experience they were looking for - either way, you’ll get peace of mind and be in a better position to ace the next video interview.
29 Tech Companies That Are Hiring Right Now
Even during this tumultuous economic environment, there are plenty of bright spots. Social media, finance, virtual project management, online shopping and meditation apps are all thriving. Browse the following list of tech companies that are hiring right now.
15. Home Advisor
24. Survey Monkey
25. Tik Tok
27. Uber Eats
Keep Learning: Online Resources to Improve Your Tech Skills
Here are a few virtual resources to keep you active in the professional community.
Online tech events:
Virtual job fairs:
These are great resources to try out a new skill. But if you’re ready to commit to a career, take a structured, online course in your chosen field. You’ll make the most of your time now, and set yourself up for a stable career in the near future.
If your employment has been affected by COVID-19, we’ve made it easier than ever to launch a career in tech - and you don’t have to pay us until you’ve landed a job.
Keep Working Toward Your Goal
Your job search can be just as effective, even when everything’s happening through Zoom calls and emails. And since remote jobs are on the rise, this crash-course in video conferencing and virtual communication will come in handy long-term.
How’s your remote job search going? Tweet your surprise successes or biggest learning curves to @thinkful on Twitter.
Photo courtesy of Unsplashed.