Here's What You Need to Know If You're on the Post-Pandemic Job Hunt
The most recent jobs report shows that the workforce may be on the rebound as industries most impacted by the pandemic, such as travel and leisure, begin rehiring and reopening. As many people prepare to return to the workforce or continue their job searches, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Earlier this year, my Fairygodboss co-founder and I mentored six women who had lost their jobs during the pandemic. We wanted to help them find new roles that they'd love. Throughout this process, we learned a lot about what the current job landscape looks like and the biggest barriers standing in the way of individuals on the job hunt.
Here are a few things to keep in mind; hopefully, they'll help you land the job.
1. Confidence is key
Throughout our mentorship sessions, participants proved over and over again how highly qualified they were and how much experience they brought to the table, yet talking about those achievements was really difficult for them. For anyone who lost a job during the pandemic or was forced to leave the workforce because of competing responsibilities or for personal reasons, self-esteem often takes a huge blow, and it can be very difficult to regain confidence, especially if you’ve been out of the workforce for a while.
Find friends, relatives, old co-workers, mentors or other individuals who know you well and ask three of them what your best qualities are (either professionally or personally). Once you have those answers, write them down, repeat them to yourself and make sure they shine through on your resume. Sometimes we let self-doubt talk us out of bragging about our achievements and good qualities, so hearing it from other people can really help improve your self-esteem.
Next, practice bragging. If you don’t do it often, it can feel uncomfortable at first, but the more you get used to talking about your accomplishments, the easier it will be to do so in a nerve-wracking situation, such as an interview. Too often we stand in the way of our own successes, so learning to be confident may just be the key to landing your new job.
2. Focus on where you’re going, not where you came from
The most common issue we see on most resumes is that the emphasis remains on the responsibilities the individuals had at previous jobs, and their resumes don't clearly highlight the skills they’ll bring to the role they’re applying for. This is especially damaging for individuals who are trying to change careers or industries, as many are right now, because it provides recruiters with an easy out to reject you for a role.
Resumes should focus on the impact you had in your previous roles and the skills you utilized and learned to make that impact, which should all relate to the role you’re going after. In practice, if you’re moving from a sales to a technology role, a recruiter cares more about how you exceeded your quota and the skills you used to do it, rather than the actual numbers or specific sales tactics.
This mentality also applies to how you talk to recruiters during interviews. It’s understandable after the past year that many job seekers feel discouraged, particularly those who may have been furloughed or lost a job for the first time in their careers. But recruiters are more understanding than you think. They’re less concerned about why you were furloughed during a global pandemic and more concerned with what you’re going to bring to their company.
3. Take time to do your research
As many companies begin returning to “normal” operating rhythms, make sure you’re applying to companies that align with your values and preferences. If you were working from home full-time and don’t want to go back to an office, look for companies that offer flex and remote-work options. Or if you’re a working parent, it might be important that you find a company that offers childcare or homeschool assistance. Many companies are updating their workplace policies, so find out as much as you can about their “return” plans so you know what to expect.
With many companies ramping up hiring and looking to fill new roles, you have the benefit of choice and should use that to your advantage to find a company that you’ll love working for.