Practical advice for graduates looking for jobs in the era of coronavirus

⏳4:45 minute read

There’s a secret strategy you can use that works almost every time.


Published on May 22, 2020

by Kass Monzon

An Animal Crossing Graduation. Image by Matt DiSanto from Onward State 

The job market for recent graduates does not look promising at this moment, what with several thousand layoffs and business closures happening worldwide. In situations like this, a pivot in job searching strategy is crucial to help you land your first job in no time.

You might have had to send out hundreds of resumes to different companies only to never hear back from any of them. The truth is, you are not alone and the majority of recent graduates have had this kind of experience, no matter the season.

Some might argue that job application is a numbers game: the more you submit, the higher the chances of getting called back. Wrong. Today’s digital landscape enables us to make more informed decisions about our career and even though we’re in the middle of an economic meltdown, it’s still important to make the right career decisions. We’re here to list down some practical ways to stay ahead of the curve – with a bonus strategy that almost always works!

#1 – Learn something new

As our economy restarts, hiring trends will shift its focus to more digital talents and the expectations on job skills will also be higher. Don’t be surprised if your potential employer asks, “What did you do differently while in quarantine?” because it’s becoming increasingly important for managers to hire a person who is personally driven to succeed as this will translate into higher productivity at work.

Learning is a lifelong process but it doesn’t have to feel forced. If the isolation is taking its toll on you, take it easy and start small. You can get started by listening to podcasts about things you’re passionate about or interested to explore. Alternatively, you can also dabble on some bite-sized learning through online learning platforms that are generally free like Coursera, edX or LinkedIn Learning.

#2 – Create a LinkedIn profile (Advice from a LinkedIn alum)

If you have been putting off the creation of your LinkedIn profile, do it now. There’s really no other way to “research” about you right now but through your online presence so better make it count.

A few tips in updating your LinkedIn profile:

  • Use a professional-looking photo (don’t use your graduation photo)
  • Write a short introduction about yourself: Highlight your achievements, internships and school organization involvement – incorporate some fun by sharing a trivia about yourself
  • List down your internship, part-time job or business in the experience section
  • Include your volunteer experience, certifications, and other accomplishments

#3 – Clean up your social media accounts

Do recruiters check your social media profiles? Yes. So make it count. First impressions are now based on your virtual presence so it’s best to keep it clean. Here is a bit of amazing advice to clean up your social media (hint: first, make it private).

#4 – Get comfortable with phone calls 

Get over your fear of answering a phone call. In most cases, recruiters try to save time in qualifying a candidate so an initial pre-qualifying interview will be made through a phone call. To avoid being caught off guard, practice getting comfortable with it. 

If you’ve sent out applications, be prepared to receive a call at any time of the day. So, the best way to prepare is to get a friend or family member to call you a few times on different days and practice your answer to the question “Tell me about yourself,” so when that dreaded phone call comes, you’re prepared! 

#5 – Practice video interview 

COVID-19 has forever changed the way we communicate and with social distancing being the new normal for the foreseeable future, video interviews will take center stage. Facetime may be something that you are comfortable with, but video interviews require a good amount of preparation to make sure that you impress the interviewer on the other screen. 

To prepare, ask a friend or family member to rehearse with you. Use this guide to the commonly asked questions during an interview to prepare yourself ahead of time. 

#6 – Network like you’re paid to do it

Networking is such a scary word for someone who just graduated from college. But the truth is, more companies are relying on referrals to get the best talent. So, if you’re serious about making your job search successful, find your way in through networking.

Treat networking as if you’re trying to make friends with someone, only this time it’s over the internet. You don’t have to ask for a job straight away. Do your homework and research the person you’re reaching out to and start your message by talking about a common interest and ask if there’s anything in the company that you might be able to offer your help with and take it from there. 

Considering we’re all stuck at home, your chances of getting a response from someone are higher because we’re all looking for some form of socialization in this unique situation.

💎 The secret? Find hidden gem companies. 💎

Finding a job in the middle of a global pandemic requires more creativity. The good news is, a lot of companies are still hiring. But with hundreds of applications floating about, you really need to stand out. Think about being a big fish in a small pond.

Luckily, we have a proven method that allows you to cut through the noise. Find companies that are less marketed but with equally great experiences. Having a job in a big multinational company or a conglomerate is ideal but if you really want to outsmart your fellow job seekers, you need to change strategy. 

If you take the time to research certain industries that are thriving right now, you will uncover a great number of companies that are hiring massively. The categories range from well-funded startups to multinational companies that you never knew operated in your country. These companies need talented people like you and you can start your research by checking out these companies that have amazing benefits and outstanding culture. 

You’re welcome. Stay woke.

If you have a success story to share, email us at [email protected] 

Kass Monzon

Kass is the co-founder at Workbean. She’s obsessed about finding happiness at work and helping organizations understand their people better. She will never be seen without coffee in her hand.

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