In these uncertain times, it is beneficial to focus on the things you can control and prepare for opportunities when they do arise. You might be interested in pursuing a role in an alternate industry, advancing your career to the next step, or considering returning to work after determining that retirement isn’t for you. Now is the time to identify your target, built out your career documents, and prepare for the interview process so that when that opportunity arises, you are ready to submit. In times of higher unemployment rates, competition is tight, therefore it is critical to set yourself apart. This event will expedite the transition to virtual interviewing. Do your homework now to be ready when it happens. Have you participated within a virtual interview previously?
5 steps to help regain control and move forward beyond the virus:
1) Reflection & Reset Goals – Use this time to reset and take a moment to reflect on your career thus far. Do you wish to stay within the same industry? Would you like to secure an additional certification or pursue the MBA you have considered multiple times? Is it time to take the leap to a leadership role? Conduct a search via Indeed or LinkedIn Jobs, don’t worry about being regionally perfect. Search for positions you are excited about. This strategy will help you focus on the role and type of organization you are pursuing.
2) Documents – Once you know your target the next step is to have your resume, LinkedIn profile, and cover letter prepared for submissions. Take the time to record your significant achievements within each role focusing on the past 10-years. Pull presentations and evaluations to reference quantifiable facts. Update your LinkedIn profile to drive the recruiters and hiring managers toward your profile for the positions that haven’t been posted yet.
3) Virtual Interview Preparation – Corporations will be relying on virtual interviewing. Test the software that you will be utilizing for the interview in addition to your Internet connectivity and laptop camera / microphone. The primary applications used include WebEx, Skype, or Zoom. Make sure your environment is as quiet as possible. Consider what will be your background (nothing distracting). The lighting should be natural if possible. Conduct a mock interview with someone to test the audio, lighting, and camera to avoid any last minute technical issues.
4) Virtual Interview Tips – You should dress as you would for a traditional interview in person. Complete your pre-interview research and prepare responses to potential interview questions. You can find sample questions at www.premierprofessionalresumes.com/interview-questions. Place your resume in front of you for reference during the call. Send a thank you note email to each person who participates within the interview in 24 hours.
5) Tracking – Create a system to track your submissions and interviews. I highly recommend customizing the resume and cover letter toward your individual submissions to maximize your keyword hits and ranking in the scanning systems. It will be beneficial to save the posting / job description and the related documents you submitted for reference once the interview process starts. Make notes once the interview is over to utilize in the next interview or within the thank you note.
The goal is to be prepared. After a period of retraction there is tremendous growth. Don’t wait and miss out. Take the time now to determine that types of positions you wish to target. Your resume and LinkedIn profile need to be designed toward those roles. Large corporations are still hiring especially in the areas that are under intense pressure in response to the #coronavirus. Try to stay positive and look toward the future when this crisis is over and a new chapter in your career can begin.