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How To Find A Job In A Global Pandemic

It's not easy, but it's also not impossible.

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Sarah Rogers
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I promise not to say unprecedented because, honestly, we’ve all heard that enough lately. But, I won’t act like our current situations are not completely unexpected and absolutely surreal. Just a few weeks ago, no one thought we would be at this point, sheltered in place, learning and working online, and missing all of the much-anticipated spring traditions and activities. But, here we are. Thank goodness there will be a time, relatively soon, that we’ll return to normal activities, and getting together with family and loved ones will be that much sweeter.

While our current situation is only temporary, the lasting economic and social effects of this time are to be determined, but sure to be felt.

Maybe you already were looking for work before all this went down, or maybe the pandemic thrust you into a job search. Maybe you’re someone who was expecting a (relatively) smooth job search, and you’re uncertain as to how that will look now. Either way, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we operate, at least for the time being.

In terms of job searching in this moment, there is no one magic thing that will help you land the opportunity (just as with any other job search). But, now more than ever you can focus on the things you can control, work on increasing your professional network, and pay attention to the industries that presently are flourishing to meet public demand. You’re going to want to go where the work is.

As a career adviser, I’m offering you encouragement and these tips for your job search.

Maintain persistence and fortitude in your search. A job search at any time requires faith and persistence, and now more than ever. Resiliency and creativity go a long way. Look for opportunities that will emerge by focusing on high-demand industries. LinkedIn is doing a wonderful job of frequently curating industries and companies that are continuing to hire and are in demand.

When it comes to networking right now, still do it! Remember, though, that we are all going through a sudden change and even those employed may not know the status or future of their organization. When reaching out to your contacts, take some time to first simply check in with them about how they’re doing. Acknowledge that this is probably a hard time for them, and you. Networking is still important, and it’s one of those things in your search that you can control. There may not be a slew of jobs open, so taking the time to maintain and establish connections now can pay dividends in the future.

Make a schedule. It’s so simple, and seems like a silly thing to recommend. But, as most of us are working and/or learning from home, a schedule is so important. Days run together and, honestly, you may lose track of what day it actually is. Get out “ye old paper planner,” or revisit your email calendar, to literally schedule time to work on job search stuff. It’ll give you much-needed structure in a time when things are blurred together.

Lean on your supports. Who are your cheerleaders? Who can help give you practical advice and resources? Take stock of your helpers and reach out to them for support. Family, friends and already-established professional contacts may offer you help.

Give yourself some grace. These are surely challenging times, and it’s counterproductive to be really down on yourself. No one expected or planned on a global pandemic, and we’re all doing the best we can right now. One day things will return to normal, but in the meantime take care of yourself and do the best you can.

Becca Shelton is a career adviser at the University of Richmond who assists experienced professionals in their career advancement.