Conducting a job search in these uncertain times presents unique challenges. 

While some companies are laying off employees, other companies continue to hire.  Yes, several sectors have shut down, but there is still a need for essential supplies, medical and public workers, and other services.

Whether you’ve been furloughed, recently laid-off or in need of a career change, your goal is to remain an active job seeker.

According to a recent Glassdoor report, some of the most in-demand occupations during this outbreak are healthcare workers, data specialists, researchers and scientists, and communications specialists.  

Looking for a remote job? Flexjobs reports an uptick in postings for remote data entry, customer service, education and training, and writing positions. 

Even if hiring has slowed down in your chosen field, companies are still looking to bring on great talent to solve problems and navigate what will become the new normal. But less hiring does mean more competition. 

We all know keywords can take your résumé from “blah to brilliant”.  Keywords help recruiters recognize you as a good candidate for a specific job. But during these unchartered times be sure you take these extra steps to make your résumé stand out. 

Turn Your Employment Gap into a Gain

If you’re searching for a job due to an unexpected job loss or a potential layoff during the COVID-19 pandemic, then be completely honest. Employers are more understanding about unemployment due to layoff. 

You can minimize the gap by demonstrating how you used the time to volunteer for non-profit projects during this pandemic. You can even include this volunteer work under the work experience section to show you’ve remained proactive and engaged in activities to support your community. 

Or perhaps you’re using the time to gain new skills or earn additional certifications in your field.  Highlight these achievements in a special section above your work experience history.

Emphasize Your WFH Expertise

More companies are now moving into remote work. Companies are conducting virtual onboarding and training for new hires.  Even new employees that will ultimately be office based are beginning their new jobs as remote workers.

The use of various communication tools, such as Zoom, TeamViewer and Google Hangouts Meet, has become the norm in many current workplaces. So, it’s important to demonstrate your digital and technical skills in your résumé. For instance, if you have experience managing geographically dispersed team members, make sure to mention this as one of your skills. 

Need a remote refresher? Check out free online courses including MOOCs, EdX classes featuring free courses from MIT and Harvard, and free tutorials from G Suite Learning Center and  Microsoft Office Training Center.  

Include Good References 

We usually don’t recommend including references on your résumé. But this doesn’t necessarily apply to our current situation. In times like these, having references who can vouch for you and your abilities could add value to your job application, especially if you’ve been laid-off, and especially if the employer has an accelerated hiring process. 

You should have a minimum of three professional references. Include your former supervisors, ex-colleagues, or even your clients or vendors. These are the people who can verify your abilities and report how you had performed in your previous roles.

Take It from One to Two Pages 

Conventional practice suggests that a résumé be kept strictly to one page. However, these are unconventional times. Use a two-page résumé if you need the additional space to address work gaps, explain relevant experience and skills in greater detail, and to demonstrate transferrable skills if you’re changing careers. 

There’s no doubt that the weeks or months ahead will be challenging for anyone looking for employment.  By staying active, flexible and positive in your job search, you will greatly improve your chances of finding a job sooner. So, keep the momentum going and stay strong. 

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