Hunting for a new job during the Covid-19 pandemic may seem like a challenging task. However, with 2020 behind us, the job market appears to be opening up rapidly, and recruitments are working at full-speed again. Only utilizing traditional job-hunting skills will not help you get noticed by a recruiter. Always remember recruiters and hiring managers have to shuffle through each job application personally, often with some help of AI nowadays. Keeping your resume fresh and easy to read is bound to get you noticed quicker than other candidates and/or picked-up by recruitment tools.
Most of us have found ourselves face-to-face with hiring managers and recruiters. While it is crucial to meet someone personally, recruiters have become innovative and had to embrace new technology quite rapidly.
Online platforms like Skype, Google Meet, Zoom, and even Facetime and WhatsApp Video are used to conduct interviews and get acquainted with candidates. However, numerous companies still conduct screening and personalized interviews to source the best fit for their jobs. While the recruitment method has changed over the past year, the hiring process has remained somewhat the same.
Please be extremely cautious about sending the correct resume + cover letter to the right company. Many worthy candidates lose out on jobs because they do not check what they are sending out versus the company receiving. Do double check before you hit click ‘Send.’
What are Common Hiring Steps during Covid-19?
Common hiring steps are uniform across all job posts. A well-written resume and cover letter are two documents that are essential requirements for each job, irrespective of the industry. Almost all companies have a multi-step process that helps filter the responses to each job. If the company is large and well known, some hiring managers may face hundreds of resumes for one job application. At such times, recruiters use a screening process to decline invalid candidates. As a job seeker, you should ensure your profile is a perfect fit for the advertised job.
Another common hiring step during the Covid-19 pandemic is ensuring that candidates take an online skills test. Only candidates who are a good fit for the knowledge, experience, and skills level move onwards to the next step in the process.
Online tests are usually knowledge domain-based, depending on the role offered. They are quick ways for recruiters to test the candidates before looking at their resumes or cover letters. Since the online test is an automated process, companies save a lot of time and money in personal interviews by declining nearly 70% of applications.
How to Attract the Attention of the Recruiter?
Attracting the attention of the recruiter should be done in several ways. You can keep the interest of the interviewer without losing out on all the essential aspects of your education and experience.
Gain New Skills:
Interviewers like people who are positive-minded. Since the global pandemic was announced by the WHO (World Health Organization), everyone had to stay and work from home in 2020. Many candidates were disheartened and lost hope during the lockdown due to the changing market conditions. However, some used this time to their advantage.
- SWOT Analysis: The best way to find a gap in your skill level is to conduct an impersonal SWOT analysis. Identifying Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats helps get a clear idea of the skills you are lacking.
- Skill Addition: Most recruiters will ask questions like, “What did you do during the Lockdown?” “What did you learn during the Lockdown?” and so on. Acquiring skills that add value to your job profile help attract recruiters faster. Similarly, completing a college-level certificate course in business or a sector related to your preferred field also helps add tremendous weight to your application.
Polish Your Resume:
Most candidates make a great resume but do not change it to fit each company’s criteria. Most companies advertise detailed job openings because they want a candidate that fits all their critical needs and areas. Keeping your resume bland and generic, one-size-fits-all, will not help you get noticed.
While making these changes, ensure you read the job description and advertisement carefully.
- Search for keywords that highlight the skills, certificates, qualifications, and experience needed.
- Include these keywords (2-3 times) throughout your resume before sending it across to the recruiter.
Companies prefer hiring candidates that have an excellent eye for detail. Include some relevant quantifiable data in the resume. For example, instead of typing “Made a difference to the sales figures,” you should mention the percentage-wise growth you contributed to from one quarter to the next. Add any relevant experience about the job.
Once done, go over the resume with a magnifying glass. Check for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and ensure that all the resume tenses are correct. Recruiters and hiring managers do not tolerate ill-written work.
Leverage your Network:
While this may seem like an easy task, leveraging your network is quite challenging. Recruiters prefer resumes that have come via references of known employees or previous colleagues rather than starting from scratch.
If you have friends, family members, or loved ones in positions that can help get your profile noticed, you should not shy away from asking them to assist you. A precise cover letter with a well-written resume can help get your job application noticed faster than other people.
You could also opt for unique networking options to get in touch with recruiters.
- LinkedIn: Opting for sites like LinkedIn to make a good first impression helps the recruiter look at your online profile and accomplishments before having a discussion. Always include a link to your LinkedIn profile in your resume.
- Online Portfolio: Add projects and merits, certificates, and major career-altering points in your online profile. You can also add links to PDF documents, research, or a previously published case study that you have done.
- Seek Recommendations: Send out requests to ex-colleagues and bosses requesting a recommendation on your LinkedIn and other social media profiles for past projects. You should try and send recommendation requests to colleagues, clients, vendors, and any past business partners. Doing this will ensure you are a well-versed and experienced working professional. This also helps hiring managers understand that you can work with multiple people at different levels and can multitask between teams.
If you are a fresh graduate, seek the help of professors, ex-managers (from internships), or the Dean of your school for recommendations.
Popular online search and networking sites also help connect with established recruitment professionals in the industry. This additional visibility helps recruiters remember your profile over others.
Change the Way your Profile Looks:
With the current Covid-19 situation, almost all job seekers follow the same recruitment guidelines, including social distance, online interviews, email communication, and audio calls.
If you want to do something different, you could also add a short infographic with all the relevant details to introduce your resume. While you should always send in a professional cover letter and resume, adding a professionally designed infographic will separate you from the other applicants.
- Do not add cartoon characters or garish images.
- Keeping the infographic formal yet precise will help you get noticed instantly.
- Add soft skills, personal accomplishments, and any other information like sports, music, and hobbies that may add value to your overall application.
- For creative jobs like content creators, ad film directors, and editors, adding a showreel with relevant experience covering a broad range of software and skills should also be sent.
- Adding audio reels for creative content to emails can help speed the recruitment process considerably.
Always ensure you mention the number of attachments in your cover letter.
Add Remote Work Experience:
Remote work experience does not only mean working for large businesses and companies. Many hard-working professionals lost their steady jobs. They opted for voluntary coaching and training during the lockdown. Whether due to extra time or contributing to society, if you have participated in any programs that helped the community, you should ensure you add those in your resume.
Add soft skills training, public speaking, and any other lectures, or speeches you have been a part of during the global lockdown. If you have helped manage teams remotely, or have been a part of small projects, remember to mention these in a prominent position on your resume.
What Questions to Ask the Recruiter to Keep them Interested?
Most people don’t realize that hiring managers do not want textbook perfect responses to their questions. Instead, recruiters and HR personnel want honest answers without lies. Towards the end, the interviewer will ask the candidate if they have any questions to ask. This is the ideal opportunity for candidates to make themselves memorable.
Asking questions shows enthusiasm and a thirst for additional knowledge. While you are not expected to ask financial problems relating to the company balance sheet, many other questions may do the trick for you. Remember to be polite yet confident when asking your doubts, queries, and other related questions.
Ask the recruiter how they are handling the transition of existing employees during the coronavirus.
Since HR personnel are responsible for ensuring all employees are well-taken care of, this question should be a good one. The shift from office-based to work-from-home and back again is HR-based. Employee mental health and safety is of primary concern during the crisis, and most human resource personnel will talk about prevalent stress levels and the measures to combat mental fatigue. You will get a good idea about the level of care the company has for its employees.
Ask the hiring manager how they could keep team spirit high and build a conducive work environment throughout the lockdown.
This question is an excellent way of grasping the strengths and weaknesses of the company. You will get a reasonably good idea about the work culture and whether it is dynamic or static. This question will also help you understand the company’s actionable steps for employees during this challenging time.
Ask the manager which software the company works on and how they imparted training during the Covid pandemic.
This question should help you assess the level of company involvement and productivity metrics during the lockdown. Workspaces that are equipped to handle unforeseen circumstances and adapt to changing market scenarios are bound to be flexible and understand the needs of their employees. Companies equipped to deal with the technology change are more dynamic in nature than others. Adaptability to change will ensure you fit well.
Hiring managers and recruiters worldwide are aware of the tedious job scenario and will be prepared to understand employment gaps. However, if you can show productivity and a positive mindset, you will be remembered and selected. During the interview, answer all questions candidly and positively. Remember to mention any online courses that you have completed such as open-source projects, personal projects, training, and certifications, or any virtual conferences.
Being memorable and attracting the recruiter’s attention should not be a challenging job if you can positively project your strengths and work experience.