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The Job Search During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Grace Crane, C'20
Career Center Intern

We certainly are living in a unique time as most business professionals are currently working remotely from their homes, and many have been laid off or furloughed in light of the coronavirus outbreak. The Economic Policy Institute predicts that COVID-19 could eliminate about three million positions by the summer, and the United Nations estimates a loss of 25 million jobs across the globe. While most economists predict an economic recession, you are likely wondering how this will affect your job search, especially if you are a senior looking to work after graduation. Is it worth it to start looking for a job right now? Is anyone even hiring at this time?

While this is a difficult time for businesses and job seekers alike, career experts encourage us to continue networking and applying. This is a critical time to continue building professional relationships and sharing ideas with potential employers so that you can be in a better position when companies start hiring once again. Though most job openings were put on hold, or even completely disappeared, that doesn’t mean they won’t open back up again after the virus has subsided. Here are a few tips to help you navigate these unique times and continue the job or internship search.

Get comfortable with online networking and virtual interviewing

As in-person networking events and interviews are no longer available options, job seekers must turn to the online world. Use LinkedIn, professional Facebook pages or other online communities in your preferred industry to inquire about virtual networking events. If you are interested in public relations, for example, consider following the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) on LinkedIn to learn from and discuss current events with other like-minded professionals. Engage with the group and with other users by leaving comments, sharing posts, and entering or starting relevant conversations on the page to increase your visibility and demonstrate your expertise.

If you are fortunate enough to participate in an informational interview or networking date, it will most likely be in the form of a Skype or Zoom call. For such virtual interviews, make sure you find a quiet area with decent Wi-Fi where you won’t be disturbed. Dress just as you would for an in-person interview, with professional attire and well-kept makeup and hair (do not wear pajama pants, even if you think the interviewer won’t see them – it’s better to be safe than sorry). Try to practice with a friend beforehand to make sure you don’t run into any technical difficulties with the audio or video. Once you are comfortable and ready with your technology, invite some contacts to connect over a virtual coffee. Be sure to stay in touch with connections you made before and during the crisis to keep those professional relationships alive.

Focus on bolstering your personal brand and skills

With the free time we have while sitting at home, now is the perfect time to enhance your skills and build your professional brand. Fill out your LinkedIn profile as much as possible, and further develop your online portfolio if you have or need one. If you don’t already have a LinkedIn account, now is the time to create one. Establishing an online presence is essential in the job search, so take the time to develop your personal brand and demonstrate your skills, qualifications, and experiences in an online platform.

Find and analyze job descriptions that you are interested in to see if you qualify by listing each required experience or skill. If you find that there are weaker areas on your résumé, look online to find classes, videos or certifications that will help you develop these skills further. There are a number of free online courses that will help you expand and learn new skills, such as EdX with free classes from Harvard and MIT, Skillshare with over 500 free online courses, and free training or tutorials from Microsoft. As Mount students, we have free access to LinkedIn Learning where you can find hundreds of video courses taught by experts in creative, software and business industries.

Research and gather information on companies of interest

With the COVID-19 crisis, it is important to take note of which companies and industries are considered essential, whether or not a large number of employees were laid off and how they handled the crisis. If you are interested in a particular company, pay attention to its social media and any news articles regarding its leadership, decision-making and policies. Follow the company during this process and take notes of major events and ideas or questions you have. If you eventually get the chance to interview with the company, you can demonstrate your interest and knowledge by sharing what you read, asking questions and offering ideas of how you could help the company achieve its goals if hired. Staying up to date with the industry truly shows that you are invested in their business and can be a valuable asset to the company.

The Career Center is here to help you navigate this process during these difficult times. If you have any questions or concerns about your job or internship search, résumé or cover letter, you can meet one-on-one with our career counselors over Zoom. Our walk-in hours are from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesday, and Thursdays. We are here to help you along this journey.


Grace Crane, C'20
Career Center Intern