Looking for a new job is a strenuous process, and it is intensified especially in these challenging times — not only because of the state of the economy due to the pandemic but also because the way we work and interact has changed significantly as a result of social distancing.
If you are currently looking for a job, try to contact former colleagues with whom you’ve lost touch. You could connect with them on LinkedIn or send them an email asking how they’re doing, explaining your situation, and asking if they have any advice as you go about looking for your next job. Of course, this isn’t going to be easy. It can be difficult especially when you’re out of work and have no good news to share, and people may be more overwhelmed than usual at the moment. But, keep in mind that people will help whenever they can. You can also sign-up on global employment platforms such as JEDI Jobs to find a remote job that suits you. So, keep trying!
Below are some essential tips to consider when you’re looking for a new remote job.
Update your resume and cover letter
There are some things you should do before going into a job interview. The first step is to polish your resume. You can include anything that shows that you are capable of thriving in challenging environments, indicate your achievements, ability to work with less supervision, and your commitment to abide by the company’s working hours and culture.
The second step is to compose your cover letter, which is the highlight in capturing the attention of your potential employer. You may also need to emphasize your previous work experience in dynamic organizations, as most companies’ top priority right now will be to weather the crisis and will be looking for people who can contribute to that mission.
It’s always a good idea to keep your resume updated, especially if you’ve recently lost your job and are expecting to work again so soon. And the tried-and-true advice on how to write a cover letter and resume still applies.
Prepare yourself for a remote interview
Given that most people nowadays work from home, there’s a good chance that you will get a remote interview. Prepare for it by familiarizing yourself with the technology that will be used for the interview, research about the company’s profile and pandemic response, and be sure to set-up a professional-looking background. Since you won’t get as much non-verbal feedback during the interview, concentrate on establishing an emotional connection and conveying warmth.
All of the standard advice on how to prepare for and perform in an interview still applies, but you’ll also need to consider other factors:
- Use The Required Application
Once you’ve got the interview scheduled, find out what interview platform they’ll be using and spend some time learning how it works, especially if you’ll need to use any features like screen sharing. Check the link ahead of time. Make sure you have a backup plan in case the technology fails. Create the best conditions for the technology and connection to work.
- Make Yourself Presentable
Your goal is to appear professional in front of the camera. You don’t need to wear a suit jacket — that would be overdressing and unnecessary. Select a background that is neutral for your interview (it probably goes without saying to avoid one of those virtual beach backgrounds). If you can show a professional-looking space in the background, it can help to humanize you, and it’s preferable to being right up against a wall. A blank wall is best, as it is less risky in terms of interruptions or accidentally displaying a messy room. You should also think about standing during the interview.
- Practice giving your responses
Go over the possible answers to common questions and practice giving your responses. When we are nervous, we begin to monitor ourselves. You’re likely to become distracted during the interview because you’ll be able to see your own image as you speak. Staring at a face, particularly your own, will cause you to lose your train of thought. Make sure to practice in the location where you intend to have the interview conducted so you can see how you look. If you can’t stop staring at yourself while practicing, you should close the window with your image in it. You don’t want to be so self-conscious that it becomes distracting. However, it can be useful to look at yourself from time to time during the interview to ensure that your hair is not out of place or anything like that.
- Maintain a friendly manner during the interview
People are more eager to connect with colleagues on an emotional level as a result of the challenging situation nowadays, and your interviewer may have a higher expectation of how much friendliness you maintain during the interview. I recommend that you follow the interviewer’s lead on small talk, but it may be appropriate to ask how they and their team are doing right now. And be prepared to respond to the same question if it is posed to you. You can say “Thank you for asking,” or “I’m doing as well as I can, given the circumstances”. There is no need to go into unnecessary detail.
- Inquire related questions
When given the opportunity to ask questions during the interview, ask all the usual questions, such as “What are your expectations for this role?” or “How will you measure success for the position?”. Be sure to also inquire about their virtual onboarding process, specifically, “How will they assist new hires in getting acclimatised to remote work?”.
Positive mindset is the key
Remember that you will not receive the same kind of non-verbal information from the interviewer in a remote interview. There is a lot of research that shows that when we don’t get feedback, we tend to be negative. “This isn’t going well,” we think. So, practice staying positive and assuming the best is going to happen ahead of time. You may have a mantra that you repeat to yourself when you begin to doubt your abilities. Alternatively, you could sit quietly for five minutes before the interview begins and mentally go over all the reasons why the interview is likely to go well.
Finding a new suitable remote job is challenging today, but you must be brave enough at least to try it out, so be easy on yourself. You’re probably not out of work because of anything you did, and countless other people are in the same boat as you. The good times will return, and in the meantime, remember that you’re doing your best. Most importantly, maintain self-compassion throughout this process. It’s best to always be kind to yourself! Good luck!