Job Search Tips When Starting a Career During the Coronavirus. Graduating from college or otherwise applying for your first professional job is stressful in any circumstance. But it feels especially daunting when the economy, the job market, and the world, in general, seem to be turned upside down.
But career experts say it’s critical to continue to look for work and stay connected during the economic downturn caused by COVID-19. “Don’t go into a place of fear and stagnancy,” warns Muse career coach Chelsea C. Williams, founder of College Code, a Manhattan-based talent development firm.
Here are a few ways to build relationships, find work, and move forward in your career.
1. Check-in on Your Job Offer
You might’ve already had a job lined up, perhaps through a previous co-op or internship or via on-campus recruiting, and are likely wondering if that offer still stands. If your college career office was involved in helping you land that offer, that should be your first stop, says Susan Weil, co-CEO of Weil and Wein, a Manhattan-based career coaching firm.
If they don’t know anything about the status of your offer or weren’t involved, you can reach out to whoever extended the offer to you, whether that’s a recruiter, the company’s campus recruiting coordinator, or your future manager.
2. Be Flexible
“Many first-time job seekers have a vision of what they thought their first job would look like,” Williams says. That vision might still be valid but you might need to take some turns and twists to get to that end goal.
For instance, while you might have had your heart set on a full-time job with full benefits, it might be time to consider a six-month internship or fellowship or to look for contract work to tide you over until companies start hiring for more full-time roles again. Maybe you can’t get a full-time job at a public relations firm right now. In the meantime, you might be able to get an internship assisting the firm as it helps clients with crisis communications during the pandemic. That would be an impressive addition to your resume and could even transform into a job offer.
3. Continue to Network
Reach out to people you already know relatively well to ask them to keep an eye out for relevant opportunities for you. Make a list of people in your network you feel comfortable approaching—such as favorite professors, internship supervisors you got along with, family members, and friends—and let them know you’re looking for a job.
Just be mindful of the current situation in your communications, Williams says. For instance, you can say, “I realize the current situation is challenging but if you do hear of anything, let me know. I have a skill set in digital communications and I’m open to contract work or volunteer work.”
No one knows how long the pandemic, social distancing, and the resulting financial crisis will last. So focus on what you can control—responding to job postings and reaching out to contacts as well as being mindful of your overall attitude and how you react to the situation.
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