How to Keep Up Your Job Search During the Pandemic

Buddy Moran '86BUS
June 15, 2020

If you were in the middle of a job search when the COVID-19 pandemic forced sweeping shutdowns, your search is most likely in limbo now. The pandemic has caused devastating losses for people around the world and brought about tremendous economic setbacks, with millions of people experiencing layoffs or salary cuts. If you still have your job and are able to work remotely, you are one of the lucky ones. If you are searching, your job hunt will be postponed a while longer. But you can still maximize your resources and some of your newfound time to position yourself for when the economy rebounds. Here are tips for staying on track with your job search during this uncertain time, whether you’re just beginning your search or you’ve already invested significant time.

Get Your House in Order

Right now, businesses are recalibrating and staying inward-focused. This is a time for you to do the same. Make sure your resume and LinkedIn profile are their best and work on your elevator pitch. Stay as productive as possible, while understanding that the news is distracting and you might not be working at your max.

Follow the Money

According to Crunchbase and Axios, deal flow has not stopped, and investors are still putting money into growing companies, albeit more selectively. Where there is money there will eventually be opportunities. If you are just starting your search, consider exploring roles at well-funded tech firms that will continue to grow their businesses despite market challenges—think telehealth, distance learning, and video communications, to name a few.

Network in Our New World

This is a great opportunity to refresh and strengthen your existing professional relationships, as well as to expand your network. It is also a good time to reassess the network and make sure that it is aligned with your long-term goals and objectives. To achieve this, consider joining professional groups on either LinkedIn or Facebook. In addition, employing “virtual” coffee meetings is a great way to establish and grow new relationships.

Have Patience and Empathy

Whether you are interviewing or networking, remember that we’re all part of a larger community, and everyone is dealing with a lot of anxiety, stress, and uncertainty. Some people you talk to will act as though it is business as usual, but others will be distracted. In those cases, it’s important to be supportive and respectful, understanding that they may not have an answer for you. People remember those who were supportive and helpful during difficult times.

Rethink Your Goals

Now is the time to be flexible and willing to pivot. Demonstrate that you are an agile knowledge worker who can help out and take on a new role in a pinch. As companies implement hiring freezes, they may be looking for more people to hire on a contract or project basis. Explore part-time opportunities until things open up.

Learn Something New

Now is the time to learn new skills to add to your LinkedIn profile. Plenty of organizations are offering classes over Zoom at a discount. Learn a programming language or beef up another skill you’ve been meaning to learn but haven’t had the time.

Many people believe that the underpinnings of the economy have been good, so once the world gets a handle on controlling the pandemic, the economy should rebound. However, it may be a while, so use this time to regroup and get organized and think outside the box, and be ready for when opportunity returns.

A version of this article originally appeared on the Columbia Business School's site.

Buddy Moran '86BUS has worked with professionals from a wide range of companies and organizations including Amazon, BCG, BNY Mellon, Blackstone, Citigroup, Evonik Industries, Goldman Sachs, Hewlett-Packard, InVision, Lonely Planet (NC2 Media), JP Morgan, Johnson & Johnson, McKinsey, Morgan Stanley, Outbrain, Pernod Ricard, Prudential, Sotheby’s, US Treasury Department, Wells Fargo, and Wyndham. In addition to his private practice, Moran provides individual and group coaching services to alumni and is a highly-rated Leadership Coach for the Leadership Lab at Columbia Business School.

Learn more about Moran and view the full Columbia Career Coaches Network