Career Compass: Job Searching During A Pandemic

These months during the pandemic have been filled with uncertainty and questions: How is the job market? Are employers hiring at all? Should I bother looking for a job now? While there are many unknowns regarding this challenging time, there are two things we do know: 

1.) Employers are still hiring 2.) Motivated, hard-working UIC students can still be successful in their job searches.

Be prepared

Careful and thorough preparation for your job search is more crucial now than ever before. This includes assessing your skills, strengths, interests and work-related values, and developing an in-depth understanding of the career field and job you are pursuing. A well-written resume and LinkedIn profile which are tailored to your job targets will also make a difference in your success. Nearly all interviews are virtual these days, so be sure to practice your “camera ready” interviewing skills. Candidates who effectively communicate their skills and experience, as well as articulate how they can add value to a potential employer, have a proven advantage in the job market.

Be proactive

Simply sending out a high volume of resumes in response to online job postings might not get you the job you want anytime soon. Employers fill only 25-30% of positions through job postings. Do apply online for job postings which interest you, but also take a proactive approach. Identify companies which interest you and use other strategies, such as networking to pursue opportunities. Meet with your career coach to map out a job search strategy which aligns with hiring practices in the industry you’re pursuing.

Be persistent

During this challenging time, your job search may take more effort – but it’s worth it! Treat your job search like it’s a class on your schedule. Carve out time each week to work on your search, plan tasks to accomplish and track your progress. It is important to learn and understand how the pandemic has impacted the industry and type of job you are pursuing. Think creatively about your target job – are there other career fields where you could use your skills to do similar work? Consider creating a “Plan B,” if needed.

Be patient

Job searches always take some time – and they might take a bit longer during this period. While many employers are recruiting and hiring just as they have in the past (only virtually), there are some employers who are still determining their current and future hiring needs. Remember that the job search is a marathon and not a sprint, so pace yourself, start early on your search, and be patient. Your Career Advisor at the Business Career Center will support, guide and coach you through your successful job search journey.