In part 3 of this three-part series, Shawndel Evans, DiversityInc’s strategic lead of diversity pipeline management, shares tips on how job applicants can be successful in a COVID-19-affected job market.
Since the pandemic has changed the way organizations do business and share information, professionals have been forced to quickly adapt to new ways of communicating. Couple these sudden changes with record unemployment numbers and a job market that is stretched thin, and it becomes apparent how important it is for job applicants of all ages to stand out in this “new normal.”
Shawndel Evans, DiversityInc’s strategic lead of diversity pipeline management, says the necessity to demonstrate typical skills recruiters look for is even more heightened. They also now need to be demonstrated virtually. “[Recruiters are looking for] someone who is ambitious, comes prepared to the interview and expresses lots of interest in the position. A candidate who wants to grow their career with the company can be an investment for the long term,” he said.
Keep a positive outlook.
Uncertain and stressful times may make focusing on positivity difficult, but it’s helpful to remain encouraged. “If a candidate doesn’t have a positive and upbeat demeanor, it’s a deal-breaker. To clarify, I’m talking about someone who has a great attitude, smile, energy, and optimism that others feel when they interact with them,” Evans said.
Tap into your virtual networking skills.
To land the interview in the first place, networking is important. Oftentimes, successful job applicants have already made connections with employees and executives of the organization ahead of time. Although networking looks different in a post-COVID world, it is still possible virtually.
“Try connecting on LinkedIn, joining a professional organization he or she is a member of, or use your personal network to garner an introduction. Then, continue forging that connection by conveying your passion and the value you can bring to the role,” Evans said.
Be innovative and solutions-focused.
Applicants should demonstrate a desire and ability to stick and grow with an organization during difficult times. Presenting recruiters with company-specific ideas and suggestions based on a company’s needs shows creativity and proactivity. “Think about what the company needs and develop something unique around that.” Evans said.
He recommended developing examples of proposals for new programs, unique marketing tactics or other opportunities. Offering these extra materials shows you’ve enthusiastically and intentionally done your research, are aware of the current climate and offer value in moving forward.