3 Ways Job Search Has Changed
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed job search for everyone but particularly for those in the 2nd half of life. Applying to the dreaded applicant tracking system (ATS) before was not a good job search strategy before the pandemic; now it is a waste of time.
For those of us who have decades of experience and are working on making a transition, the pandemic will make things both easier and more difficult in the coming years, if you are willing to adjust to a new normal.
Let me give you 3 ways that job search has changed for at least the next few years (and maybe permanently):
- Networking and Your Network
- Remote Work and Who You Will Work for Remotely
- Being on Video and The Video Interview is Now the New Normal
Networking Will Never Be the Same
Your network will be more valuable than ever before and networking will change forever. When do you think you will be walking into a large room of people again? It is highly likely it will not be in 2020. I will not be doing this for a long time.
Let me give you an example of the new networking event format.
I belonged to a networking group in Austin, Texas, for over a dozen years, Metropolitan Breakfast Club, where we met every Wednesday morning for breakfast. Due to the pandemic, they have moved their meetings completely online using Zoom and Facebook Live. This is the new way to network.
There have been so many webinars over the last 3 months given by authors, book publishers, industry associations, and others. At the end of every one of these events, I get a flurry of LinkedIn connection requests.
This is where networking really changes. I now reach out to some of those new connections and schedule either a phone or a video call. My use of Zoom has exploded and I use it more than the phone these days.
I have also been doing something that I have not done for years, I just call people on the phone. Since the beginning of the pandemic, people have been more available to speak with me than in any recent times.
Take a moment and dig through your contacts and call people. Every single person I have talked to has thanked me for calling. It is because we are all so isolated by remote work that many miss that human connection.
You Network Has Never Been More Important
For those in the 2nd half of life, many are discovering that their network is shrinking. I wrote previously in my post Has Your Network Aged Out and Abandoned You? [Updated] about the need to network down to people who are younger and have less experience.
What many of you will experience is the people who pulled us along in our careers may well be displaced in the giant upheaval created by the pandemic. You will need to refresh and expand your network into new companies and very possibly new industries.
With all of the upheaval, making headway into a new industry will require a referral that will likely be someone you did not know pre-pandemic.
Your network will have to change. Plus, how you go about networking in your job search has changed.
Remote Work is Here for a While and Maybe Forever
Nearly every company in the world has sent their staff home to work. If the employee does not have to be in a customer-facing role then they are likely working from home. I wrote in my recent blog post What is the Pandemic Changing in the World? Everything! the following:
Remote work is here to stay. There are so many companies that did not believe that letting employees work remotely could work. They have been proven wrong by this pandemic.
Prior to the pandemic, only about 7% of workers worked remotely. It has been estimated that up to 50% of workers are working remotely today. Some of these workers will return to the office but most companies will not be returning their employees to the workplace this year. I have had long discussions with several HR consultants and they said that companies have spent years cramming more and more employees into open offices. The open office is the polar opposite of what is needed in the post-COVID-19 world.
There is a member of the Career Pivot Membership community who started a new job at a major midwestern state university in May of 2020. She was told she would not be coming into the office until July of 2021. She will be working remotely for well over a year. My guess is she will never return to the office full time.
Who Can You Work for Remotely and Where You Will Live
When you go to Indeed.com there is a new option called “remote” in the “Where” field. At least, it was new to me as I have not searched on Indeed for a long time.
Like I mentioned above about the member of my community who has been told she will work remotely for the next year, many employers are not planning to bring their employees back into the office. It is my prediction that the longer this goes on the less likely it is that employers will bring employees back into the office. Therefore, who you could work for is no longer limited to your local job market.
This is a major transition that is happening NOW. If you listen to my podcast episode Employment and Industry Update in the Post COVID-19 World [Podcast], I reference How Will Corporate America Approach Hiring Post COVID-19 Webinar. On this webinar Steve Lagnado, CFO of Insider Inc commented that they normally hired primarily in the New York metro area but they are now realizing that they can hire talent from anywhere.
Besides working for someone that could be located anywhere, you, personally, can work from anywhere. You can, if you choose, become a digital nomad like me. You also may want to live near your grandkids or an elderly parent.
Who you work for and where you live can be greatly expanded.
Your location in your job search has changed.
The Video Interview is Now Normal
You may never interview in person ever again. It is my prediction that in-person interviews will be the exception rather than the norm over the next couple of years.
You need to be prepared to present yourself in the best way possible. I recently did a Facebook Live session for an Austin based non-profit Austinup.org called Job Interview: The Home Video Studio that Makes You Look Like a Pro where I talked to the audience about creating a home studio for interviewing. This can be done very inexpensively; and I wrote about the equipment I use in the post 4 Ingredients to a Winning Video Interview Environment [Updated].
This is Hollywood and you need to be prepared to present yourself in the best way over video. This means creating an environment that has good lighting and audio. You will need to know how to make this environment work for you.
Using Video Will Become the New Normal
I worked for one of the first HD video conferencing startups, LifeSize Communications, about 10 years ago. One of our challenges was getting certain individuals, and you know who I am talking about, who hated being on video.
We have all have experienced the explosion of video usage in the last few months. Whether it is, Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, Cisco Webex, or any of the many other players, video is the new normal. You had better be prepared with the proper video set up in your home and be comfortable on camera.
I work from home and wear a long sleeve tee shirt all day. I have many different colors of shirts that if I need to look professional on video I just put on a sports jacket at a moment’s notice. No one needs to know that I am barefoot or wearing blue jeans. I have been on video for over 10 years and I am comfortable with creating a professional image on video while also being comfortable working in my house.
You can do the same thing.
Some Final Thoughts on How Job Search Has Changed
Your next job will come through a connection. You will likely find that connection in new and different ways. Building those relationships will be done remotely.
Who you can work for will be greatly expanded as remote work becomes more of the new normal. This will free you as to where you want to live in the 2nd half of life.
Finally, being on video will become the new normal. We may no longer shake hands in a face-to-face meeting but we can still develop relationships from afar. Getting comfortable being on video and all the while being yourself will be critical.
Are you ready for the new job search and work environment?