COVID-19 has forced a lot of adjustments in our daily lives. This pandemic has also changed the job search process. It’s compelled companies to make modifications to hiring practices, especially surrounding what is and what is not important in a job seeker’s application.
In fact, a recent study shows that companies are no longer as concerned with employment gaps as they were before COVID-19. The idea of social distancing and quarantine has made the human connection more important than ever. This is true for hiring managers, too.
What do you need to be successful in your 2021 job search?
The desire for human connection means that you not only need a targeted resume but also a good cover letter, follow up emails, and thank you notes.
Just a few years ago, there was a strong belief that cover letters had died. Job candidates started omitting them from their applications and only about 26% of hiring managers read them. Now, that number has almost doubled to 48%.
This is great news for today’s job seeker
Since more companies are expecting and reading cover letters, it will be easier to explain resume faux pas like employment gaps. Rather than spending hours obsessing over how to minimize the appearance of things on your resume, you can address them in a cover letter.
Employers are now more likely to overlook gaps of unemployment, and more likely to read your cover letter to get to know you.
How to update your cover letter for a COVID-era job search
A good cover letter highlights your best qualifications. It is a great place to discuss skills to draw focus away from resume issues. While you should have a strong mix of hard and soft skills in both your resume and cover letter, some of the top skills to emphasize in your cover letter include:
These skills are critical to companies who’ve faced and overcome challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Let’s face it, most companies have adopted a mix of in-house and remote staff members. There have been new systems to launch and new collaboration protocols. Showing that you have these skills can put you above other job applicants.
How to follow up after you apply
Once you’ve sent your targeted resume and tailored cover letter to a job opening, don’t just sit by the computer waiting for an email. If it’s been between 3 and 5 days, send a follow up email to the company expressing your continued interest in the position.
It is best to try to find the name of the hiring manager so that you can send the email directly to the person who has control over hiring you. More and more companies are reacting positively towards applicants who take the time to really make a personal connection during the application process.
How to interview remotely
After you are awarded an interview, be prepared for some type of video conference or telephone interview. This is one of the many changes we can attribute to the pandemic. Even though you probably won’t physically be with the interviewer, you can still facilitate the need for human connectivity by building a solid rapport.
Create a relationship with them through the use of appropriate body language. You should also limit distractions. Both of these will assure the hiring professional that you’re serious about the position. It will also allow them to see that they have your undivided attention – just as they would if you were sitting in their office.
Related read: Job Hunting Tips to Use During the COVID-19 Outbreak
Follow up after the interview
Continuing the new hiring theme of increased human interaction, be sure to send a thank you note after your interview. Use specific topics that you talked about in the interview and reiterate how your skills, experience, and education match what the company needs in the role they have to fill.
Thank you notes do a few things for you:
Puts your name in front of the hiring professional again.
Shows that you are still interested in the position.
Demonstrates that you think of the little things.
There is a quote that says, “Feeling connected to each other is a basic human need.” That has never been more true than during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s even changing the job search landscape. If you can embrace this concept, then you will have a strong chance of successfully taking the next step on your career journey.