By Anja van den Berg
The COVID-19 pandemic has left millions without a livelihood. If you are one of those who have lost employment due to the Coronavirus and are looking at securing a job, here’s what you need to know to ensure you stand out from the rest.
Empower yourself for the reality of remote interviews
For the foreseeable future, many job interviews will be online. Remote interviewing is a whole new ballgame, and you are going to need to familiarise yourself with the ins and outs of the remote interview. You also need to strive to create an emotional connection with the interviewer, something that not as easy to do digitally as in person.
“The virtual presentation part is the biggest change, and a lot of people are not comfortable with that – details like how to position the camera, how to talk to the camera,” says career coach Marianne Grady.
Do a test run on your screen to review how you will reflect. Also, note your background! Read some home-design blogs or magazines and learn how to position objects in a way that complements your backdrop. A good rule of thumb is to pick a clean, uncluttered scene and avoid virtual backdrops. Also, dress professionally from head to toe in case you need to stand up!
Nod and smile as a signal that you’re engaged and try not to use fillers like ‘ums’ to confirm that you are attentive.
Lastly, slow down the pace of your speech. Although it might feel unusual, slowing down your rate of speech will make it easier for your listener to follow the conversation.
Pump up your LinkedIn profile
Love or hate LinkedIn, it often provides a recruiter’s or hiring manager’s first impression of you. Be sure to include recent, relevant, measurable achievements in your summary to stand out from the crowd. Add projects and metrics to your experience section. Populate your skills section and include links to personal projects.
Additionally, establish yourself as a thought leader. Share articles you’ve been quoted in or links to conferences you’ve spoken at to showcase you’re a thought leader in your industry.
Go 360 with your recommendations. Include endorsements not only from your manager but also from former co-workers, suppliers and business partner. Switching up the perspective of the references shows different sides of you as a working professional.
Polish your CV for the bots
To be considered for a job, your CV needs to get through the initial screen: the bots.
Arran James Stewart, the co-founder of a recruitment platform, says that most leading job boards use Artificial Intelligence-powered applicant tracking systems to shortlist potential candidates. Understanding how these systems work is just as important as understanding what employers are looking for in a prospective hire.
“The machines that ‘read’ resumes are targeting keywords that are relevant to the job to be filled,” Stewart explains. “For the best chance of moving forward and getting your resume in front of a human, use wording from the job description in your resume – without making it a carbon copy of the job requirements, of course.”
It’s essential to customise your CV for the job, focus on the last ten years of your career and not to include any pictures (unless, of course, the employer explicitly requested one).