Job Hunting in the time of COVID-19
Category : PROspective
Living in our new reality is difficult. We all recognize and respect the importance of flattening the curve; but, adjusting to the reality of social distancing is hard. Our daily decision-making process has shrunken to the sizes of our homes and apartments, making going to dinner a question of table or couch.
We need expertly trained epidemiologists tackling today’s public health problems, even while so much is uncertain about today and tomorrow.
Even more difficult is looking towards the future. Yet, we are asking our graduates to do just that. We need expertly trained epidemiologists tackling today’s public health problems, even while so much is uncertain about today and tomorrow.
Still, we know that our rising graduates are looking ahead at how they can leverage their skills during this time of crisis and are eager to put to work their skills at asking and answering important questions. They’re also wondering just how to manage a job search during a global pandemic.
At the end of last month, GLEPI alum Vanessa Da Costa (MPH, 2018) was asked these very questions in an interview with RepoJobs.org – how do you navigate the current job market, what’s different about the hiring process now, and how you should approach networking without leaving the house.
Let’s think a little more about that last part – networking. Now that we are all doing our part to stay home during the pandemic, human connection is taking on a completely different role in our lives. More than ever, it will be critical to know the person behind the email and to forge relationships that might not have otherwise been so central to success in the workplace.
What that means is that now is your chance to take advantage of the networking environment. In her interview, Vanessa talked about reaching out to people directly on LinkedIn – simply to learn about their career path. While this might have felt intimidating for some of us in the past, now this sort of interaction is more socially acceptable than ever before. I, myself, am always excited when someone in my network takes the initiative to reach out to me on LinkedIn. To me, this is the first indication that someone would be great employee – resourceful, confident, and motivated.
Vanessa also mentioned the value of attending virtual webinars and events. In particular, I find these places to be great opportunities to identify those people who you might want to reach out to later. An added bonus is that it’s always a little more comfortable to reach out to someone (especially someone with clout) when you can say, “I watched your presentation last week at the conference and I was curious about what you said about ____ .”
“…in the age of remote working and technology, you could be hired to start a position at any time.”
The last part worth mentioning about networking is the element of random chance. Sometimes I like to think about networking more like a chemist. The universe is a container of particles randomly colliding with each other. The laws of chemistry and physics suggest that the randomness or entripy of the universe is constantly increasing, despite our attempts to organize it (at least on our little planet). The more particles you bounce into, the more likely it is that you will encounter the perfect partner particle, and that your electrons will align to form a strong molecular bond. There is a lot about the job search that involves chance, and you’re more likely to create chance opportunities if you maximize the number of encounters you have in the first place. Think of networking like particle collisions, the more collisions that happen (ex. cold calls or emails, introductions, etc), the greater the chance that one of them will result in a real employment opportunity.
Check out Vanessa’s full interview for more excellent advice about navigating the job market in the days of COVID-19!