Tips for Applying to Jobs in a Pandemic from a Smartbridge Recruiter

During this turbulent season, countries across the globe have seen a record number of layoffs causing companies to experience a spike in applications for the positions they have open. Smartbridge’s in-house recruiter has outlined some helpful tips to assist those vying for these open positions in this pandemic because let’s face it, it’s been a while for some of us!

Just three short months ago, my days consisted of spending countless hours hunting through LinkedIn, Dice, and other resume collection sites to find the right candidate for the positions we were looking to fill. At the time, minimal talent was searching out job postings to apply to, and you had to be creative in approaching passive candidates. Fast forward to today, and now my days are filled with screening the hundreds of resumes pouring in for each position posted.

Is Your Resume Up to Par?

According to the U.S. Department of Labor in two months, more than 36 million jobless claims were filed, which is closing in on the total number recorded during the 2008 recession of 37,118,000. With so many people now applying for the same jobs, you may be asking yourself, “how do I stand out?” A lot of resume etiquette remains the same, but there are a few things you should try if you haven’t been on the market in a while.

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  • Number one, make sure to check your grammar. Grammarly is a fantastic tool that has a free option to catch grammar mistakes like forgetting commas, spelling, and sentence structure.

  • A lot of recruiters are using “keyword” searches in resumes to shorten the number they need to review. Make sure to read the requirements and tailor your resume to include those keywords if you have those skills.

  • Answer the screening questions with details. When applying, most applications will have a few screening questions. Do your best to provide a little detail when you answer.

  • List achievements. Did you sell more than your quota each year? Did you complete each project on time? Did you find a way to save your company money? This is your resume; you need to tell your story and be your biggest fan.

  • If you have been laid off for more than a month, list what you have been doing to be proactive. Did you take a new course? Did you get your certifications renewed?

  • Make sure your resume is relevant to the job you want. Highlight the experience that you have that matches the job. Recruiters don’t need 4 page resumes that talk about the roles you had in high school if it doesn’t align with your career now. According to a study by TheLadders, recruiters spend, on average, six seconds looking at a resume before moving on.

Digital is the New Normal

Once you have your resume in order and you are applying, don’t be surprised to find out that the recruitment process is different than you remember it. Even before COVID-19, more and more companies were turning to digital ways to screen candidates. Be prepared for one-way video interviews, online tests, and multiple rounds of live video interviews. With limited in-person interaction, technology is our best tool to bridge the gap.

Remember that you are not just being considered for the skills you have but for your attitude, behavior, and cultural fit. According to some experts, depending on the industry and position, you should expect to spend a minimum of 5 hours interviewing with a company. With so many hours of video interviews ahead of you, make sure you are ready.

  • Pick a spot with few distractions in the background.

  • Check your camera position and lighting before the interview starts.

  • Wear pants! Dress like you would if you were going to the office to interview.

  • Be prepared with notes. What things do you want to highlight about your experience? Have them ready. Remember they can’t see what’s in front of you.

  • Have questions you want to ask ready as well.

  • If you have two monitors, have the company website up for reference.

  • If your smoke detector needs a new battery, change it before the interview. More times than you would think, I have conducted interviews where I had to sit there and listen to that chirping in the background of the candidate. It’s a little thing, but very distracting.

Right now is a challenging time to be the candidate, but there are companies still hiring. Have patience, put in a little effort, and be your biggest fan. You are the only one that can tell a company what makes you the right person for the job.

Good luck!

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