How to Hunt for a Job During COVID-19

Advice for applying and interviewing remotely
Updated: Apr. 24, 2020 at 12:32 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Whether you’re about to graduate or you’re a victim of layoffs, many of you are applying for jobs right now. The Coronavirus is causing some big changes in the process.

Glenn Gibney serves as the director of GSU’s Career and Professional Development Office. This time of year his office is usually full of college seniors preparing for their next step, but his expertise applies to anyone looking for a job. If you’re on the hunt, here’s what you need to know before that first interview.

“I would make sure that you dress up for the interview as if it’s going to be a face to face interview. Your background should be professional. Quiet. You’ll need a quiet space to do this. I’d test the technology. That’s a really important part too. If it’s your first time doing an interview on a phone, practice with a friend.”

After the interview, Gibney says it’s key that you follow up. But when many businesses are overwhelmed and understaffed as they adapt to COVID, how much follow up is too much?

"There’s a fine line between professional follow up and badgering. I would get the information from them and email them within 24 hours thanking them for the interview and letting them know that you’re interested. Then, the second step would be wrote a note. Most folks don’t do this. It can be handwritten. It can be typed. If you send that to arrive three to four days after the interview, that’s a great, unique follow up. Then, if I don’t hear back within 5 business days, I call. And this is an important distinction, calling as opposed to texting. You’re probably now because of COVID going to get a voicemail, but if I don’t hear back a day after leaving a phone call, I would email again.

You probably won’t be able to visit the office or meet your potential boss or coworkers in person, but the internet is your best friend when it comes to the job search. Make sure you do your homework and take advantage of the resources available online.

“Do a search with the company name and then something else to find some connections. So for example, if you want to work at Georgia Ports authority for example, you’d type in Georgia ports authority and then Georgia southern. That’ll bring up people at Georgia Ports who went to school there, and if you link into them, you make that connection, they’re very likely to get back to you, and you can say, 'Hey, I’m a student at Georgia Southern, what’s it like to work at Georgia Ports? Glassdoor, it’s kind of a funky website in that it talks a lot about company culture, and a lot of folks go there just to badmouth their company, but it’s a good site to find out what’s happening at the site.”

If you’ve been laid off or furloughed, Gibney says you need to be productive during this transition period. This will make you a more desirable employee.

"I think the word that comes to mind is initiative, so what did you do during that time? For example, one of the things I’m doing is I’m taking a PowerPoint class online at nighttime, right? Just because it’s a great time to get my skills better at that. "

He says any sort of professional development you can do right now will make a difference going forward.

If you’ve already graduated, you can still get help finding a job! Georgia Southern’s Career and Professional Development Office offers tons of free resources and advice for Georgia Southern and Armstrong alumni.

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