Congrats! You're in coronavirus quarantine for the good of humanity. Let's make it for the good of your job search too.
Welcome to a resume gap that no one will fault you for.
As I explained in ↘️️ Stop Falling into Resume Gaps:
Anyone who's been through the ordeal will remember what it's like to be in industry- or economy-wide recessions, and how difficult the job market is during those moments in time. No one will fault you for getting caught up in such events that were clearly out of your control.
Being in coronavirus quarantine, or waiting for other people who are, is not only something out of your control, it's something you're doing for your own good and the good of the people around you.
Impacted directly themselves, recruiters will understand this explanation later if your resume shows a break between jobs at this time.
You may think that being in coronavirus quarantine for only a few weeks isn't long enough to be an excuse for a resume gap, and hopefully you leave quarantine without any symptoms of COVID-19. However, the number of people currently in quarantine or unaware they're about to enter quarantine is going to affect the economy at large for more than just a few weeks, and job seekers are already being affected in many ways in particular.
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Best of all, you can do it all from the comfort of your home, coronavirus quarantine or not.
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How should you spend your job search time in coronavirus quarantine?
Spending time at home usually isn't a problem for job seekers.
If anything, like me on my job search in 2001-2002, job seekers spend too much time at home, procrastinating over their job search or just searching online, and don't spend enough time outside meeting people and looking for hidden jobs.
An employed friend of mine has been stuck at home for over a week and he's pulling his hair out. He's working remotely so it's not the boredom that has him going stir-crazy, it's the loneliness and helplessness that are depressing him.
There are hundreds of impactful things job seekers can do from home, but when it comes to overcoming isolation, you need to have at least some daily tasks where you'll be in contact with other people.
Here are some great examples you can follow, and don't miss the important bonus tip at the bottom.
Best ways to fight job search loneliness while coronavirus quarantined
1. Interview employees of targeted companies
If you really want to learn about a company before a job interview or ideally, to decide whether you should apply for a job there in the first place, use LinkedIn to find current and former employees and ask them for a quick, Skype video chat (although I actually prefer Zoom, which lets you record easily so you can take notes later).
Don't forget to mention you're in coronavirus quarantine to earn some sympathy points and hopefully get more positive replies.
2. Video information interviews
Information or informational interviews can help you learn about a profession or an industry, such as if you're considering a career change or would like to relocate. Look for relevant people who would be interested in your own expertise and offer to meet up online.
3. Offer video consults
Similarly, offer your expertise to other people as well. Whether you volunteer or sell your time, use a tool such as Calendly (it has a free plan) to let people schedule meetings with you that fit into both your calendars. Create a personalized scheduling link and then share it in relevant social media groups where people are looking for the kind of help you can give.
4. Go live on social media
Another way to offer your expertise online is directly to a live audience and not just one other person. Pick your favorite social media platform such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Announce on your profile when you'll be going live and at which url, and then scatter mentions of it where interested people are likely to see them, giving people at least 1-2 days' notice to make time for you.
5. Find a virtual job search buddy
Regardless of whether they're also in coronavirus quarantine, find one or more other job seekers who would be interested in chatting regularly about job search progress (or lack thereof). Avoid anyone who might be competing for the same jobs, but if you're in different cities, states or countries, it shouldn't be an issue.
6. Build your references list
Regardless of whether you commit the cardinal sin of writing “References available on request” on your resume, you do need to compile your references in a list you can forward to recruiters. While most people will simply email their references to ask if it's ok to include them, go one better and ask to video chat. It will help them refresh their memory of you and improve the chance they'll agree to act as a reference for you.
7. Meet with job search coaches, one-on-one
Many job search and career coaches no longer require meeting you in an office, and they're happy to coach you over the phone or Skype. A good place to start would be by testing out some of the 40+ Career Coaches Who Give Free Consults On Every Topic You Need.
8. Meet with job search coaches, in a group video chat
For example, on Monday, March 23rd, 2020, Hannah Morgan of CareerSherpa.net joined me in hosting a Job Search Online Hangout (JOSH) via a Zoom video chat. Over 20 job seekers joined in from around the world to discuss job search during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it wasn't only to listen to me and Hannah, as more than a few people asked questions and shared stories and insights.
9. Practice your job search skills
Whether with a coach, career counselor, colleague or a friend, use video chat to practice your elevator pitch and job interviewing.
10. Join a job club
This could be a virtual job club or a real-world job club that allows people to sit in remotely. The idea is to be part of an interactive, online space that will help you with your job search.
11. Enroll in an online course with group sessions
While you can find many, highly rated, free online courses such as at Udemy, those won't have any personal contact. For group sessions or direct access to experts, you'll need to choose a paid course such as the above Freelancer Masterclass.
12. Have virtual networking lunches
Take the lessons of Keith Ferrazzi's classic networking book Never Eat Alone to a whole other level by inviting people to lunch over Skype, where both of you dine in front of the camera, facing each other as if you were at the same table. Lunch, dinner, coffee and cake or dessert, it doesn't really matter as long as it's over food that doesn't make too much noise to eat.
13. Attend virtual conferences
With more and more conferences, un-conferences and meetups getting canceled to prevent the coronavirus from spreading, you can expect to see more virtual conferences to attend. While some may allow audience participation, you can almost always follow along in a chat area or via hashtag and chat with other attendees that way.
14. Attend online job fairs
Many of the reasons job fairs aren't a waste of time still apply when the fair is virtual.
15. Phone or video job interviews
With the coronavirus spreading, more and more companies are shifting to remote work for as many employees as possible. The option to interview you in their offices may not even exist temporarily, so any job interviews you get invited to will likely be over the phone or video chat. It's just up to you to get those interview invites, and it'll be interesting to see if recruiters have more time for interviews right now since they're a work task that can easily be done remotely.
Bonus idea: 16. Company followups
With time stuck at home, you have less excuses not to follow up with companies after applying or completing a round of interviews.
Bonus idea: 17. Multiplayer video games
Ok, this isn't directly job search-related, but it will help you stay sane during a quarantine (or any time, frankly).
When I worked at Amazon.com back in 2000-2001 in France, every day at 6pm a group of us would end our work day and join in a game of Unreal Tournament, a multiplayer, first-person shooter type video game where players run around a virtual location trying to kill each other one way or another.
Some of our colleagues in the UK and Seattle would play along regardless of the timezone difference, but with most of us sitting in the same French office, one of the best parts of the game was being able to yell out to each other across the room while we played.
Pick a similar game such as Fortnite (which is free) that allows you to hear and speak with other players via headset. It will help to blow off steam and give you something to look forward to every day as long as you're able to limit how much time you spend playing.
Question of the article
What's been helping you overcome job search loneliness in the past? Tell us in the comments.
What others are saying
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Bonus: Some Insight On Finding A Job Amid The Coronavirus Outbreak
Download The Job Search Depression Report if you're getting depressed because you can't find a job. It contains:
- 15 Causes of Job Search Depression and How To Prevent It
- 13 Signs of Job Search Depression
- Unsure About The Signs? Take The Test
- 9 Ways To Deal With Job Search Depression
Click the image below to get access to The Job Search Depression Report:
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