As we all navigate a new reality as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, job searching can feel like particularly shaky terrain. To address concerns around the job market, FlexMBA and Alumni Career Consultant Linda Kurtz recently led virtual workshops for Rady School students. Below, we’ve compiled expertise shared by Kurtz and fellow Career Management Center staff to help provide guidance for the Rady community.
Research industries of interest and look for trends.
“I want to be transparent,” Kurtz said during the workshop. “Some companies are actively hiring and recruiting, some are putting things on pause, and some are laying people off.”
To discover which companies and industries are actively hiring, Kurtz and the Career Management Center staff shared several resources.
For one, Candor.co is compiling a live, user-generated report of hiring activity across industries. CultivatedCulture.com prepared a COVID-19 job market insights guide, which summarized Candor.co’s findings as of April 4th:
Industries of particular interest to Rady School graduates such as consulting & services, business software and financial services are showing a lot of hiring activity.
LinkedIn has also compiled this regularly updated list of companies currently hiring to meet increased demands.
Startup San Diego, CONNECT San Diego and San Diego: Life Changing, a division of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Council, has put together this list of companies with current job openings.
“Think about the functional areas that are being impacted,” said Mitchell Kam, Assistant Director of the Career Management Center. Ecommerce companies experiencing an increase in online orders are also experiencing an uptick of data. They’re likely to seek data analysts not just during the pandemic, but in the aftermath as well.
Create a job search plan.
While uncertainty can feel overwhelming, creating a plan can help you prioritize and take action. Kurtz recommended these three steps:
- Write down your goals. Where would you like to be professionally in the next three to five years? What short-term adjustments might you need to make to get there?
- Create a list of desired industries, roles, companies and locations. Include relevant advocates and contacts.
- Continue applying to jobs and follow up on your applications.
“Even if an interview process is put on pause, the good news is that you are likely to be considered when interviewing resumes,” Kurtz said. Be “politely persistent” as you follow up, and keep in mind that everyone you are in contact with is likely experiencing their own concerns about the pandemic.
Continue to network online.
Without the opportunity to attend in-person networking events or schedule casual coffee chats, a thoughtful online networking strategy is more important than ever. You may find your inbox bombarded with Zoom happy hour invitations, connection requests, or colleagues checking-in.
Kurtz recommended prioritizing your networking efforts according to your job search plan so that you can maximize your time and make the most meaningful online connections. “Companies need the right talent to help them move their business forward,” she said. Conversations with your network can help you learn early about new opportunities, or learn about ways in which a business is shifting its priorities.
“It’s a better time than ever to be reaching out on LinkedIn,” said Graduate Career Advisor Michelle Sedgwick. “A lot of us have been through ups and downs of the economy in the past and people want to be able to provide some support.”
Now is also a good time to make sure your LinkedIn profile (and website, if applicable), are up-to-date. When requesting new LinkedIn connections, be sure to include a brief message about why you’re interested in talking to them, and what you have in common. A little customization can go a long way, and gives a personal touch to electronic communication.
Upskill (in a way that makes sense for your goals).
Many online learning sites are currently offering free or discounted courses. Research which programs can get you closer to the goals you outlined in your job search plan. Students can arrange a meeting with Rady Career Management Center advisors to personalize their plan. Online learnings options to consider include:
Take care of yourself.
It’s absolutely normal to feel overwhelmed by this pandemic. As you continue your job search, remember to look out for your health, too. UC San Diego has compiled a list of resources for coping with coronavirus stress that includes tips for preserving your mental, physical and emotional health. Your well-being comes first!