We are living through unusual times in our country. As businesses and people with visual impairments adapt to the coronavirus, so too does the job search and hiring process. Companies are still hiring, but the interview process has changed. Hiring has gone virtual. Interviews are being conducted by phone and video platforms such as Skype, Zoom and GoToMeeting. Successful blind and visually impaired job seekers are creative, flexible and patient. You must remain positive and driven in your job search because your hard work and efforts will pay off. Here are some helpful ways to successfully job search during a pandemic.
Understand that job searching is full-time work
Fruitful job searching is a full-time job. Apply the same urgent, proactive nature you would use while executing a project for your boss. Check job boards daily, reach out to recruiters and contacts after submitting your application. Since we are in the midst of a pandemic, it is best to apply for more positions than during normal times. Spread your net wide and leave no stone unturned. Make time each day to exhaust all avenues.
Keep your digital presence current
Times have changed and a resume is no longer enough. Your personal brand is also online and you need to manage it well. Social media gives applicants the opportunity to build a digital snapshot to present prospective employers before the interview. Evaluate your social media platforms. Update and clean up any information that might be an employment barrier.
Reach out to your network
Since most people are staying close to home, reach out to your contacts. People you have already met through online networking can be a good source of job leads. Let your connections know that you are searching and be specific about the types of employment opportunities you are seeking.
You can also attend online networking events hosted by professional organizations and alumni chapters. Interact with like-minded people on Facebook or LinkedIn groups. Learn and share new skills and job search tips. Find a mentor to help guide you through the job searching process and share career development strategies. Check resources for the blind and visually impaired like APH CareerConnect and the NFB Career Mentoring Program.
Applying for jobs online
As part of the job search process, you will probably have to fill out an online job application, create a profile or access a web portal. You might also have to upload your resume and cover letter. These platforms should be accessible to people who are blind and visually impaired. Look for sites such as Monster, LinkedIn and Indeed that have communicated their commitment to making their online experience accessible. If you need assistance with adaptive technology to access these websites, reach out to Outlook’s adaptive technology trainers.
Be aware of online job scams
As you apply for jobs online, be mindful of common job scams. They take advantage of job seekers in a variety of ways such as collecting confidential information for identity theft, getting you to cash fraudulent checks, wiring or sending money, or getting you to pay for services or supplies. Job scams are posted on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and job searching sites like LinkedIn. You may also receive unsolicited emails from scammers. It's important to be watchful and carefully look over every job you're interested in to make sure it's legitimate.
Attend a virtual job fair
Several organizations host accessible virtual job fairs. Dust off your resume and sign up for an upcoming fair. You will receive a schedule of events and a list of participating companies and job openings. Depending on the fair, you could hear from the hiring managers about company culture, overall goals and types of candidate qualifications. Always remember to follow up with the hosts or hiring managers afterward.
Prepare for a virtual interview
A virtual job interview takes place remotely. It can be over the phone or video conferencing and other online communication platforms. To prepare for a virtual interview, test your computer’s microphone and video camera. Be sure your computer and Wi-Fi connections are running smoothly. Dress professionally, use appropriate body language and facial expressions, just as if you are conducting an in-person interview. Do your homework prior to the appointment. Learn about the company and be prepared with your own interview questions. On the day of the interview, set up your equipment in a quiet place and let family and friends know that you are conducting a job interview. Remember to send a follow-up or thank you note for the interview.
Job searching during COVID-19 isn’t anyone’s idea of fun. However, if you approach it as an opportunity, instead of an obstacle, you may land a job offer faster than you thought. Employers are always looking for problem-solvers who are adaptable, flexible, and have a positive attitude. These soft skills demonstrate to employers that you’re more than your resume. You’re someone who can help drive the team to success. What better time to demonstrate these skills than job searching during a pandemic?