8 Tips for Executives to Manage Their Job Search During COVID-19

Kai Sieng Fung

“Are the firms still hiring?” “Should I still look for a job or should I just take a break from job search?”

If these questions have crossed your mind, you are not alone. 

Although hiring has slowed down, there is a general consensus among a number of professionals from different sectors that it has not completely stopped. 

Firms which are in healthcare, supply chain, FMCG, tech firms (social media, online store, food delivery), edutech, telco, video conferencing and essential services, have benefited or can weather this crisis better. 

It is important to note that this is not the time to lose focus and give in to negativity. This is the time to increase your resilience and maintain your focus.

1. Anticipate and process your emotions

You will experience ups and downs. Anticipate that emotional rollercoaster ride and you will be better prepared. Mindfulness and meditation can help to deal with emotions. For example, you can take advantage of Online Mindfulness Sessions and other services organised by INSEAD.

2. Reach out to your support system

When you are feeling down, it is important to talk about it to your family and/or friends. They can provide much needed emotional support. In addition, you can also reach out to your career coach who can partner you to support you during your job search and manage your feelings during this uncertain time.

3. Take stock but never lose your focus

If you find that you need some time off to take stock and recalibrate, you can work on your pitch, CV or LinkedIn. In addition, this is an ideal time to identify and apply to those industries that can weather the pandemic crisis well. Thus, it is important not to lose your focus and motivation to find a job.

4. Focus on quality (vs. quantity)

During this time, it is important to focus your applications on the right roles / jobs. It is not helpful to send your CV to multiple roles. Targeted job search is still key for experienced executives.

5. Show that you can connect the dots

During any time of a sluggish yet competitive job market, it is important to show that you are a creative problem solver. You can be more proactive, showing that you can connect the dots and solve the pain points of the firms when you talk and engage with potential employers remotely.

6. Engage in virtual networking

Many people out there including your contacts, alumni and hiring managers are working from home. You can reach out for an exploratory chat to selective people to engage and network with them virtually. You never know - some of them may have some time in their work week at home to just talk, even though it may not necessarily be about jobs. It’s still a good way to sow seeds for the future.

7. Be adaptable

This is a time when you have to be adaptable since everyone is working remotely. You may have to take part in a number of virtual interviews and phone interviews. Always be prepared and practice to show your value virtually.

8. Be agile and flexible

Short-term projects and contract work can be a way for you to pivot. Take note of your top transferable skills and you can start looking for short-term projects and contract work that can help you to launch yourself in your next role.

Even though we still do not know when this crisis will be over, you can choose hope and look at the glass as being half full (vs. half empty).

By equipping yourself with the steps above, you will come out of this crisis with more clarity and confidence in your career.