Looking for a Job or Internship During Covid-19?


The new normal, unprecedented, uncharted territory, and trying times are all phrases we’ve gotten used to hearing the past few months. Our current reality has called for all of us to become flexible with our plans and to adjust how we do things, including looking for jobs. Below are some tips to nail that virtual interview, deal with resume gaps, and more:


1. Get comfortable with remote interviews

For the foreseeable future, many job interviews will be online. That means you need to ensure that you look professional and engaging on the video call. Here are some items to watch as you prepare to hop on that call:

  • Put your computer on a box so that it rests at eye level

  • Find a place in your house that has an even source of light behind your camera (but not your back!). Sitting facing a window, or with lamps behind your computer are both good methods to create a even source of lighting

  • Watch for details like reflections on your eyeglasses

  • Look directly into the webcam to make eye contact

  • Dress professionally head to toe in case you need to stand up

  • Pick a clean, uncluttered background

  • Nod and smile more often than you think you need to

  • Using your hands can also help establish a emotional connection

2. Polish your resume for the bots

Many companies are using artificial intelligence, like Monster, Indeed ,or ZipRecruiter, to preform their initial screening of resumes. For the best chance of moving forward and getting your resume in front of a human:

  • Customize the resume for the particular job

  • Use the same key words as the job description (Using synonyms or jargon may cause machines to overlook potentially relevant information in your resume)

  • Focus on the last ten years of your career

  • Use two pages if you need them

  • No pictures

  • When in doubt, keep the graphic design of your resume simple

3. Don't read too much into job titles

Job titles can be cryptic and vary widely from organization to organization. Recruiters and career coaches will tell you to look past the title and think about the organization and desired skills. Remember: You don’t need 100 percent of what’s listed in the job description to qualify. You need to start by getting past the first screen and having a conversation with a human being to find out what the job really entails.


4. Look at the careers roles with a future

You want to pick a career path with longevity, right? Consider what recruiters say about fading and flourishing careers in your area of interest. A good place to start is the website O*NET Online (https://www.onetonline.org). Clemson students can access it for free and learn information about the outlook, skills, education, and earning potential for a variety of different careers.


5. Pump up your LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn often provides a recruiter’s or hiring manager’s first impression of you. Consider these steps to make your profile stand out:

  • Craft a compelling summary. Be sure to include recent, relevant, measurable achievements in your summary to stand out from the crowd of people who do what you do. These can include major accomplishments, metrics, or relevant projects you are proud of.

  • Focus on your skills section. Employers love skills! Include all technologies, software, and systems you have experience with.

  • Include links to personal projects. Have a portfolio? A link to a project or case study? Publish those.

  • Get a variety of recommendations. Include a recommendation not only from your boss, but also from a former colleague, vendor, or business partner. Switching up the perspective of the recommendations shows different sides of you as a working professional.

6. Emphasize soft skills and remote work experience

Amid the stress and remote reality of the pandemic, soft skills such as flexibility, listening, and empathy have never been more important. Showing demonstrable soft skills, which you can bring up in the course of discussing challenging projects and/or working relationships, can put you at the top of the candidate list. Additionally, if you already have significant experience working on teams remotely, that’s a big plus right now. Get ready to tell this story early in your interview, describing the challenges you faced and how you addressed them.

7. Mind the gaps

While job seekers have traditionally dreaded explaining gap time on their resumes, the reality is many people will have gaps in 2020 - whether due to a lack of internship opportunities, needing to care for family needs, or other challenges. Employers will be mindful of this and will likely understand why your resume isn’t as full as it would normally be. Still, be prepared to answer questions about how you filled this gap time, such as gaining additional skills, doing community service, pursuing a personal passion project, or earning new online certifications.


8. Use the Career Center!!

Clemson’s Michelin Career Center is top-ranked and offers many resources to help students succeed in finding a job. They host workshops and also have scheduled appointments available for students. Somme of their services include help with choosing a major or career path, editing of personal statements and graduate school essays, mock interviews, help with resumes and cover letters and in depth internship. Job search assistance. More information can be found on their website : https://career.sites.clemson.edu/michelin_career_center/career_development_recruiting/

Information used in this post comes from The Enterprisers Project (https://enterprisersproject.com/article/2020/8/how-get-job-during-covid-19-9-tips)