How COVID-19 is ushering in the digital new frontier

In the short span of just a few months, most of our lives have changed completely. We still don’t know just yet what will come back, what won’t, and how we’ll deal with what comes next. As a country, we shifted from “things look pretty good” to “worst economy since the Great Depression” with alarming speed. With so much unemployment and uncertainty now dominating our lives, how do you try to prepare for what comes next in your career? As we look to a post-pandemic future and getting back to work, here are some ways your job search will be dominated by the new digital frontier.

Don’t wait for everything to “open up”

Many states are still under official stay-at-home orders. But as much of the country starts to consider phased re-openings, some companies are planning to resume business as well—even in “closed” areas. If you’re newly unemployed (or were searching before life as we knew it derailed), you may already feel discouraged about the opportunities out there, knowing how much is shut down right now. But you might be surprised at the chances to work remotely or to get your foot in the door as companies start to ramp up their staffing plans.

Now is the time to get back into a more normal job search mode, scouring job boards and company websites to see what jobs are starting to open up—even if brick-and-mortar workplaces are still closed.

Use this time to work on your digital brand

Some people are nurturing sourdough starters to bake bread, while others find themselves teaching math to their kids. Whatever your new routines have become during this quarantine time, reviewing and improving your digital brand is a good habit to build into your days. When is the last time you brushed up your LinkedIn profile? Could your old Twitter account be tweaked to show off your professional interests and engagement? What comes up when you Google yourself?

By making sure your online presence looks good, you’ll be an even better candidate for job opportunities when they come up. With a reduced-contact hiring process, companies are likely to do more thorough digital vetting than ever, so it’s a good idea to make sure you’re already in good shape. This is also a chance to learn new skills by taking advantage of online courses or tutorials to help you build out your brand.

Expect video interviews to be the new norm

As companies start to reopen and reassess what their staffing needs will be in this rebuilding era, you can expect to see more of the Zoom-ification we’ve been experiencing. Social distancing and travel restrictions will absolutely mean fewer in-person interviews and more phone/video chat/Skype-style interviews.

How you prep for these interviews will change too. You’ll still need classic interview skills like (virtual) eye contact and small talk, but others (like a strong handshake) may be gone for a long time—if not forever. You’ll want to practice not only in the mirror, but also in a FaceTime dry run, to see how you come across onscreen.

Video interviews also mean embracing one of the hardest (and often hilarious) lessons of the Zoom era: making sure you’re not showing anything embarrassing. You don’t want your job interview going viral due to wayward pets, kids, or inappropriate background noises. Make sure you have a calm, quiet space where you can conduct video interviews as necessary. (And always, always wear pants, just to be on the safe side!)

Be prepared to work from home

As we rebuild and reopen, companies will be facing a new reality when it comes to their workforce. While industries like food service and healthcare will always have a significant in-person component, many industries have quickly developed and implemented work-from-home strategies to meet urgent public health needs. This means that some of us may not set foot in a traditional office for a long time, as companies shift to a more digital-centric strategy for their facilities and offices.

This year has presented so many of us with the biggest challenges of our lives—medically, economically, socially. Still, the world is resilient. Although things might look a little different moving forward, it’s vital to be ready to get back to work, no matter what your situation may look like.