You can still hunt for jobs during the pandemic, and you can still communicate (remotely) with potential employers. Here’s how!
If you’re baffled by all the intricacies of job hunting in the time of COVID-19, you are far from alone. With record numbers of unemployed people, uncertain job prospects, and no end to the pandemic in sight, millions of people are getting to grips with remote job hunting. Whether you’re unsure about video conferencing etiquette or wondering how best to reach out to a hiring manager, you’re not the only person currently having these worries.
Fortunately, we have modern technology to help us. We’ve put together a few of our top tips to help you communicate with prospective employers remotely while you search for your next job.
Let’s dive in!
If in doubt, start with email
Most professional communication happens over email nowadays. So if you’re trying to reach out to a prospective employer and you’re not sure how they prefer to be contacted, email is a good place to start. Check their company website or LinkedIn for an email address.
If you can’t find one, you have a couple of options. You can use an online email finder service (many have a free trial available that you can use), find them on LinkedIn and drop them a message to ask for their professional email address, or call the company and ask how to get in touch with the appropriate person.
Communicate the way they prefer
People have different communication preferences and, when you’re trying to speak with a prospective employer, you need to respect their preference. For example, if you send them a direct message on LinkedIn and they ask you to email them instead, do so. If they say that any queries must go through their online application system, use that.
Communicating with someone according to their preferences, even if it’s not what you’d ideally like, shows that you respect the time they are setting aside to talk to you. It also increases your chances of getting a positive response.
While no-one is expecting you to be answering emails at every hour of the day and night, you do need to respond fairly quickly to any communications from your prospective employer. This shows that you are keen and reliable. As a basic rule of thumb, don’t let more than 24 hours lapse between receiving a message from a prospective employer and responding to it. Ideally, if it comes in during the working day, you’d respond much more quickly.
Pro tip: if you’re going to be unable to reply for a longer period of time than usual, for example because you’re traveling, use an email auto responder. This will let the person know you aren’t ignoring them and when they can expect a reply.
Always be polite and respectful
Prospective employers are busy people. Therefore, if they make the time to speak to you, always be polite and respectful. You don’t have to be overly deferential, but you should always be courteous and show appreciation. A simple “thank you for your time, I really appreciate all the information” can go a long way, for example.
Remember: you want them to hire you! Being the kind of person who is pleasant to be around and easy to communicate with is one of the best ways to make the right impression.
Keep it brief
Again: the people you’d like to work for are busy. Keep your communications concise. They don’t have time to wade through hundreds of words to figure out what you want when you send them an email or a LinkedIn message. Instead, get to the point and say what you want to say in as few words as possible.
Brush up on your video conferencing etiquette
Video calls are more popular than ever thanks to the COVID-19 crisis. A prospective employer may well prefer a video call as their method of communication with you. At the point of interview, you’ll certainly be expected to appear on video if face-to-face interviews are still not possible.
Here are a few key “Zoom etiquette” points to be aware of:
- Sit in a space with good light and minimal background noise.
- Test your tech beforehand to make sure everything works.
- Ensure you won’t be disturbed.
- Dress professionally.
- Look straight at the camera and smile.
- Never attempt to multitask during a video call.
- Never talk over the other person.
Nervous about your first video interview or video call with a prospective employer? Ask a friend or family member to jump online and do a “mock interview” with you.
Finally, you don’t need to pretend to be someone else when you communicate with prospective employers. Of course, you need to be professional and put your best self forward. But don’t put on a front or pretend to be something you’re not.