As a former hiring manager in IT, I look for people who do more and go beyond just the minimum. During this unprecedented time in our lives, one of the questions I would definitely ask in order to distinguish between candidates is “what have you been doing since mid-March?”
Of course everyone’s circumstances are different so there is not one answer, for instance some people have taken on the role of teacher at home. What a hiring manager will be looking for in your answer is what you have done in the weeks or months to maintain and grow your skills.
To be competitive, you need to have a good answer to this question. Even if all you have done to date is binge watch shows, gain the Covid-19 pounds by overeating, and sleeping in, it is not too late to develop a truthful answer that will help you stand out. Here are several no-cost ideas.
1) Sign up for and “attend” free webinars on key topics in your industry or for your profession. To find these events, search the internet for the name of your industry or job title and the word “association”. Many groups which normally meet in person are now holding webinars.
2) Search the internet for “free training” on the topic you want or need to learn.
If the training requires you to have certain software, also search “free trial copy” and the name of the software. Many companies will give you a trial copy of the software for 30 days. (Hint: do not download the software until you are ready to use it because the countdown begins when you download it, not when you first use it).
Then to structure that training, go to sites where they charge for training on that topic and copy their syllabus into a list so you know what topics to learn and in what order.
3) Read the articles posted in the LinkedIn groups for your industry. To find these groups, click in the search bar of LinkedIn and select the Groups option that appears below the search bar.
Then in the search bar type in the name of your industry. Once you find groups of interest, request to join. It may take a while for your request to get approved because it is normally volunteers who monitor and process requests.
Once you are approved, click on the Work icon (the one that looks like a Rubik’s cube), select Groups, then select the group and read the articles.
This is the time to get ready for the job search and that includes preparing for your answers to interview questions. I refer to myself as the “queen of analogies” and my Covid-19 analogy is this: if you want the toilet paper, you need to be in the front of the line before they run out (i.e. before the few good jobs get filled).
The Affordable and Successful Job Search Coach