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How to look for a job during the coronavirus pandemic

·Finance Editor
·3-min read
NOIDA, INDIA - 2020/03/21: In this photo illustration a female service employee working in Delhi and living in Noida works from home. With a rise in cases of Coronavirus, delhi government directs non-essential sectors to work from home till March 31 until further notice. (Photo Illustration by Manish Rajput/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
(Photo Illustration by Manish Rajput/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — As Singapore goes under a semi-lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus, many businesses are struggling and some have laid off workers to cut cost.

Last month, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said in a Facebook post that she expects job vacancies to fall further this year given the uncertainties.

According to global job recruiting site Glassdoor, workers in general are mentioning more layoffs and furloughs in their workplace reviews as the pandemic escalates. Still, new jobs are being posted by health agencies, companies and international organisations as they gear up to respond to the outbreak.

“The global jobs market is suffering sharp pains as a result of COVID-19. However, many companies are still hiring, with some in crucial industries even experiencing hiring surges,” said Jo Cresswell, careers expert at Glassdoor.

With the hiring opportunities in mind, Cresswell suggested several tips to job seekers amid the challenging business environment in an interview with Yahoo Finance Singapore.

Improve your CV

The first thing is make sure your CV is up to date and highlight soft and transferable skills if you are applying to a different role or industry, Cresswell said.

She also suggested emailing past colleagues and tapping connections on LinkedIn to let them know your job situation and see if they are able to make any recommendations for you.

Job seekers need to be adaptable and willing to consider a slightly different role or different industry, she added.

If no relevant roles are available currently, job seekers can consider taking on a temporary role, but one which offers potential to acquire new and complementary skills, Cresswell advised. Alternatively, they can consider roles which have the potential to turn into permanent jobs, she added.

“Unless a company has explicitly said it has implemented a hiring freeze, don’t be afraid of proactively putting yourself forward for current or future opportunities. Be clear in your cover letter what you have to offer, why now is a good time to consider you for a role and what your availability is.”

While waiting for companies to respond, take the opportunity from having more free time to learn new skills or strengthen existing ones, for example through online courses, to boost your chances of being hired.

Interview tips

When you finally land an interview with a company, here are some steps on how to prepare for it.

“It's important to think about how your qualifications for a new job come across over video as opposed to an in-person interview, with video interviews now the new normal,” Cresswell said.

Check your internet connection and test the video conference link prior to the interview, to ensure that they are in order.

Dress appropriately, as you would do during an in-person interview, and ensure your home background is tidy and uncluttered, Cresswell said. Be prepared by doing the usual pre-interview research, rehearse some key interview responses and stand by with questions to ask the interviewers.

Remember to send a follow up note after the interview, thanking the interviewers for their time, as you would after a face-to-face interview.

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