Career Tips to Succeed During the COVID-19 Pandemic

These are not ordinary times and you will likely need to stretch your comfort zone and adapt to how the world has changed. For many, professional growth plans and career launch strategies must also change. Companies you’re interested in may not be hiring right now, as entire sectors are being reconfigured and overturned. Adopt a practical approach and align your job search with organizations that are still hiring. You will need to compromise and make changes, but this resiliency will set you up for long-term success.

Make updating your resume as much of a priority as checking your social media profile. This should be a regular practice as you gain experiences and acquire more skills.  Align everything with the positions you’re looking for now and tailor your resume to the role. To assure you differentiate between resumes and the roles you are applying to without sending one off to the wrong company (same goes for cover letters), save them with your name and the company name to eliminate any errors. This also helps track what you sent to whom.

 Basic Resume Types:

  1. Chronological Resumes: These are generally standard for those who have about three to five years of experience within the same field and role.
  2. Functional or Combination Resumes: These types place your relevant skills in priority order rather than listing professional roles. In these times, it may be beneficial to use this format to highlight transferrable skills. It may prove helpful to a search committee when they are deciding if you are a fit for the position.

Next, consider changing or adding a summary statement or objective to your resume. This will certainly assist in providing some information on your current status, especially in these times. It can be a simple sentence or two that briefly highlights the impact you can make based on the skills you have as well as the type of employee you are. Examples of a summary statement and objective during the COVID-19 job search could be written in the following ways:

Summary Statement: Resourceful marketing manager, highly experienced in the arts and communications and experienced with creating impactful messaging in print. I have been part of strategic communications that yielded successful results by meeting deadlines and goals.

  1. Adjective Describing Work Ethic: Resourceful
  2. Occupation/Field: Marketing Manager
  3. Skillset Expertise Sentence: Highly experienced in the arts and communications and experienced with creating impactful messaging in print. I have been part of strategic communications that yielded successful results by meeting deadlines and goals.

 Objective: Award-winning professional in the banking industry with expertise as a financial journalist. I am seeking to leverage expert knowledge of the investment industry in a client-focused role, where I have a direct impact on the financial success of the individual portfolio for long-term growth.

  1. Action Word Describing Demonstrated Expertise: Award-winning
  2. Occupation/Field Transition: Professional in the banking industry with expertise as a financial journalist
  3. How to Leverage Transferrable Skills: Seeking to leverage expert knowledge of the investment industry in a client-focused role.

In these two examples, you see how transferrable skills and achievements are rolled into the position you’re applying for. You want the resume reviewers to see that what you have to offer makes you a unique candidate. These tips are especially helpful for individuals working in a field that is directly impacted by COVID-19 and who need to find work in another type of job. Making your resume easy to review is important because, on average, the time someone looks over a resume is shockingly only seconds before they move on to the next.

Resume quick tip suggestions:

  1. Use a professional basic font (Times New Roman or Arial) no smaller than 10 point.
  2. Maintain an appropriate number of pages based on relevant experience and omit anything that is outdated or irrelevant.
  3. Have succinct margins; use about ½ inch to 1 inch for easy reading.
  4. Place skills closer to the top of the resume if the job description indicates a need for something specific. If you are making a career change, this area can go above your relevant work experience.
  5. Place education at the top for recent graduates with none or little experience. If you have a few years of experience, education can go toward the bottom. Those with more than five years of experience can remove dates of attendance, GPA, etc.

Searching for a new job due to the impact of COVID-19? Check out these helpful sites:

Virtual Interviewing:

Companies Hiring & Job Boards:

Excelsior Job & Internship Board Resources:

Job Fairs:

 We know that this is not the world in which you thought you’d be seeking an internship, graduating and finding a job, or making a job change. In the last few months we’ve seen unprecedented change to the workforce and labor market. In a short period of time the market has reinvented itself as entire industries have been impacted by the devastating effect of COVID-19. Seeking employment in your field or even an internship is different. The entire workforce has been turned upside-down, hiring freezes have been instituted across industries and sectors, and unemployment has risen rapidly. You may need to pivot toward working in an industry you did not expect to simply because it is the most viable option. It is also critical to take the time to develop your technical skills now more than ever. The pandemic is going to change the world of work as we know it.

 Tammy Spenziero is the director of Career Services