Adulting 101: Job Search Tips During the Pandemic

Alan Luga

April 21, 2021

The transition I had from student to young professional was one of the most difficult seasons I’ve personally gone through. When I think about it, the thing that made it so difficult was that student-life is completely different from the life of a fresh grad or a young professional.

For example, I needed to get used to changes of schedule and workloads ending every sem to having a more rigid schedule and workload. Consequences of poor work ethic and performance do not just reflect a grade for a subject that can be retaken if necessary, but could lead to termination. Even our relationships would have to adjust to our work-life balance. 

Now, when I look at the batches that are graduating these days, not only do you have to go through everything that I had to go through, but you have to do all these in the middle of a pandemic. Honestly, I can’t imagine how tough that is.

My hope is that with these tips, we can help alleviate some of the difficulty ahead of you. Your journey to changing the world continues here!

Your Resume

Your resume is most likely the first point of contact with your potential employer. This simple document is crucial because it’s what recruiters look at to determine if you’re the person fit for the job and company. These best practices can influence how excellent your resume can be.

1. Keep it brief and only retain essential highlights.

Most recruiters read through hundreds of different resumes with an average of 7.4 seconds per resume. Make sure to draw their attention to your most relevant skills and experiences.

2. Keep the layout simple and easy to read.

Fit your resume in a single page (or two at most), with white background, clear headings, and short bullet points. Describe your skills and experiences briefly and accurately to avoid blocks of text. There are exceptions in certain industries where creative layouts and attached portfolios are necessary.

3. Be descriptive, but concise.

Don’t simply put the roles you’ve had or achievements you’ve accomplished. It’s likely that recruiters won’t know what they mean. Instead, describe those activities in a way that displays skills/experiences relevant to the work you’re applying for. 

For example, “Technical Director – Led a team of 5 people in the operation and execution of the audio-visual, technical, and stage management of a weekly event attended by about 300 students” is a much better description than “Youth Service Technical Director.”

4. Make each resume you send unique to every job application.

Read through the job description and research the company you’re applying for. Tailor fit your resume by highlighting necessary skills and experiences relevant to that job.

5. Proofread!

This tip cannot be reiterated enough. Double check for typographical errors and grammar. Ask help from your friends or family. They might see something you’ve missed.

Your Interviews

Interviews are a great place to show you’re fit for the job. Use this opportunity to expound on the skills and qualities you’ve written on your resume. Keep these in mind so you can do well in your interviews.

1. Think of interviews as a storytelling session.

To deal with my nerves during interviews, I imagine them as opportunities to tell my stories. These stories reflect who you are, especially now that employers are also looking at how the pandemic changed and shaped you as a person. 

Interviewers are genuinely interested in you and your thought process, so don’t think too much about the right or wrong answers.

2. Match your tone with theirs.

There’s no one-size-fits-all method in doing an interview. A good rule of thumb is to match your tone with your interviewers’. If they’re hyper-professional, then emulate that as best you can. If they’re casual, then you can also relax a bit (while trying to avoid being unprofessional). 

3. Study your own resume.

Look through all the details you wrote on your resume. Prepare to tell the stories behind them. Those details are probably the reason you got your interview, so it’s good to be ready to tell interviewers more about them.

4. Study the company you’re interviewing for.

Interviews are one of the places where you’re assessed for “culture fit,” so it’s a good idea to know what kind of culture you’re getting yourself into. If you know someone who works there, ask for tips! Knowing a lot about the company shows you’re serious about your application.

5. Prepare your “emergency” stories.

Before coming into the interview, reflect on your key experiences/stories during your student life that display essential qualities. (These don’t have to be in your resume, but can be).

For example, if you have experience with team leadership, conflict management, and critical thinking, then keep those stories in mind. If you get asked about these, you won’t be frazzled to come up with a story from thin air. Other essential qualities to think about are dealing with failure, lack of resources, and unexpected situations.

6. Be ready to answer and ask common questions.

The interview is also a great place for you to assess the job and decide if you really want to work there. One of the most common questions that employers ask is your expected salary. The best way to answer this is to give a range and to research on a reasonable salary for an entry level position. 

For more tips on how to answer common interview questions, click here.

If offered the chance, ask about the culture, the team, and the day-to-day life in the office. This will not just help you know the company better but will also help you give a better impression of yourself.

The Job Hunting Cycle

One thing you need to remember is that it might take a while for you to get a job offer. This is normal.

Please remember that companies are not assessing your quality as a person. Rather, they’re checking if your skills and personality fit well with the job that they are offering. If you don’t get accepted, it doesn’t mean that you’re not smart, excellent, or valuable. In most cases, it just means that there’s a job out there that you’re a better fit for.

God has a plan for you! You graduating in this season is a part of that plan, so stay in faith and hope that everything will fall into place, even in an ongoing pandemic.

You’ve dedicated time thriving in and changing the campus. Now, you can continue changing the world in the workplace! We’re rooting for you, worldchanger!




The Author

Alan Luga

Alan is a marketing and market research consultant. His passion for the next generation began as a member of ENC UPD. After graduating, he pursued his vision to see the power of the gospel in the marketplace, believing that Christ is the hope of this nation. He volunteers in multiple Victory churches in Metro Manila and leads a Victory Group of other young professionals in BGC.