4 Thoughts About Job Searching in 2021

Feb 19, 2021 | Job Search Help

The new year has begun, and for a lot of people, it’s scary enough to be looking for a job under normal circumstances. With all of the unexpected world events of 2020, a lot of people aren’t sure what that means for the job search in 2021. This leaves them feeling even more intimidated and scared.

This week, I wanted to share with you my thoughts about what you can expect if you are job searching in 2021. Hopefully, this will help you know what to expect and make things a little less intimidating.

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Being upfront, these thoughts are a collection of personal opinions educated by observations and conversations. Much of what is shared in this blog may not come to fruition, but hopefully, it gives you an idea of what you can expect moving forward.

Video Interviews are here to stay … even after the pandemic

Video interview use is on the rise. Its rising use as an interview medium was already happening before the pandemic. I saw them being used more for preliminary interviews before the pandemic. However, for obvious reasons their use has increased dramatically since the beginning of the pandemic.

Even if pandemic restrictions are eased, it will remain the preferred method in 2021 because It will take time for people to feel comfortable meeting in person again. Over time, we will see employers go back to doing some in-person interviews. There is a feeling about meeting in-person that video cannot replace.

That said, it seems likely that in-person interviews will not be used as much as they were before the pandemic.  Seeing as more and more employers were using video interviews before the pandemic, this trend will continue even after employers go back to some in-person interviews again. The convenience of video makes it easier to arrange interviews from anywhere.

Also, more and more people are embracing ‘Work from Anywhere’. Its existence alone defaults to a video interview.

All of these factors mean that video interviews are here to stay in 2021 no matter what happens next with COVID-19.

If you need help getting comfortable using the video interview medium, we can help!

Applicant Tracking Systems will be even more dominant

Applicant Tracking Systems (or, ATS) are tools that employers use to help with application administration. They are commonly used by employers to accept applications for job postings, then to perform an initial sort of all the resumes and CVs received to whittle them down. They help employers sort applications by scanning the online application or the resume/CV attached to the application for certain keywords that match what they are looking for.

Many companies no longer accept resumes dropped off in person and ask applicants to apply online. This has reduced the ability of applicants to gain interviews through making a personal connection when dropping off their resume. The game has become about tailoring your resume to get selected by an ATS.

That said, people were still able to use networking opportunities to meet people within organizations before the pandemic. Often these networking opportunities may have led to offers to get your resume to a recruiter within the organization. With the pandemic canceling many in-person events, many of those networking opportunities are canceled as well. Chance meetings in the community are fewer, also.

Bottom line: fewer social opportunities means less networking.

This means most applicants will need to get used to making sure the relevant keywords stick out in their applications and resumes. Bear in mind, one should only highlight a keyword if it is a skill they truthfully possess. If you game the ATS, you will get caught in the interview!

It’s a better job market than most people realize

Lots of people have been thinking about making career changes during the pandemic. However, lots of people I’ve talked to who are making career change plans are also waiting for the economic outlook to improve before taking action. This tells me that the labour market will slowly get flooded with more people as optimism in the economy improves and people finally decide to act on their career change plans.

This means lots of eligible people are sitting out. That makes it a good time to hit the job market. Consider this: a simple LinkedIn search for job postings yielded over 23,000 jobs in Alberta alone. There are lots of jobs out there now, and fewer people on the market than there likely will be in 6-12 months from now. With that many jobs out there and that many people sitting out, it’s a great time to be applying. Many people I know who have applied for jobs have been able to find employment.

All of this may be empty speculation and there may not be a flood of applicants once the economy improves. It also may well be that there will be a flood of jobs once things re-open. Those two elements might mean your chances are better 6-12 months from now. Even if that ends up being the reality, It is still a good idea to press on with your job search no matter the economic condition. Get off the sidelines as soon as you can.

Job searching is an iterative process with many learnings along the way. These are lessons you’ll need to learn no matter when you get started. Even if the situation will make it easier to get a job 6-12 months from now, would you rather wait to learn those lessons until then? Or does it make sense to start learning those lessons now while everyone else is sitting on the bench?

The bottom line is this: don’t let gloomy economic news deter you from doing what you need to do before it’s too late.

Optimism that the economy will bounce back quick, meaning more jobs

This is purely speculative opinion. This recession will not last as long as others have. Hear me out.

In general, we can expect to face a recession once around every 10 years. Many times, those recessions are triggered by deep issues with the financial system. The most notable recent example is the 2008 Recession. Usually, it takes time for these issues to be corrected.

In this case, there is no financial bubble that has burst. We simply have forced people and businesses to sit on the sidelines due to COVID-19. People are ready and able to work. People also want to be able to go out and patronize businesses once again. Once the economy is re-opened by respective governments, there will be people itching to work and pent up demand for products that have not been as easy to get. These two factors could very much cause the recession to be over quickly.

I know this does not mean that all the jobs that were lost due to the pandemic are just magically coming back and things will go back exactly as they were. However, there are people ready to consume and people on the sidelines ready to create. Both of these things will create economic activity, which in turn will bolster the economy. This means more jobs on the market.

Many people may be able to poke holes in this theory, and they may be right. However, this is one optimistic way to look at the economy right now from someone who likes to live an optimistic life. In my mind, this means there is hope for the job search.

Hopefully these thoughts about how world conditions in 2021 will affect the job search are helpful to you on your job search journey.

Remember, these are opinions based on observation intended to help you know what you can expect from job searching in 2021.

Your insights and thoughts on this would be most welcome via email at tim@bestculturesolutions.ca.

Also, if you need any help navigating your job search journey, I am here for you!

Tim Dyck
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