Career advice

Updating your resume to succeed in the post-COVID job market

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to fade at last, shops and restaurants are open again, and most businesses have resumed their pre-coronavirus operations. Unemployment is at record low levels right now, meaning there are plenty of opportunities out there. However, you might have to tweak your job search strategies in order to land one of them.

The job search post-COVID isn't the same as it was before the pandemic. There has been a massive upswing in remote work, virtual job interviews, and new health and safety protocols to consider. Plus, because many companies have changed the way they work, they are also seeking different aptitudes and skillsets in candidates.

In order to succeed in today's job market, you need to demonstrate in your resume that you have the skills employers are looking for, or you risk losing out to competing candidates who have more effectively adapted their applications to the current conditions.

The economy, changing job descriptions, and the lingering effects that COVID-19 has had on the workplace have all impacted the types of staff and skills employers need. Here's how to update your resume for the port-pandemic job search.

Downplay your location

Traditionally, one might list their home address along with their contact information at the top of their resume. Strictly speaking, this hasn't been necessary for quite a while, even before the pandemic. No modern employer responds to a resume by mailing a letter to the candidate.

However, hiring professionals still generally wanted to know where candidates were located. Often there has been a bias towards more local applicants. The rule of thumb was that the closer you lived to the workplace, the greater an asset your address would be on an application. Conversely, the further away you lived, the greater the liability.

COVID-19 has changed this dynamic, however. The pandemic had more and more organizations embracing remote work to maintain operations throughout the lockdowns. Many have continued to support remote working arrangements even after the crisis abated. There were efficiency, productivity, and employee retention gains to be had, once it was proven that working from home was a viable alternative. This also greatly expanded the pool of talent available to employers in a tight labour market.

So, your resume can now appeal to a greater audience of potential employers beyond the local businesses in your field of work. List your contact information as just your phone number and email address. It also isn't necessary to state the physical location of your past employers. Identify the companies you worked for in your employment history and when you worked there, but don't emphasize their region.

Results matter (more than ever)

It has always been important to emphasize accomplishments over job duties on your resume. It is your particular achievements in a role that set you apart from other candidates who have held similar positions. This is more crucial than ever in the post-COVID job search.

That is because the pandemic's remote working and physical distancing requirements had many people working more independently than ever before over the past two years. With less supervision and collaboration, the measure of the value of your work is not the time put in or the duties performed, but the results you delivered.

Remote work separated those employees who could be self-disciplined, perform independently, and be productive at home from those who struggled to achieve results without having someone looking over their shoulder at the office.

Demonstrate your self-sufficiency by highlighting your top individual achievements in your work history – particularly for the past two years. The most effective way to do this is to use numbers wherever possible.

- Developed relationships with 75 new customers.
- Exceeded sales targets by 25 percent.
- Increased email conversion rates by 33 percent.

Focus on the accomplishments most relevant to the job you are applying for.

Here is a detailed look at how to write job descriptions in your resume

Cover your pandemic-related gaps

While employers have sometimes seen gaps between employment on a resume as a red flag, this is less of an issue for the pandemic years. Many people found themselves out of work for periods of time through no fault of their own as businesses shuttered or struggled to deal with the global health crisis and government mandates.

While you don't usually include reasons for leaving a job on your resume, if you were let go because of the pandemic, include that information.

You can also include any other productive activities you pursued during the lockdowns if you were not working. These could include freelance or volunteer work, acquiring new skills, or any other ways that you were proactive and made use of the time. For example:

- After focusing on homeschooling my two children during the COVID-19 pandemic, I am excited for the opportunity to return to the fast-paced sales environment I thrive in.

- After using the COVID-19 period to acquire advanced coding and graphic design skills, I can now offer my marketing analytics experience along with practical campaign implementation abilities.

See more on how to handle COVID-19 gaps on your resume

Show your flexibility and adaptability

The workplace underwent a great deal of change over the past two years. This has caused employers to place a premium on workers with the demonstrated capability to manage change and adapt to shifting working conditions and expectations.

Some employers are continuing with remote work for many positions, others are calling their staff back to the office, and others have adopted a hybrid working model where employees split their time between home and work. Demonstrating that you are flexible in your willingness and ability to be productive in any situation opens up the maximum number of doors to you.

If you worked through the pandemic, explain how you adapted and stayed productive while adjusting your workstyle to the changing conditions. Evidence of your change in management skills can be an important asset for impressing employers in today's job market.

State in your resume and cover letter that you are open to both remote and on-site work. Being flexible to work the shifts that are available in the working arrangements that the company prefers will make you a much more desirable candidate than any who are less open or accommodating.

Highlight the desired skills

The majority of employers across sectors in the post-pandemic world are looking for employees who are self-sufficient and can also work well with others, who can solve problems, adapt to change and succeed under pressure, and who are tech savvy enough to use the latest platforms for a combined virtual and in-person working environment.

Both written and verbal communication skills are critical for remote or hybrid work and are generally in demand across industries.

There are many jobs available right now in the hospitality and customer service sectors, and the healthcare industry is experiencing labour shortage conditions. Companies in most other sectors are struggling to replace staff they lost during The Great Resignation and make up for time lost during the pandemic. So, there is an abundance of opportunities available to job seekers right now.

COVID-19 drastically impacted the way we work. Seizing the moment of post-pandemic growth to make a career change just requires a few updates to your resume to reflect you are keeping up with the times.

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