6 Health and Safety Tips for Jobseekers During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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The COVID-19 pandemic has changed practically all aspects of most Filipinos’ lives, no matter if it’s about interacting with other people, traveling, working,  or having fun.. Even the process of looking for suitable employment has become even more challenging, especially in the Philippines. 

Local job seekers must deal with limited opportunities and stiff competition as thousands of businesses have either shut down or significantly reduced their workforce because of the health crisis. They must also learn how to look for a job without exposing themselves to the virus, something that pre-COVID applicants never experienced. 

Perhaps, you are one of the millions of Filipinos who want to land a suitable position in a company without compromising your health and safety. If so, read on. This piece will give you practical pointers on how you can limit your exposure to the COVID-19 virus as you look for Philippine jobs in the new normal.

When Searching and Applying for a Position

Finding job opportunities that match your skills and educational background increases your chance of landing a position that will give you career satisfaction and success. Stay safe when searching and applying for your dream post by keeping the following tips in mind:

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Use Job Search Websites and Portals

Instead of going out to meet friends or job hunters to learn about employment opportunities, it is best to rely on online technologies to limit your exposure to people outside your household—at least for the time being. Keep in mind that people with COVID-19 can be contagious even if they are not showing symptoms. Why would you take the risk when you can use job search websites to find job listings in the comfort and safety of your own home? Besides helping you stay COVID-free, using job portals and websites also affords you access to more information about job openings from different sectors and companies that you cannot acquire anywhere else.

Apply Online and Request for a Virtual Interview

Again, to limit your interaction with strangers and reduce the likelihood of getting infected, try sending your application documents online. Make sure to tailor your resume to the position you are applying for so that hiring managers can readily see how your skills and experiences fit the job requirements. It will also help you stand out amongst the competition and boost your chances of landing an interview. 

As you edit your resume, be sure to write a brilliant cover letter that pretty much sums up why you are the perfect candidate for the position. Make it concise and impactful. More importantly, end your letter with a request for a virtual interview. Try mentioning the practical implications of this approach, given the current COVID-19 situation, but be careful not to come across as too forceful. Remember that you are merely requesting, and the final decision still lies with the hiring manager.

When Going for an In-Person Interview 

While most employers would likely accommodate your request for an online interview, some companies may not be able to do so, perhaps due to technological limitations or they genuinely need to meet you in person. If you agree to visit their office for an in-person interview, here are several pointers you may want to consider to protect yourself from the COVID-19 virus, aside from wearing a face mask, of course:

Use a Private Car or Taxi 

Although you may save a few pesos by taking the train, bus, or jeepney, doing so will increase your risk of getting exposed to the virus as you will share a ride with numerous strangers. Given the situation, your safety should always be your top priority above all else. Even if you wear face coverings to protect yourself, isn’t it better to choose the safer option if there is one? It pays to be cautious when it comes to COVID-19 since it spreads easily.  

That said, it is indeed more sensible to use your own car or to hire a taxi or a TNVS vehicle to go to your interview appointment. If you opt for the latter, remember to keep your face mask on at all times, ride in the backseat, and pay using contactless payment methods to reduce your risk of contracting the virus.

Come Prepared

Besides bringing an additional copy of your application documents, the new normal also dictates that you come with a small bottle of alcohol or an  alcohol-based hand sanitizer, plus a pack of tissue paper and disinfecting wipes. You can use alcohol or sanitizer to clean your hands frequently, especially if you have no access to a restroom with soap and water. 

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If you feel like sneezing or touching your face, be sure to use a piece of tissue paper instead of covering your nose and mouth with your bare hands. The disinfecting wipes, on the other hand, will be useful for sterilizing high-touch surfaces, such as door handles, stair rails, elevator buttons, and faucets. Make it a habit to disinfect before touching anything in public. 

Use the Stairs 

If it is possible to take the stairs, do so instead of using the elevator since the coronavirus can linger in the air inside an elevator cabin even after an infected person has gotten off. Respiratory droplets exhaled inside an elevator can remain circulating within due to the small space and poor ventilation. In case you can’t take the stairs, make sure to wait until you can take the elevator alone. Moreover, keep your mask on at all times, disinfect the panel before pushing buttons, and avoid touching surfaces unnecessarily while waiting.

Skip the Handshake

Handshaking may be a sign of goodwill and professional courtesy during an interview, but it is also one sure way of spreading germs. Instead of greeting your interviewer with a handshake, it is safer to bow your head. Not only is the gesture respectful, but it also limits physical contact—a must-do in the new normal. 

After a brief head bow, introduce yourself and make it clear that you are pleased to meet in person and grateful for the opportunity to be considered for the position. Remember that creating a good first impression is far more significant than a handshake. So, be sure to smile a lot and stay genuine throughout the interview process. 

The tips above are just some of the things you can do to protect yourself when looking for a job during the COVID-19 pandemic. As you can see, these safety tips essentially revolve around what you usually practice in daily life to prevent getting exposed to the virus: wearing a mask, limiting close contact with people outside your household, avoiding crowds, and constantly disinfecting your hands and high-touch surfaces. Just keep these key practices in mind, and you can confidently navigate the job search process safely and successfully. 

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