Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try, just one more time."... Thomas A. Edison
1. Update and Improve your Resume
Keep your resume up-to-date but keep it short. It's not necessary to state all your endeavours from the moment you stepped foot out of college or university. Focus on the last few recent years of your work or career. Leave out unimportant information and customise your resume for the particular job you are applying for. If you're planning to use an online job application board, bear in mind that most of the leading systems use artificial intelligence software. Use wording from the job description you are applying for in your resume as keywords are used that are relevant to the job to be filled. Do not use synonyms or technical jargon as it may cause software to overlook potentially relevant information.
2. Practice speaking on camera and get comfortable with remote interviewing
Most companies are moving to remote interviewing. While being physically present in an interview can be nerve racking, remote interviewing can pose some of its own challenges that are often overlooked. Actions such as how to dress, where to look, how to sit, position the camera, room lighting and reflections pose some serious thought.
Make sure you dress neatly, and not just your top half, in case you need to stand up. Keep the background uncluttered and have good visible lighting. Make sure the light is not coming from behind you as it will blind the camera. Test your visual and audio settings by recording a few trials to see how your interviewer will perceive and hear you.
Look directly into the webcam - not at the screen! This will make it look like you are making eye contact and are engaged in the conversation. It also helps to focus on the discussion and not be distracted by visual elements on screen. Using your gestures while speaking is said to improve the connection with your audience and shows that you are comfortable with the conversation.
3. Boost your LinkedIn profile
Boost your LinkedIn profile by filling out all the required fields in personal settings. Add personal projects, update skills and experience and have a professional current profile image. Include recommendations from your previous employer, work colleagues or previous clients. Check your LinkedIn profile rating as you go. The website intuitively lets you know where you can improve your profile so spend some time ironing out the kinks.
4. Promote your core skills or soft skills and remote working experience
Non-technical related competencies are becoming increasingly important in today's online business dealings and relationships. Core skills such as language and communication, empathy, problem solving, self management, punctuality, social and online skills and adaptability, can place you at the top of the list.
5. Boost your skill set or take an online course
Now is the perfect time to learn some new skills, take an online course, or improve your own shortcomings and weaknesses. For example, If you're having trouble communicating effectively, try taking a course in communication - after all, good communication is vital for all interaction and even more so in a world facing a pandemic.
Michelle is a speech and communication specialist working with companies and individuals in South Africa and internationally.