3 Ways Job Hunting Has Changed Because of COVID 19, with Renata Bernarde

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Job seeking in an ongoing pandemic has brought many changes to how we look for work. In-person meetings are nearly a thing of the past and online etiquette matters more than ever. Find Your Dream Job guest Renata Bernarde says your LinkedIn profile is the most important thing you have in the current job culture. She also shares the best way to connect with others on LinkedIn, and how to set up a job-seeking routine that protects your health and reduces stress. Being adaptable to change will serve you well when seeking a job in a worldwide pandemic. 

About Our Guest:

Renata Bernarde is the host of The Job Hunting Podcast. Renata is also the creator of Job Hunting Made Simple, an online course and coaching program for executives.

Resources in This Episode:



Find Your Dream Job, Episode 328:

3 Ways Job Hunting Has Changed Because of COVID 19, with Renata Bernarde

Airdate: December 29, 2021

Mac Prichard:

This is Find Your Dream Job, the podcast that helps you get hired, have the career you want, and make a difference in life. 

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We’re approaching the second anniversary of the first appearance of the COVID-19 virus. 

And our guest today says the pandemic has permanently altered how you look for work.  

Renata Bernarde is here to talk about the three ways job hunting has changed because of COVID-19. 

She’s the host of The Job Hunting Podcast. Renata is also the creator of Job Hunting Made Simple, an online course and coaching program for executives.

She joins us from Melbourne, Australia. 

Renata, here’s where I want to start. You say there are three ways that the pandemic has changed the way we look for work. Let’s go right to number one on your list, and your first point is that LinkedIn etiquette matters more than ever. Tell us about this, Renata. What do you mean by this? 

Renata Bernarde:

That’s right, Mac. Look, there are probably more than three ways that COVID has changed the way that we job seek. But LinkedIn is so important, now as we are all isolated in our homes, or even if we’re out of lockdown, we’re still not fully going back to the office, you know. Hybrid work is the way to go for many locations around the world. 

Now, LinkedIn etiquette matters a lot because it’s the place where we are seeking work, where we are connecting with our coworkers if we’re still employed, and job seekers are still making mistakes on that platform. Pay attention to how you operate on LinkedIn. It will pay dividends to you as you try to find a new job. So, you’ll stand out by operating very well and connecting with people the right way. 

For example, Mac, when you make a connection on LinkedIn, you should always send a note, and it has to be a note that is purposeful. That is tailored to the person that you’re connecting with. In fact, if you don’t know what to say to that person, chances are, you shouldn’t be connecting with her or him. Right? 

So, think about that rule of thumb. If you don’t know what to say or write in a note when you’re connecting to someone, you probably shouldn’t be connecting with them. You should be following them. So that’s, you know, the main etiquette that I teach right off the bat to my clients. 

Mac Prichard:

Why do you think people send invitations without knowing exactly what they want to say? What’s driving someone to hit that connect button?  

Renata Bernarde:

People just don’t know how LinkedIn works, and they may be unaware that it’s important for their professional gravitas, for their personal branding, executive presence, whatever you want to call it. But it’s important to showcase that through your actions and your behaviors, and not just your profile. 

So, this is really important when you’re operating online. Think about LinkedIn in the same way that you would think about walking down the main business street in your town, or you know, going to a conference, a professional conference, or an event, a professional event. Would you be handing out business cards left, right, and center? You probably wouldn’t. That would be weird. So, it’s the same thing on LinkedIn. You want to make sure that you’re connecting with somebody with a purpose. 

For example, yesterday, I connected with somebody that I did not know. I had been following him for a few weeks, and I decided that it was time to make an introduction, and I said, “Look, I’ve been watching your posts with interest, and I really would like to get to know you and ask you a few questions. Would you mind connecting?” 

And he responded straight away because he could see I did it with a purpose. I had an intention in mind. I actually wanted to invite him to speak at my podcast, Mac.

I think in the same way that I connected with you. So it needs to have an intention, and you can’t be sending connections with notes that are just copy-pasted. It won’t work for you. You won’t make a good impression.   

Mac Prichard:

What I like about the example you shared is it sounded like three sentences. It wasn’t a long message, but it was clear why you were sending it and what you hoped to get from the connection. 

And it’s always striking to me, Renata. I receive many invitations, and I’m flattered, but I would say perhaps five or ten percent actually include a note, and so the others, I’m not sure why they want to connect with me. I always say yes, but if you want to stand out, including a note like the one you just described is a great way to do it. Isn’t it?  

Renata Bernarde:

Yes, it is the way to do it. It’s funny you say you always say yes. I don’t always say yes. I’m most often saying no, and I’m a career coach, so you would assume that I, you know, would be saying yes to everybody because I want them to be my clients. But frankly, it’s a selecting process for me. I say yes to the ones that I think will learn from my feed. Once you connect with somebody, you get the feed of their posts and their activities. But those who are just there to try to sell me things or don’t really resonate with me, I do not accept them, and I think a lot of recruiters and head hunters and employers do the same. 

And the way that you operate on LinkedIn, above and beyond connecting and following, and the difference between connecting and following is really important because it drives the algorithm. So, if you like every post that you see because they’re friends of yours, you will be seeing more and more of those posts. So, for example, I had a client who had a brother who was an osteopath, and he was in the corporate sector, and he was liking a lot of his brother’s posts, and I told him to like them on Facebook. But here on LinkedIn, what you’re teaching LinkedIn is to give you lots of constant content about osteopathy, and that’s not your vibe. 

So, understanding how these platforms work is really important, and what sort of activity and profile you should have for your country, your sector, your industry, it varies a lot, Mac.  

Mac Prichard:

Well, good LinkedIn skills have always been important. Why do they matter so much now, after COVID 19?    

Renata Bernarde:

Because a lot of people are looking for work or thinking about job seekers or people that are looking to advance in their careers, we don’t have a lot of other opportunities to connect. We can talk about other ways of connecting outside of LinkedIn in a moment, but LinkedIn is now the main hub for professionals, and those that are either working or looking for work are spending time on LinkedIn more and more all around the world, and it is standardizing the way that people connect in the corporate sector. It used to be very different. For example, if you were in Hong Kong or New York, it’s getting more standardized because of the use of LinkedIn, but there are still great differences.

For example, if you are a senior director in, let’s say, Singapore or the United Emirates, the way that you present yourself in your profile, your about section, and describe each of your work experiences is somewhat different to someone who is based in Miami, or somebody who is based in Melbourne. 

So, we need to make sure that when we are looking for best practices, that we’re searching like for like. So that we don’t stand out in a way that is detrimental to our job search, and I find that a lot. There is so much content produced by people that are based in the U.S., and then I find that my clients in South East Asia, or even in Australia, are using that information, and it’s not working for them on LinkedIn. You have to adapt, and LinkedIn gives you a great opportunity to build market intelligence and follow best practices for your industry and your region. 

Mac Prichard:

And what are your best tips for how to do that? You mentioned a moment ago about the importance of being strategic when you like articles because you’re teaching LinkedIn the kind of content that you want to see in your feed. What are some other tips to make sure that you’re seeing the information that’s gonna be most helpful to you in your job search and your career? 

Renata Bernarde:

That’s a good point. I also think that liking the right articles and, most importantly, making engaged and intelligent comments on the important articles for your profession is really important because headhunters and recruiters, more and more, are doing what we call passive search. 

So, instead of looking at the applications of the people that are interested in the jobs that they have, they’re actually passively looking and scouting for people on LinkedIn. They have a different platform for recruitment, and they’re finding the best possible candidates for their clients. So if they see that your profile stands out, but also that your activity shows executive presence or professional presence and aligns with your brand, then they might look at you more favorably, and this is really important, and, you know, choosing the topics that you want to engage with on LinkedIn is important. 

So, for example, if you are an IT manager and you’re interested in finding a new job, then look for IT-related topics that are important and mission-critical for your future employment. Is it cyber security? Is it data analytics? Find those topics, and keep posting about them, sharing content that you find that you think are good reads, and making great comments on other people’s posts.  

Mac Prichard:

Okay, I want to take a quick break, Renata, and when we come back, Renata Bernarde will continue to share her advice on three ways that job hunting has changed because of COVID 19, and we may get to more than three, I’m guessing Renata, too. So, stay with us. 

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Now, let’s get back to the show.

We’re back in the Mac’s List studio. I’m talking with Renata Bernarde.

She’s the host of The Job Hunting Podcast. Renata is also the creator of Job Hunting Made Simple, an online course and coaching program for executives.

She joins us from Melbourne, Australia. 

Well, we were talking about how COVID 19 had affected job search, and one of the ways that you have highlighted is that job search has changed forever because of COVID 19 is that organizational skills have become so much more important. They’ve become, in fact, the key to success in finding your next job. Tell us more about this, Renata.  

Renata Bernarde:

Yes. I think this is really important, and what I mean by that is the job seeker’s organizational skills, not that you have to add that to your resume. And what I mean by that is, there was this opportunistic approach that people used to take to job hunting or finding out about promotions, those water cooler conversations. Conversations, you know, just catching up with people randomly for coffees and then talking to them about an opportunity, and a few months later, voila, you had a job. It’s harder to do that when everybody’s at home, Mac. You know? And job seeking at home takes a lot of skill and organization to be done, and people are very lost on how to do that without those opportunities coming to them.

I also noticed, especially during the height of the pandemic, that connections and networking didn’t quite work anymore for my clients. They were still in touch with people through Zoom and phone calls, but those people did not have the power to hire anymore because, again, those decision-making professionals were not connecting with their superiors in that same random opportunistic way to say, oh, I have a great candidate that could, you know, maybe come in and help us to do this and that. Those conversations are not happening yet. They may come back, but for now, you need to operate in a different way which requires a lot of organizational skills.

Mac Prichard:

So what kinds of organizational skills are most important now? What do people need to focus on in a job search?  

Renata Bernarde:

Well, you have to have a set routine, and you can job search full-time, part-time, or just lightly on the side, but it is a job. It takes time. It takes a few hours of a day, if not the whole day if you’re committed to it, and it needs to be varied. It needs to include learning. You know, as a professional, you have to keep your skills and your professional development up to date. It needs to be about connecting, making sure that you are connecting with those important advocates, champions, references, and former colleagues, and also searching.

One of the biggest mistakes that job seekers do is spending too much time searching on job boards. I know you have a job board, Mac. But I think you agree with me on this. Searching for jobs on job boards like yours, or LinkedIn, or any other boards is fascinating, and it can be as addictive as TikTok or Instagram, or any other social media platform. So, you have to set a time to do your search and then disconnect from your job board and do something else. Either you do the research before you send your job application, or you write your job application, or you review it before sending, and then also do that bit of learning and connecting. 

I also recommend that people put a lot of effort into winding down because if you have been unemployed for quite some time or if, you know, you just lost your job or decided to resign, you are replacing one stress of having a job you didn’t like with another stress of not having a job at all. So meditating, taking it easy, exercising is also really important. 

Mac Prichard:

I’m glad you brought up the point about job boards, and I’m certainly proud of the value our job board offers at Mac’s list, but I’ll be the first to tell you, if you’re spending more than say thirty, forty percent of your time – depending on where you are in your career – looking at job boards, you’re making your job search harder, and longer than it has to be. Because referrals are so important and clarity about goals, that kind of work that you just described is what you need to do in addition to finding openings. 

Another change that you talk about in job search, Renata, because of COVID 19 is that negotiation has become much more important. Tell us about this. What do you mean by negotiation? And how has it changed?  

Renata Bernarde:

Yes. No, in North America, we’re seeing the, you know, the term “the great resignation” applied. It’s also starting to happen in other countries like Australia, where I am based, and what you don’t want is to change six for half a dozen. Right? So if you’ve decided that the job that you have is not working for you, or if you were laid off or made redundant, regardless of what your situation is as a job seeker, you may want different things for your next job and your next career stage. 

And that COVID 19 pandemic has really heightened that need and that change of balance of power. You are now able to negotiate things like more flexibility, working from home, and all that. But not all employers are woke. Right? So a lot of woke employers say, yeah, that’s great. But not all of them are woke, so don’t forget to negotiate. 

But maybe keep that as something that you will do towards the tail end of the selection process when you’re offered a role, and then you start looking at your contract negotiating and making sure that you get that flexibility that you need, or want, or anything extra that you’re thinking of asking your employer to do for you. Avoid asking for too much at the beginning because they might exclude you from the shortlist if you do so.  

Mac Prichard:

What else should candidates consider negotiating for besides flexible schedules and remote working options?  

Renata Bernarde:

That’s funny, you ask. You know, a lot of my clients come to me when they’re in transition between jobs, and they’re always thinking, oh, should I do an MBA or should I do some professional development? I always believe that those big-ticket items that are expensive, you should always do when you’re actually having an income, Mac. I don’t know if you agree with me. 

But it’s something that you can negotiate if you think that your salary is a bit below what you were hoping for. It might be beneficial for the employer to support you in doing professional development, maybe not a hundred percent of it. But if they can support you with some study leave or help you pay for part of it, it’s something that you can negotiate at that time as well. 

Mac Prichard:

Do you think this openness among employers to consider things that might have been off the table two years ago before COVID 19, things like flexible work schedule, remote work, or even money for professional development – is this something that is only gonna be available temporarily? Or do you think it really is permanent and is here to stay?  

Renata Bernarde:

No, I think it was always there. It’s just that people don’t think about it when they are so desperate to get a job. You don’t want to be in that situation where you are so, so desperate for a job that you forget to look at your contract. Right? So, working with a coach helps you take that step and really make sure that you are maximizing all of your opportunities at that time because there is no better time to negotiate than when they choose you, and they think that you are the best fit for the role, right at the beginning. 

But yeah. No, in terms of what I think will change post-pandemic, I think at least for the next couple of years, we have a lot of power as job seekers, and we should use it. In fact, I have clients that have wanted to resign and just couldn’t. The employer just wouldn’t let them. They gave them all the flexibility; you can work from home, yes. If you’re gonna move four hours away, we don’t care. If you want to only work two days a week, we don’t care. I think it also depends on the skill set that, you know, a specific client had a very specific skill set that would be hard to replace, and you need to understand that, sometimes, you read something in the news that applies to parts of the professional workforce, but it may not apply to you specifically, and you have to be realistic about what you can ask your employer.   

Mac Prichard:

Are you seeing with your clients, after COVID 19, that while they’re competing perhaps for remote jobs, are they only going after positions, say in Australia or Melbourne, or are you seeing more and more opportunities for people, both across your country and even overseas, after COVID 19?  

Renata Bernarde:

Yes. No, I have lots of clients overseas, not just in Australia. I’d say it’s fifty-fifty at the moment, and I have clients in Southeast Asia applying for jobs in different countries. I have clients in Australia who are working from Australia for companies in New Zealand, Japan, United States. Because our borders are closed, and their borders are closed, they haven’t been able to move. 

I have clients in Australia applying for jobs in the U.S., and they most likely won’t need to move to the U.S. And I know people here in Australia that have hired people overseas in Europe, and again, they don’t expect those people to move, and you would not have seen that before COVID, for sure. 

And there may be opportunities for people to come and spend, you know, a period of time with their employer, or attend special events, but that opportunity to maybe have a wormhole where you have a constant feed with the team and participate online when they’re having conversations and the smart use of technology will allow people to opt for those opportunities. 

One thing that we need to catch up on now is policy and legislation to allow more and more employers to opt for remote workers.   

Mac Prichard:

We could talk, I think, for another episode,  just about that topic alone. But we’re gonna have to bring it to a close, Renata.

Now, tell us, what’s next for you? 

Renata Bernarde:

Well, I just want to wish everybody a happy new year, and I hope that all of your career dreams come true in 2022. They certainly did not; you know, 2021 did not go the way that job seekers wanted it to go, most of them. And I have a Job Hunting Made Simple program happening in February. It’s a group coaching program where, for seven weeks, I help professionals in the corporate, nonprofit, and public sectors go through the job hunting process with me as, you know, their coach. It’s a great group experience and very successful so far. It will be the third year that I run it.  

Mac Prichard:

Well, terrific. I know listeners can learn more about that program and your services by visiting your website, renatabernarde.com.

Now, Renata, given all the great advice you’ve shared today, what’s the one thing you want a listener to remember about how job hunting has changed because of COVID 19?   

Renata Bernarde:

Well, I want them to remember that it’s important to have agility and that personal agility to pivot with the times, to pay attention to what’s happening, and learn from your peers and from the younger generation. I’m very aware that the millennials and people that are younger than me are much more agile and adaptable to change, so I take a leaf from their books sometimes and learn a lot from them. Because technology’s here to stay, so make sure that you do that. 

Mac Prichard:

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Next week, our guest will be Rupert French. He’s the founder and owner of The Job Winners. His company has helped thousands of people plan and find new careers.  

Many people wait for job postings to appear before deciding where to apply or how to spend their time when looking for work. 

A better approach, says Rupert, is to take charge and run your job search like a campaign. 

Join us next Wednesday when Rupert French and I talk about how to be the boss of your job search campaign. 

Until next time, thanks for letting us help you find your dream job.

This show is produced by Mac’s List. 

Susan Thornton-Hough schedules our guests and writes our newsletter. Lisa Kislingbury Anderson manages our social media.

Our sound engineer is Will Watts. Ryan Morrison at Podfly Productions edits the show. Dawn Mole creates our transcripts. And our music is by Freddy Trujillo.

This is Mac Prichard. See you next week.