Job Search and COVID-19

jon search at pandemic COVID-19

“It is not going to be easy but you will find another job. You and I will work as a team. It will take a lot of hard work, discipline, prayers until you finally turn the corner”. As a career coach at Lee Hecht Harrison (LHH), these are the words that I often say as I meet a new candidate for the first time. I have realized the principles remain the same even as we are in a COVID19 crisis. Let me share with you my learnings as a career coach."


The biggest mistake of job seekers when I ask what position they are looking for is to answer, “Kahit ano pwede.” (Any job that is available.) Culturally Filipinos tend to beg for work rather than seek for that job. As a result, these job seekers are often lump together and forgotten especially now when competition for open position is fierce.

Identify your specific skills such as a programmer, bookkeeper, supervisor, BPO/customer service, etc. Mention this skill when someone ask you for the job that you are looking for. This will create your identity and set you apart from the rest.


As the global economy takes a downturn, companies will be affected in different ways. Companies in the tourism, hospitality, travel, retail are expected to have a difficult time. On the hand those in health care, logistics, food and digital sector will need to expand.  As a job seeker, you need to shift industries but remain in the same function by knowing your transferrable skills.  For example, an accountant in a hotel can very well apply for a finance position in a logistics company. 


Expect questions on what you did during the quarantine.  This is not a question of curiosity but rather a behavioral question. If all you did was to watch Netflix the whole day then perhaps you are not the right candidate. Other candidates seeking the same position may relate how they took up online courses to upskill themselves for the future.

I was working with one candidate who’s last position in a large consumer company was Channel Marketing Manager. As the COVID19 crisis eclipsed our sessions, we started working on options for her job search. One day she told me that she has now decided to take up a course in Digital Marketing. She declared that while her strength was the traditional marketing in supermarkets, the need now is the digital space. A great example of upskilling for the new normal.


Now that you know what you want and upskilled yourself, where are the jobs? The basics remain the same as follows;

Go directly to the websites of companies that you would like to work for and check out if there are job openings.  You might be surprised that companies continue to hire.

In some of these platforms jobs look for people. In LinkedIn for example, there is a tab on top (Jobs) which will suggest open positions for you. It is best that you complete your profile and keep your status updated because this is the data used by LinkedIn in job matching.

Beyond the published jobs, there are hidden vacancies. You find these jobs through family, friends, community, business contacts, etc. As you go higher in an organization, these open positions are not published. Network, network, network is my mantra for those looking for a job. One suggestion that I have in enlarging your network is to volunteer. It may be church, community, school or even a relief operation during this crisis. Opportunities are in talking (virtually) to as many people as possible.


Given the new normal of social distancing, it is a certain that your interviews will be conducted virtually. Prepare yourself by investing in a good broadband connection. Ideally it should be fiber optics all the way to your router. Another investment is on a webcam. The company may ask for a video conference and while laptops have cameras, they normally do not give a good visual image of you due to the position of the camera (bottom up highlighting your chin). You have one opportunity to look your best so be prepared.

Having worked in Outplacement since 2001, our team at LHH Philippines has the competence and experience to help individuals in career transition.  Through the years, we have successfully supported companies with as many as 5,000 employees or those with only one termination.  It can be based on individual coaching or a workshop. LHH has the technology and the global reach. But most of all, our team has the heart to make a difference to each one that goes through our program.   

Millions are out of job due to the COVID-19 crisis. As a career coach, I am often asked if there are still jobs out there and if they are still hiring. Yes there are jobs and yes they are still hiring but the competition is fierce. Here are tips on how you can make it happen.


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About the Author

Vicente Kilayko LHH Philippines

Vicente KILAYKO - Director, LHH Philippines

Vicente “Binky” Kilayko is a Director of Lee Hecht Harrison (LHH) Philippines. LHH has more than 7,800 customers around the world and we are the global partner to 50% of the Fortune 1000 organizations. For over 20 years, we have helped companies in the Philippines reorganize by taking care of employees that are laid-off find their next career.

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