Navigating the Job Search amidst Covid-19: Insights from #Classof2020

2020 has been a year full of surprises for students, especially affecting those who are set to graduate this summer and step into their first “real job.” Our current situation has led companies to both extremes — some halting their hiring all together while others ramping up to meet growing demand. The good news is: many companies are still hiring! But… it’s just getting more and more competitive to stand out.

Fear not, we are here to help! Our team interviewed 3 star students in Hong Kong to learn more about their job search strategy and share the key gems with the rest of you. Thanks in advance to Alissa Ng, Yun Lin Lew, and Jhalak Srivastava!

Workhap Q: How did you find your current internship / grad job?

Alissa Ng: Before I got my grad offer from Jardine, I did quite a few online interviews. I had to practice acing my virtual impression and had to get used to talking to the camera. Even though I do have a graduate job lined up, I’ve heard there have been situations where people have gotten offers retracted. To ensure everything is set for my upcoming job, I’ve been trying to keep in contact with HR. This helps to remind them I am still here and excited to start working!

Jhalak Srivastava: I have been very blessed and lucky because I joined Happyer way before the Coronavirus hit Hong Kong. So when people were feeling the impact of the virus and we were hearing about the mass layoffs and canceled internship programs, I was deep into this internship.

Something that I learned very early on in my university days was that building connections and networking with people is very important. Half the job opportunities out there are not even advertised. It’s good to have a network of connections as a University student so that in times like this, they can guide you. But sometimes, timing is everything.

Workhap Q: How are you applying for your grad job?

Yun Lin Lew: It’s so easy to click the ‘apply now’ button but I feel making an impression by reaching out to current employees and HR is essential. I always try to ask meaningful questions in order to start a conversation and demonstrate my interest.

As someone who is looking into R&D in technology, the hard skills and experiences are really important. I highlight projects that I have done to provide evidence for these skills. It is one of the ways that I demonstrate the kind of value I could bring to a company.

Workhap Q: How did you prepare for your job search?

Alissa Ng: A month before the general application period (October), I opened up a spreadsheet and listed out all the companies that I would be interested in working for. I did some research on the different companies and expanded the list based on their different competitors. After listing them all out, I made columns for: due date, the portal link and what I had to do. As a whole, my main criteria when applying was to make sure that the companies had the resources to invest into employee development and training programs.

Jhalak Srivastava: These are some tips that I have picked up over the years of job hunting:

  • I prefer emailing the person I would be working with over applying on a job portal. If you see a job you like, find the person you would be working with on LinkedIn, try to dig up their email ID, and send them an email. Try to send emails in the morning or after lunch because people are more likely to check their emails around then.
  • Go experiment with email subjects and email bodies. Keep emails to the point and always tailor your CV to the job.

Workhap Q: What are some ways you have been able to STAND OUT?

Jhalak Srivastava: In the past, I have sent out 1-minute video introductions of myself, attached to the email. I used an app called Loom, which helps you record and send the video as a link. Also, if someone views your video, you get a notification.

Yun Lin Lew: When attending virtual career fairs, I have used the private chat function to have a one to one conversation with booth representatives.

Workhap Q: What words of advice would you give to other students?

Alissa Ng: When you’re applying for many different companies, you can’t expect to get an offer from everyone. Just because you got rejected, it doesn’t mean you’re bad. It just means that you’re not a match at the moment. If you’re really passionate and interested in the company or the job, don’t be afraid to apply again!

Yun Lin Lew: On top of the job searching stress, take a moment to reflect on what you really want. Find out what you like and dislike, and don’t force yourself into something that you definitely know you’re going to hate. I understand that everyone is focused and stressed in finding a job, and a lot of people have developed the mentality to just get a job no matter what it is. Before you go straight into applying, check if you have the passion or interest so you can show companies that you’re a fit.

Jhalak Srivastava: Build your brand on Linkedin! Write an article, engage with content, comment on posts and connect with people not just for the purpose of getting a job but just because they can be valuable connections in the long term. Send them a personalized message along with your connection request. Little things can make a huge impact.

Like everything else, this time too shall pass, so don’t lose hope. If you aren’t getting what you want from your efforts, try something new.


A big THANK YOU to @Alissa, @Yun Lin, and @Jhalak for taking the time to share their insights with the rest of us. We encourage everyone to learn from their experiences and get creative with your job search strategy. But even more importantly, stay positive and use this time to develop real relationships with others.

To learn more on tips to STAND OUT in the job market, join our #WorkhapWebinar tomorrow featuring LinkedIn and Facebook!

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