Covid-19 Resources

5 Hacks For Job Searching Through A Pandemic

Tim Balow
March 18th, 2020

It probably doesn’t even feel real at this point. Life coming to a halt and the world making sweeping changes that affect every aspect of the world we encounter on a daily basis, but it all seems like the new normal is unfolding.

In the midst of all this, trends show (and it certainly is evident through the YS Job Bank) is that the spring brings tons of new youth worker positions to the job market. In the last two weeks, we’ve had over 40 postings go live for new positions on the YS Job Bank. For some churches and youth workers, a position transition was already in the works for this spring.

As we say with the YS Job Bank…

Something new, someone new…your new could be your next best fit.

As the old saying goes though, the only constant in the universe is change. The world changed drastically in March 2020 intentionally to protect the public health of the world. That’s a phrase that would have been hard to fathom several months or even weeks prior to March 2020, but alas, this the new normal.

While we don’t expect this to last years, it will last anywhere between weeks and months. The hope is that we find ways for life and ministry to progress, and in the same way, a job transition may be in the works. In light of the new normal of digital space taking precedence over in person experiences, possibly delayed search processes, and conducting interviews via digital conferencing software, these are five hacks to navigating job search in the pandemic era.

Know What You’re Open To And What’s Considerable

More than ever, you don’t want to say yes to a ministry opportunity just because it’s a job. Knowing the instability of the broader economy through a public crises, you don’t want to uproot yourself (or a family for that matter) for just an opportunity because it’s a paycheck. Your emotional, relational, and spiritual health are worth more than just a paycheck.

This means you know what you will say yes and no as a ministry demographic (areas of oversight, denominations, church/parachurch) and also what geography you’re comfortable pursuing as far as a possible move. This might be a moving target as you pursue a process, but it’s better to know what you’re aiming for to start.

Your Digital Presence Will Matter More – Make Sure It’s Good šŸ™‚

Your digital presence (social media, LinkedIn profile, current biography on a website, etc.) always mattered in the digital age. It just matters more now, because there’s more of a likelihood that your digital presence will have to suffice longer than to build perception than when you were able to have in-person conversations with interviewing parties.

Clean up your social media profile, update your positions on LinkedIn or the YS Job Bank resume function, and make sure anything on your profiles couldn’t be seen as overly polarizing or unreflective of how you want to be perceived initially. The words that could be said about this, is very simple:

In the absence of description or story behind something, is there anything on your digital presence that could be grossly misunderstood without further clarification?

Leverage Digital Assets For Your Job Search

The world now sees the digital space as a replacement for connection and community. We are already seeing so many incredible connection points being set up with youth workers from across the country sharing ideas for ministry and just staying connected during an intensely confusing chapter.

The digital space is the new space where everyone will solely connect with one another, therefore, as the hack above directed, there’s a treasure trove of opportunities to leverage digital assets to help share your ministry leadership story and promote yourself for a new opportunity.

Here’s a handful of ideas:

  • Record a “trailer” introducing yourself for a search team; another way to think about it is as a “video resume”
  • Practice being “on” in an online interview – being comfortable with yourself and the technology (have a friend be on the other side during a test run and to give you feedback)
  • Use extra time reworking the formatting of your resume – especially if it’s been a while since you’ve sent a resume out, there’s so many great web-based formatting and layout softwares to help (Canva is one of our favorites)
  • Network across ministry lines using social media, groups, and even exercise some exploratory interviews with churches and organizations over the phone or Zoom

Practice Patience and Allow Your Best Attitude To Come Forward

The opportunity in front of you might not work out, but it doesn’t take away from your story. As has been shared on the YS Blog in the past, sometimes a “no” for an opportunity says more about the other party than it does about you. Building on the first hack, saying yes to an okay opportunity might have gotten in the way of a good opportunity. Knowing what you want and what you’re open to will give you the opportunity to practice patience.

It’s easy to get cynical and bitter towards processes. Any youth worker that’s been through transition will tell you their war stories about search teams asking ridiculous questions, processes ending abruptly, or maybe hearing some feedback that was either inappropriate or uncalled for.

Remember this…in any search process, all it takes is one day for the mood surrounding the search to change. It could be a phone call, email, an invitation, or even an offer letter. There will be down days where things don’t seem like they are moving, but remember that fates can change very quickly. Be ready, and be hopeful.

It May Be Different – Find Ways To Adapt Through The Process

Job transitions can take anywhere between 2 weeks to 2 years (and mostly in between). It might happen sooner or later, but you’ll may be forced into an adaptive situation.

You may have never done an interview as a Zoom meeting. Practice an online meeting with a friend.

You may have never had to wait this long. Learn to exercise emotional self-care.

You may need additional training/development. Leverage online learning like LinkedIn Learning or StackSkills. Download some digital sessions from past National Youth Worker Conventions through the YS Store.

You may need to step into a temporary opportunity to pay the bills. If the economy struggles and opportunities slip through, a temporary opportunity can still serve the process.

In other words, do what must be done for adapting in order to overcome.

In the end, pandemic or no pandemic, your transformation through a process for you to step into your next step as a healthy and whole leader is the centerpiece. Christ-centered ministry callings are not your ordinary career tracks. Your health and wholeness through your calling is what strengthens the journey both as the leader but also for the congregation or community you’re serving. This pandemic may last a few weeks or a few months, but job searching through this time might prove to be a powerful transformative crucible in your journey into a stronger, braver, and more Jesus-grounded leader.

If it’s someone new, something new…your new could be your next best fit. Search on.

Tim Balow

Youth Specialties exists to elevate the role of youth ministry and the youth worker to grow the faith of the next generation.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.