Navigate Your Career During COVID-19: View Our Online Workshops Now

The virus has changed our world in so many ways – quarantine, grocery deliveries, toilet paper shortage, on-line school, drive by birthday parades and more. Then, there is the world of JOB SEARCH. What happens when we are ready to meet, get hired, in person once again? What can we expect from the etiquette of job search now that Dr. Fauci declared “the end of the handshake?”

The handshake is truly an ancient ritual going back 60 million years ago to when the primates, (yes, the primates!), connected by grasping hands. In the 80’s, I heard a motivational speaker talk about “the magic of three feet.” This magic distance is a ritual in our society along with the handshake. We make decisions and connections within three feet of each other. It’s the distance of a handshake. We extend our hand and clasp another’s within three feet. We shake hands when closing the deal. We reach our hand out when asking for forgiveness. We extend our hand to our opponent after a game.

So what does this mean to the future of job search?  Let’s play out the scenario.

Suppose you have done your personal homework and are ready to launch your job search. You’ve detailed your key skills and have real stories with quantifiable results about how you’ve succeeded in using those skills. Your resume is skillfully prepared with not only what you want to do but how you can do that job.

Now, you’re ready to begin to share your story with family, friends, and former coworkers. Time to reach out to your network. You have your first meeting with a contact at a coffee shop. Do you extend your hand or do an elbow bump ?  And do you sit six feet away as you reconnect?

Next up, since you passed the telephone screening, you move on to your first interview. Do you extend your hand? Once again, how close should you sit to the interviewer?

Post interview, do you write a personal note and send it snail mail or send an email or text?

Success! You got the offer. It’s your first day on the new job post Covid-19. Do you greet your new coworkers with a handshake or just a pleasant, “I’m glad to meet you and be here?”

First, here’s hoping we do return to a “new” normal and we put our quarantine behind us. Hopefully we will end this pause in our usual daily routine and have a vaccine or successful treatment soon.

For now, the magic of three feet is six feet, a.k.a. social distancing. How can you maintain a physical distance while still making a connection?  Here are a few tips.

Your first coffee meeting: Be sure to greet your contact with a huge smile. Your face will now become your “tactile connection”. Use strong eye contact to connect and ask your questions and listen, yes, listen to the answers. Repeat them for clarification and acknowledgement. As for the distance of your seating, the coffee shop should have that prearranged. Follow up with a thank you via email or handwritten note.

Your first-in person interview: Once again, your eyes will be your greeting along with a smile filled with your enthusiasm. What is enthusiasm? According to Siri, it’s intense and eager enjoyment, interest and approval. Show yours. The most important thing you can wear to an interview is your smile. This holds true for phone as well as virtual screenings.

Post interview: Write that handwritten note. Include a few brief bullet points to highlight your stories of how you have done and will do the job to achieve success. Do it with enthusiasm and close with,” I look forward to working with your organization.” Put it in the mail immediately and also restate in an email. No texting.

Your first day on the new job: Repeat items above. Greet people with enthusiasm, a big smile and perhaps an open-palmed wave to take the place of the handshake. It’s also a touchless high-five. Ask questions, engage fellow coworkers with an open willingness to learn about them and how you are eager to learn, grow and contribute in a new environment.

First impressions are still lasting. And, yes, the handshake will be missed. Let’s hope it returns soon and we can shorten the six feet and return to three. (I think we will have to wait until Dr. Fauci gives us the high-five to return to the handshake!)

If you’re in need of some guidance in your career, whether it’s for a job search, a career tune-up, career direction and more, check out Crosworks.com. During the crisis we are offering numerous virtual sessions from, Ask a Coach, Career Clarity, Resume review and preparation, as well as virtual on-one coaching and more. Take this opportunity to enhance your career. We’re here to help as we have been for 39 years and counting. I’m looking forward to working with you with a virtual smile or, in the future, with a big smile and within the magic of three feet.

Wishing you good health, both physically and mentally,

Celia Crossley

Crosworks | Founder, Career & Talent Strategist
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