2021 Job Searching Tips From a Recruiter Through the Pandemic

You know, we have all been anticipating 2021, and it’s finally here! We’re beyond ready to see some kind of normalcy. 2020 has been the most challenging year of my lifetime as well as many others, and with the year finally ending, everyone is looking forward to 2021 to “save us” somehow.

The reality is that not much has changed from December 31st, 2020 to January 1st, 2021, and may not change much even by May 2021. But human beings are always hopeful, and this human is no exception!

With the advent of the vaccine, there is real hope for a light at the end of the tunnel. The challenges with getting enough vaccines out there and getting them to everyone loom before us. Even so, I am extremely hopeful and anticipating getting that vaccine, and being able to return to “normal” at some point.

As a life science recruiter, the past year has of course had its challenges, but overall, there has been much hope in the job sector. We’ve continued to see hiring moving forward, and companies continue to fill critical needs even during a pandemic. Our life sciences team has had the best year in our firm’s history, and we do see this trend continuing into 2021.

I’ve been doing a bit of research on the projected 2021 job market, and it is a mixed bag. Depending on what industry and news feed you look at, the projections can be widely different.

For our candidates and client companies, we try to provide as much information as possible. So many people are either forced to be on the job market or thinking about making a change, and I know the prospect of a job search can be daunting, but there are ways to be prepared even in a pandemic.

  1. Preparation is key
  2. Make sure you think about your goals for this year. Put together concrete plans, with realistic expectations. Make sure your resume is up to date and consider having multiple resumes that highlight different aspects of your career, especially if your experience has been diverse and you’d like to explore different areas.
  3. Be prepared to think outside of the box—tools we’ve used in the past may not be as helpful, so taking a real look at the changes that have occurred in 2020 can really help to predict how and what we may see in 2021.
  4. Timing is everything
  5. Understand that processes are taking longer. One of the main challenges that’s come out of the pandemic has been the slowing down of the interview process. Companies are more deliberate, and take more time making decisions.
  6. Logistically interviews are challenging—having to use phone and video interviews exclusively just takes longer sometimes. Being unable to meet people in person just naturally makes the decision making more difficult, so patience is necessary.
  7. The industry is critical
  8. The pandemic has had vastly different affects on different industries. Some industries have had an upturn and are busier than ever, and other industries have come to a crashing halt. For industries such as animal and human health, pharmaceuticals and sanitation, there has not been a downturn at all, really just the opposite. But for travel and recreation, restaurants and airlines, things are much different.
  9. Evaluate what industry is best, and if a change is needed, take a critical look at your skillset and see what overlap there may be with other industries that are in a better place.
  10. Be patient—as the pandemic challenges have less affect, industries that have been struggling should begin to improve.
  11. Consulting with a recruiter can be helpful, reach out and have a discussion—most recruiters really want to be a resource, and they have insight that will be helpful.
  12. Reaching out to your network can be important as well, there may be opportunities there that have not surfaced yet.


Overall, we will weather these challenges as we always do, but must remember to be hopeful and patient! 2021 will certainly have its challenges as well, but hopefully will be our light at the end of the tunnel!

Written by Debbie Caldwell: Life Sciences Recruiter and Animal Health Recruiter

Boaz Partners