When unemployment began to swell in March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic gained speed, some observers believed that it would be a temporary increase. Tens of millions of lost jobs later, it is clear that the road to recovery will be longer and slower than initially anticipated. For some, furloughs became layoffs—for others, such as those in the hospitality industry, health risks and economic uncertainty may be the inspiration for a career change.
Anyone on the job hunt today knows that they face a more challenging employment environment than usual. What are some tips to keep in mind when approaching this task?
Remember the Basics
Some things never change, even in a pandemic. Refresh your resume. Draft a new cover letter template to kickstart your job search. Consider including a small passage about COVID-19 and its effects on your career trajectory or simply focus on traditional cover letter strategies.
Brush up on your interview skills, too, and don't forget to dress the part. Even if you have to conduct a job interview over Zoom, a professional appearance matters. Showing up in your pajamas is not a suitable action plan.
Find Temporary Positions in High-Demand Sectors
With a volatile job market and an uncertain public health climate, now may not be the best time to try to land your dream position or start a brand-new career. Instead, focus on positions and jobs available in industries experiencing an all-hands-on-deck staffing shortage.
The United States Census recently announced that it successfully added nearly one million positions for the upcoming in-person portion of the decennial count. Jobs directly related to COVID-19 have cropped up, too, with many states filling contact tracing positions temporarily. Gig economy jobs, such as those involving grocery shopping, are also easy to find. Consider using one of these options as a bridge to a more permanent position.
Beware of Delays in Hiring
Many businesses, even those facing a labor shortage, rely on traditional hiring and vetting processes as safeguards. Even most gig companies require temporary worker background checks, such as the US OneSEARCH by backgroundchecks.com.
Although most courts have resumed regular operations and background checking is a speedy process, some companies must clear a large backlog—census applicants, for example, have faced delays due to an overloaded vetting system. Know what to expect from a background check and be prepared for a potential delay.
Recognize the Importance of Breaks
Job hunting is often exhausting and discouraging, even in the best of times. Facing it during a pandemic is not easy. In between video conference interviews, applications, and resume tweaks, give yourself a chance to step back and take a breath.
Don't lose sight of your goal. Tap into the employment opportunities available, whether they are temporary or permanent, and stay safe and healthy during your search.