The COVID-19 pandemic has caused one of the worst workforce crises in history. An estimated 20.5 million jobs have been erased, and unemployment has skyrocketed to levels not seen in three generations. If you count yourself among these statistics, you may be overwhelmed at the prospect of job hunting in this market. But in spite of these grave numbers, there are still employers and industries that are hiring, particularly those that offer services useful during a pandemic.
So how do you compete against all the other folks out there job hunting?
- Update your resume and professional profiles: Take the time to review and revamp your resumé, cover letter, and LinkedIn page to make sure they reflect your most recent professional history. Always have someone else review your resumé, such as a family member or trusted friend. It’s always best to have a second set of eyes to make sure everything is correct, and that there are no grammatical, spelling, or layout issues. If you are applying to multiple industries, consider developing multiple versions of your resume that have been tweaked to be relevant to the job you’re applying to.
- Set time each day dedicated job hunting: Instead of bogging yourself down all day long, set aside a few hours each day to apply for jobs. Think of finding a job as your new part-time job. You could start first thing in the morning, see all of the new job postings, and apply for the ones that fit your professional career, but then still leave enough time to relax and enjoy the extra time off that you wouldn’t normally have.
- Focus on industries that are hiring: There are a lot of job postings out there from companies that they say they are hiring, but actually aren’t. Look for a job in an industry that is thriving right now, as you can assume they will be moving quickly with wanting to onboard new employees. Grocery stores, pharmaceutical firms, healthcare corporations, and tech industries—particularly those that offer connectivity solutions—are all actively hiring. And don’t let geography limit you: one of the good things that has emerged from the COVID-19 crisis is more employers are willing to consider work-from-home arrangements for jobs that don’t require an in-person presence. Work-from-home is not only safer, it’s generally less expensive for employers, as they do not have to dedicate things like office space and other resources for remote employees.
- Reach out to your connections: Now is the time to connect with friends, family, and former coworkers to see if they know of any opportunities for you. Networking is one of the best ways to get your foot in the door at a new company, as many employers would prefer to choose a “known quantity” over a complete stranger. These connections can also provide you with insights into the company’s values, culture, and how they treat their employees. First-person accounts should be taken with the understanding that individual experiences vary, of course, but can offer a glimpse into what a company is really like, something that’s much harder to discern when going through formal recruitment channels.
- Take good care of yourself: Losing a job can be traumatic. It can shake your sense of self-worth, introduce a source of anxiety if money is tight, and put a strain on your relationships. Give space to your feelings, even the negative ones. It’s ok to feel scared, sad, angry, or betrayed. Don’t be afraid to seek out counseling if you’re having a hard time processing it all. Remind yourself that your value is not determined by what you do for a living. While advice like eating healthy, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep may seem obvious, it’s still important. Taking good care of you means you’re well prepared for when that next opportunity will come along.