From March to April, the State of Florida’s unemployment rate tripled, and in Palm Beach County, it hit a record high of 13.9 percent. During this unprecedented time, many who have gotten laid off due to COVID-19 are actively seeking employment. For some, it can feel like COVID-19 has put their lives on hold. People question whether or not it is possible to safely find work during this pandemic, or if they are wasting their time since employers clearly have bigger problems to deal with. These are relevant concerns, especially considering that even when the economy was robust, great jobs were still difficult to land. The good news is that many companies are still hiring, and there are steps you can take to prepare yourself to get hired during this new normal.
Safely Finding Work During COVID-19
If you find yourself wondering if job seeking during a pandemic is unwise, that is understandable. However, there are ways to minimize risk and job search safely. These include attending virtual hiring events and virtual interviews. There are many virtual hiring events springing up in response to the demand to continue social distancing.
Additionally, many companies are conducting job interviews virtually using video conferencing software like Zoom or GoToMeeting. It may be a good idea to prepare yourself ahead of time by familiarizing yourself with the software. Another tip is to find an area in your house with a neat, neutral background. Make sure a webcam will not capture anything odd or disorganized in your shot. Also, practice your interview questions in front of the video camera and play it back to see how it sounds. This will help you develop your comfort with the video chat software and adjust to speaking to a computer screen instead of a person.
If you truly do not feel safe beginning in-person employment at this time, focus your job search solely on remote positions. There are many companies hiring remote workers at this time both as a result of the pandemic but also because these jobs have been increasing in demand over the last several years. According to job search engine Adzuna, the amount of remote positions available increased by 270% since 2017 and now, remote opportunities have skyrocketed.
If you get offered a job for on-site employment, take some time and research the company to see what they are doing to keep employees safe during COVID-19. Also, ask the HR representative to provide information on coronavirus-related polices and procedures in place if an employee becomes ill or must be quarantined. These are very relevant questions during this difficult time – and any employer hiring right now should think so too.
Reach Out to Your Contacts
Have you kept in touch with old coworkers from previous jobs over the years? Now is the time to reach out to them and find out if their company is hiring, or if they know of any companies that are. Having a network is the most lucrative asset when seeking new employment. Networking doesn’t always have to involve chatting up strangers at awkward mixers. It can just be a matter of staying in touch with contacts made over the years and putting out feelers for the type of job you want. You never know when someone’s spouse is a recruiter for a company you have been dying to work for. Keep an open mind – according to Payscale.com, 70% of people have landed their jobs through the help of their contacts.
Industries Hiring Right Now
One question everyone is asking is whether or not companies are even hiring right now. The answer is yes! Many industries are actually hiring desperately despite the economic downturn, and others still need to fill positions that they were unable to fill prior to this crisis. According to Glassdoor, the following industries are urgently hiring: logistics, healthcare, e-commerce, retail, as well as grocery and food delivery. There are also a series of new jobs that have been created as a result of COVID-19. According to the Palm Beach Post, newly-created positions include Contact Tracer, COVID-19 Tester, Temperature Screener, Outdoor Fitness Trainer, Virtual Beauty Advisor, Virtual Babysitter, Virtual Event Producer, and more. Demand for these jobs is expected to grow.
No matter what field or position you focus on, the process of getting hired is changing dramatically every single day. COVID-19 is just another hurdle in a radically shifting job market. The best thing you can do is be prepared for change and embrace it each step of the way.
Written by April Blair, Career Consultant with TANF.