Should you look for a job during the coronavirus pandemic? A career coach weighs in
No matter how old we are or how long we’ve been working, we all have questions when it comes to careers—from how to respond to a rejection letter to learning to say no when a role isn’t a good fit. That’s where Career Counselor comes in. In this weekly series, we connect with experts to answer all of your work-related questions. Because while we don’t all have the luxury of a career coach, we still deserve to grow in our careers.
To say the job market is a little uncertain right now would be an understatement. Since the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit, there have been 21 million jobs lost in the U.S. alone. That number, along with the current job climate, can feel overwhelming, especially if you were looking for a job before the coronavirus hit or have lost a job because of it.
But despite businesses being forced to close or impose a hiring freeze, should you still look for a job during coronavirus?
Because our needs and skills are so varied, and the current state of affairs is, to say the least, a little topsy-turvy, there isn’t really a clear-cut answer to that question. We talked to executive career coach Elizabeth Pearson about whether you should look for a job during COVID-19—and what types of jobs might be hiring now more than others.
HelloGiggles (HG): Should we be looking for jobs during coronavirus?
Elizabeth Pearson (EP): Yes. Don’t put off looking for a new job until after the pandemic has passed. Every day, more applicants enter the candidate pool and increase competition around the job you want. If your career field is not hiring at the moment, expand your search to include positions that have overlap with your current experience and skill set. All skills are transferable. It’s your job to find a match between them and the jobs that are in demand right now.
HG: What companies would you advise someone to approach if they were looking for a job right now?
EP: LinkedIn has listed a few positions that are in-demand right now. While they might not be your dream job, many of the openings are entry-level or even hourly positions that require little to no training or experience. Therefore, it’s possible for almost anyone to jump right into a new position and begin making enough money to carry them through until their career field starts hiring again.
- Store associate
- System operator
- Certified public accountant
- Health-care specialists: hospitals, pharmacies, and insurance providers are all currently hiring
- Construction worker
- Warehouse manager
- Vehicle mechanic
- Academic advisor
- Delivery driver
Do some research via LinkedIn job boards and make a “target list” of employers to reach out to. Next, do special outreach to get your application noticed. You may even be able to sign up to get email notifications for new job openings immediately after they are posted.
HG: What can we do during this time that can help us further our careers and job search?
EP: Whether you’re searching for a new job or looking to increase your visibility in your current career field, you should be giving your LinkedIn profile some love.
Here’s what to focus on:
- Building your professional brand
If you haven’t already, create profiles on LinkedIn, Indeed, and other networking sites. A strong personal brand that portrays you in a professional light will provide recruiters, employers, and contacts with a strong positive impression of you as a candidate they should be interested in. If you aren’t job seeking, a polished profile can only help establish you as an expert in your current field.
- Using your connections
Reach out to friends, family, and professional contacts to see if they can refer you to recruiters, hiring managers, or industry professionals who can give you leads on jobs. If you’re not job seeking, still reach out to those in your industry and check in, asking if there’s anything you can do to support their career or help them out.
- Checking online job boards for contract and part-time work
Career sites like LinkedIn update their job boards with relevant and timely work opportunities. Check in regularly to find opportunities that match your skill set.
HG: What is your advice for someone who’s temporarily laid off? What type of dialogue/communication should they be having with their employer?
EP: I recommend they have an honest and open dialogue with their employer around if there’s a likelihood that their job will “come back to life” within the next few months. Are there plans in place to hire them back as soon as the social distancing guidelines are lifted in their state? If not, is it possible for them to get a severance package or at least continued healthcare coverage for a few months after the layoff? Your employer expects you to ask questions and push for as much financial support as possible after a layoff.
HG: Which industries do you think will be looking the most to hire post-COVID-19?
EP: The demand for remote positions will only rise. Amazon, CVS, and UnitedHealth are high on the list of the top 100 companies hiring remote workers, reports FlexJobs.
Even throughout the last recession, remote work remained in-demand among consistent declines in employment. Remote-based positions have grown every year even as in-office jobs declined. Check out their list of “25 Companies with Legitimate Work-from-Home Jobs.”