If you’re in the market for a new job, recent international events may have you second-guessing your career plans. Companies have halted their hiring processes, unemployment claims have skyrocketed, and people navigating their local unemployment systems right now deserve medals for their patience.
Is it even worth searching for a job right now? It’s not a lost cause, but you should keep a few things in mind before filling out your next application.
If you have a job but want a better one
Don’t give up on your job search, but if you’re currently employed, it’s a good idea to hold onto that gig as best you can.
“It’s certainly a competitive time to find a new job,”said Amelia Green-Vamos, career trends expert at Glassdoor, which has found that more than half of employers have paused hiring during the pandemic.
“If you work in an area that’s most impacted by COVID-19…and you have a job, hanging on until we know more is probably the safe bet,” said Misty Frost, CEO of healthcare education company Carrus.
But enjoying the relative security of your current job doesn’t mean you should be complacent. “It’s important to stay informed on what the demand is in your industry and what the demand is for your skills and expertise,” Green-Vamos said. “Understanding the demand can help you assess how best to move forward.”
Frost advised job seekers to keep an eye on areas likely to see growth during and after the pandemic, especially education and healthcare.
“Healthcare was anticipating the creation of almost two million new jobs by 2028, and that was before we knew about the coronavirus,” Frost said, to give one example. “Now we’re seeing that need accelerate not only with doctors and nurses but in the support staff roles, like patient care technicians, medical assistants and pharmacy technicians, to name a few.”
If you just lost your job
“Try to be patient and know that while the job market seems uncertain right now, there are still companies hiring talented workers at this time,” said Green-Vamos. “Set up job alerts, update your resume and rethink the skills that brought value to your former job and how you can translate these to a new role.”
Green-Vamos also said to consider jobs adjacent to the ones you think you qualify for, as many of your skills may be transferrable not only to other roles, but to various industries as well.
While you’re out of work, you may want to consider ways to pick up new skills. While there are formal job training and reskilling programs that take less than a year, Frost noted, you may not be able to access those programs until after pandemic-related restrictions have been lifted. In the meantime, online courses may help you fill your time and any skills gaps you’ve identified.
Remember, this is temporary
Although the job market may seem dismal now, have faith that the current conditions won’t last forever. “Despite the spike in layoffs we’ve seen in the past few weeks, there are fields that will still need workers now and will need even more post-pandemic,” Frost said.
If you are out of work able to pick up a side hustle or part-time gig during the pandemic, don’t worry about that potential discrepancy on your resume, said Green-Vamos. “Rather than hiding unrelated temporary jobs or gig work from a resume, it’s important to be transparent with recruiters and hiring managers to help them understand your work experience,” she said. “Also, use this as an opportunity to clearly emphasise how the work you did added new skills and experience that is transferable to the full-time job in which you are applying.”
She said that the grit and resourcefulness to find temporary work demonstrates your work ethic, so don’t hide it.
“One of the things that I hear from employers over and over again, is that many over the critical roles they’re trying to fill require both good people skills and the ability to self-start,” said Frost. “A temporary job is definitely a way of demonstrating that self-starter mindset that employers are looking for.”