With record unemployment rates making news in recent weeks, many Americans find themselves anxious and worried. Some recently lost their jobs in one of the industries hardest hit by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, while others had job opportunities they were pursuing disappear as employers reassessed their needs. What should job seekers do to find employment in these unusual times?
We got some sound advice from CareerArc career coach Holly, who has more than 14 years of experience helping people find new jobs and careers. In this Q and A, Holly shares her best tips for candidates eager to land opportunities in the changing job market. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Can you sense any changes in candidates’ perspectives and emotions or their moods during this crisis?
This global pandemic has brought about a multitude of emotions for everyone, and it is particularly overwhelming for our job seekers. Many candidates might feel uncertain or fearful about starting a job search at this time.
It’s really important that we remain optimistic. This situation has cost jobs in some areas, but it’s added opportunities in other areas. Interviews are still happening, and so is hiring. It’s critical during this time that we support our candidates and provide encouragement and help them to stay the course.
Some of my candidates have asked me if they should put their job search on hold during this time. I encourage everyone to stay focused, take care of themselves, and remain engaged in their job search and their networking processes. Those candidates who show that they handle adversity during this time will be sought out.
What’s your advice for candidates who’ve been laid off in one of the first hit industries—travel, hospitality, events, etc.? Any advice specifically for them?
Certainly those industries have been particularly hard hit. At the same time other industries are adding and growing. I would encourage candidates to explore some of these industries that are growing and adding new employees, and determine if their skill sets and their knowledge would allow for adding value in a new way.
Industries like technology, digital entertainment, online learning, essential services and healthcare are all currently hiring and actively seeking candidates. Be open to new industries and opportunities and do your research to explore how your background can add value to some of these industries. This is an opportunity for candidates to grow in their careers and to add some new skill sets and knowledge to their current backgrounds.
What are your tips for helping a candidate stand out in today’s job search reality?
It’s really important right now to network. With resumes flooding online application systems, it’s critical that job seekers leverage relationships to stand out in the process. LinkedIn is a great resource to research and to reach out to target contacts at companies of interest and to get the resume in front of decisionmakers.
I also encourage all of my candidates to think about ways they can add value in some of their networking relationships. If candidates have read an article that they can share within their network, if they have an area of expertise or insight that they can share, look for ways to give back to contribute to these relationships. Successful networkers can also add value by posting and sharing information on LinkedIn, facilitating introductions between individuals within their network, and by being actively engaged in their communities.
Are you an employer looking to help your impacted employees navigate their next step?
CareerArc Outplacement helps companies retain positive relationships with departing employees and protect employer brand during a layoff or workforce change through one-on-one virtual coaching and an award-winning platform. Experience our advanced outplacement program firsthand by requesting a demo today, and learn how we can support your workforce’s unique needs.
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