As companies move to remote work to fight the coronavirus pandemic and an increasing number of workers are being laid off or furloughed, you might be wondering if you should continue to send out resumes or just assume that no one is hiring for the foreseeable future. It’s true that economists are predicting a recession, but career experts say it’s best to keep networking and applying, provided you change your approach a bit to acknowledge these are uncertain times.
“Companies might not be hiring today, because they’re trying to figure out how to do business virtually, but they will be hiring,” says Danielle Beauparlant Moser, managing director and executive coach with bltCareers in Asheville, NC “The people who continue to relationship-build and share their ideas will be in a better position when companies start hiring.”
Most HR departments and managers are just getting everyone up to speed on the logistics and daily routines of a fully remote workforce so it might be difficult to reach people in the first few weeks of the transition, says Kathleen Landers, executive director of SEQUENCE Counseling and Consulting Services in Silver Spring, MD. Plus, “people have a lot of concerns—they might have elderly parents, relatives in other countries, young children to take care of, even their own health issues.”
Be prepared for job openings to be put on hold or disappear, even if they’ve been open for a while. That doesn’t mean they won’t open up again in a few months. Landers admits she herself was getting ready to hire someone but decided to put that on hold for a few weeks. “If I can tell my business will maintain the same level of income and consumers will still want the product, then I will move ahead,” she says.
With all that said, you can still be actively working on your job search. These tips will help you navigate the process during the pandemic and the accompanying economic slowdown.
1. Consider How Urgent Your Search IsIf you can afford to put your job search on hold, you may want to wait it out, Landers says, because it could be challenging to get on a hiring manager’s radar right now. “If you’re currently employed, think about how to make your job more palatable,” says Nancy Halpern, founder of Political IQ, a Manhattan-based leadership-consulting firm focused on developing emotional intelligence. “If you’re not employed, don’t think of your next job as the perfect job. It might be short term.”
While many industries have and will continue to be hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, others are still hiring. If you’re unemployed and need a stopgap, consider looking there or wherever else you can find an opportunity that makes sense for you—and pays the rent and puts food on the table—in the meantime.
6. Boost Your SkillsNow is the perfect time to work on bolstering your qualifications, Moser says. Analyze job descriptions by listing each required skill and experience. Then consider whether you have that exact skill, if you have the skill but haven’t used it in a few years, or if you’re lacking the skill entirely. Use that information to determine what you need to brush up on to make yourself an even better candidate when the job market picks up again.
For instance, if you’re applying for social media or marketing specialist positions, the listing will likely require experience with Google Analytics and Hootsuite. Being certified in either or both would make your resume stand out.
There are plenty of free online course including MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), EdX classes (featuring free courses from MIT and Harvard), and free Microsoft training and tutorials. (Find more sites that offer online courses here.)
If you’re not sure where to start, check out these classes for digital marketing, coding, and data science.
During an economic slowdown, it’s important to focus on what you can control—improving your skills and reaching out to your network, Parsont says. “You can lay the groundwork now so that when the crisis is over you have opened doors and rekindled relationships.”
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