Finding Work During A Pandemic: What Are Your Options?
By LaShina Mack
Never let your fear decide your future. - Unknown
In the face of COVID-19, our ways of life have been drastically impacted. With social distancing protocols in place, federal directives and state and county mandates, saying this thing has been a shift is an understatement. With the loss of livelihoods, and worse, lives; this pandemic has been a force to be reckoned with.
We have had to adjust, adapt and advance our daily living activities in order to make life a little less constrained and much more safe and livable. This includes the journey of finding work. Unfortunately, a lot of people permanently lost their jobs due to the outbreak. According to the Wall Street Journal, just in the U.S. alone, the number of unemployed during the crisis varies somewhere between 20 and 40 million individuals. How many of these individuals are still unemployed? That still remains to be seen with most tapping into an inconsistent unemployment system, while continually struggling to make ends meet.
With all of these changes going on around us, one thing remains the same. We still have to feed our families - pandemic or not. So, how does one look for work during the pandemic? Where do you begin? How have things changed? How can you adapt?
Surprisingly, it may not be as impossible as you think. As long as you have a phone and a laptop or computer, that's a great start. The good news is that thousands of companies, especially Fortune 500 organizations, have embraced remote working to accommodate their employees at this time. Companies that never offered virtual roles or even considered work-from-home statuses for certain positions have now changed their tune. Our hope is that thousands turn into tens of thousands and even millions. Considering this, there are more jobs available now, than you may think that there are. Make your preparations. Be prepared to do a virtual interview via Skype, Zoom, or some other online meeting software. You also must still dress the part and conduct yourself as you usually would in a face-to-face environment. Now that we have put that out there, let's take a look at some options available for finding work during this pandemic.
1. One of your options is to make sure you get registered on the popular online job search platforms such as Indeed, ZipRecruiter, CareerBuilder, LinkedIn and others. You might be like, 'Duh, of course I would do this' but it would surprise you to know how many people depend on just one platform to find them work. That simply will not do. Max them out. You may also notice that you will find a lot more virtual roles than you ever did before. Though the competition will be fierce, you must be aggressive in your job search. Freshen up that LinkedIn profile, update your resume, add a cover letter to your career documents and keep registering. If you want to find work, you have to step up your game or simply forfeit.
2. Apply for as many roles that match your background as you can. This is no time to be overly picky. As talented as you may be, our economy has shifted in a major way and individuals who were two pay grades above you might be applying for the same jobs you are. It may not always be necessary to step down, only to step out. Meaning, look for similar roles in different fields. Don't box yourself in. You might be surprised at what you find.
3. Start putting yourself out there by connecting with recruiters on LinkedIn and local staffing companies. Get your resume on file with them. Even if there are no availabilities now, that does not mean those circumstances cannot change.
4. Let everyone you know that you are looking for work. Personal referrals make great hand-offs to company recruitment. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Almost everyone has been unemployed before. Especially now.
5. Create your own job. So many people have established lucrative incomes from starting their own businesses or doing freelance work. Maybe it's time to put your skills to work. There is freelance work available by the mega load online. Many will say that it is competitive, and they would be right but that's why you have to start somewhere. You can jump on online platforms such as Upwork, Fiverr, PeoplePerHour and many others as a Virtual Assistant or in other roles. You can start with your friends and family and extend from there.
Whether all of these options stand out to you or just one of them, don't give up. There is something out there for you. You just have to be committed to the process of looking for it.
About the Author
LaShina Mack is the Founder of Resume Renewed and Premier Marketing Experts, LLC. She specializes in marketing, brand management, and career development services. In the corporate world, she has a diverse background working for reputable Fortune 500 organizations in the areas of retail, customer service, B2B, and government accounts. LaShina had been writing resumes as a freelancer for 15+ years prior to her company's launch in 2016. She has strong background in content development, online marketing, resume writing, creative design, campaign management, business consulting, and client acquisition. Feel free to follow or reach out to LaShina on Instagram or LinkedIn.