The current pandemic continues to impact the jobs situation throughout the U.S. as organizations are still weathering the economic downturn due to COVID-19. We still see a lot of uncertainty as states “open up” at varying rates, schools consider if, when, and how to re-open in the fall, and companies attempt to operate profitably.
The U.S. job market remains difficult. “We’re slowly seeing the labor market recovery begin to take form,” said Robert Rosener, an economist at Morgan Stanley, pointing to an “initial reopening bounce.” But, he added, “there’s still an enormous number of layoffs going on in the economy.” In fact, most economists are predicting that the job situation is in for a long recovery. As difficult as the current situation is, finding a new job is hard, but it’s not impossible. Today we have five tips to help you achieve job search success, even during these times.
1. Focus on industries that are hiring.
Invest time to research which industries are weakest and strongest right now and focus your efforts on industries who need talent now. These industries include healthcare, technology, commerce, delivery services, grocery, and some retail. Be flexible and pivot your search as needed.
2. Enhance and expand your network.
Build your connections on LinkedIn. Attend virtual conferences, career fairs, and events. Proactively reach out to those in your network and let them know what you’re looking for. Remember, the number one way people find a new job is through their network. Now is the time to strengthen yours.
3. Build a new skill set.
Brush up on your skills to make yourself more marketable. You’re probably applying for jobs on LinkedIn and if you are, you can see the skills required for each position. Take note of the skills you need to strengthen to make yourself a stronger candidate for the jobs you want. Then, find online resources to help you build those skills. We’ve never seen such a variety of online resources that are available, and many of them are free.
4. Be flexible.
Four months ago, unemployment was at historic lows and candidates were “in the driver’s seat” in many categories due to an extreme talent shortage. The job market has completely flipped now for many job categories. Job seekers need to be creative and willing to adapt to what companies are seeking. Obtaining your dream job might not be possible right now, but perhaps you can find a job that’s adjacent to your dream. You might need to make a lateral move, or you might need to accept something you’re overqualified for. You should still aim for your goals, but you also must be flexible.
5. Pursue temporary work.
Speaking of flexibility, temporary work is a fantastic alternative right now for several reasons. First, companies who are hesitant to hire employees full-time often look to temporary employees during a recession because they have more flexibility and more control over labor costs in an uncertain economy. In fact, nearly half of hiring managers in a recent survey indicated that they plan to use more flexible talent because of COVID-19.
Second, temporary work gives the employee and employer the opportunity to “try each other out” before making a longer-term commitment. Third, temporary employment historically always leads as we come out of a recession, so we predict we’ll see an influx of temporary hiring requests before we start to see high demand for full-time hiring. Job seekers can leverage this trend and open themselves to future full-time opportunities, all while earning a paycheck in the meantime.
The most important thing to do right now is to stay positive. We know this can be difficult for many who need financial security at this time but remember, prior to the pandemic we had the best jobs market in years. Talent was hard to find. This current market might take a while to recover, but it WILL recover. And there are still many companies who ARE hiring, so with a little creativity and patience, you can find opportunity.