Wondering how to get a job in a pandemic? You’re not alone – and that’s part of the problem. With millions of people out of work, there are millions of people competing for jobs.
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Fortunately, it is possible to get a job in a pandemic. It may not be easy, but it is possible… and these tips can help.
Don’t wait for your benefits to decrease or run out.
Recently, a good friend of mine remarked that they wish they’d been placed on unemployment because the boosted amount would be more than they ordinarily earn. Many people who found themselves unemployed were pleasantly surprised when their income actually increased.
The unfortunate truth is that these programs are temporary. The United States is still a long way from instituting a Universal Basic Income. Eventually, the temporary coronavirus measures will expire and those benefits will be reduced or disappear entirely.
When that happens, a lot of people who were comfortable on unemployment and other benefits will scramble into the workforce. Competition for jobs will increase and it will be that much harder to find work.
Don’t wait for that to happen. Edge out the competition by getting an early start.
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Don’t wait for the perfect position.
Because there are more job seekers than jobs, don’t be picky. Accept that your next job may be a transitional, short term position. You don’t have to like your job, but you do have to eat – and that takes money that any job can provide.
Focus on industries that are still hiring and thriving through the pandemic. This includes industries like health care, grocery, warehouse workers, package handlers, sanitation, and yard care.
Prepare behind the scenes so that you stand out.
The easiest way to figure out how to get a job in a pandemic is to stand out from everyone else. Take a little bit of time to make sure that you are presenting the best image to your prospective employers.
Start by reviewing your social media pages. Clean out things that an employer shouldn’t see. Check your privacy settings. Many employers will check your social media before hiring you, so make sure that you are representing yourself in a professional manner (at least publicly).
Update your resume. Emphasize any transferable skills or remote-working experience that you may have. If you’re familiar with any form of video technology (such as Zoom) or document sharing tools (like Google Docs), be sure to include that information. Soft skills such as time management and written communication are also strong indicators that you can work from home proficiently.
Craft an elevator pitch, which is a very short blurb about what makes you the perfect candidate for a job. It should be 30 seconds or less. Many people think of this as something you only need to do for high-profile jobs, but it’s beneficial to everyone. The elevator pitch for Low Income Relief is this:
Low Income Relief is a free information resource that connects low income people across America with benefits, programs and resources in their local communities. We help three million people per year save money and get free stuff!
Build your network.
Building a network is especially powerful during a pandemic. Your network is essentially your professional contacts.
Start by reaching out to people you already know. Explain that you’re trying to figure out how to get a job in a pandemic and ask them if they know of any positions. If you have a friend or acquaintance who works for a company that is hiring, ask them for a reference.
You can also use Linkedin for networking. Find and follow the hiring managers of the companies you’d like to work for. Don’t just spam Linkedin with requests for a job; actually post meaningful updates, news and information. Represent yourself professionally and build a network of people that would be interested in working with you.
Be sure to use personalized messages when you reach out to hiring managers and potential employers. Since there are many people trying to master how to get a job in a pandemic, these people are being swamped with messages. Template emails and copy-and-paste messages will blend in, but a well-written customized message will give you an edge over the competition.
Build your resume.
Building your skills is one of the best tips we can give you about how to get a job in a pandemic. During this time, take online classes and engage in certifications. We have a list of free ones on our website. You can find all the free certification programs we’ve found under Step Two in this post.
Prepare for an interview.
Since many interviews during a pandemic will happen online, you need to be prepared. Have a clean, clutter-free, well-lit and quiet space to conduct the interview. Since many employers are especially interested in employees who can work from home, it can help to show that you have a good place to work at home.
Even though you may be interviewing from home, you should still prepare yourself for a professional interview. Dress nicely and present yourself in a professional manner. Maintain eye contact with the camera. Our standard interview advice still applies.
One side benefit to online interviews is that you can have notes on your screen during the interview. I recommend keeping the job description up so that you can reference it through the interview.
Make yourself pandemic-proof.
As we’ve clearly seen, there is no industry that is entirely pandemic proof. However, there are some tips and strategies that can mitigate the damage.
For example, it helps to have a side gig that you can fall back on. For me, that’s always been freelance writing. In a pinch, I know where I can turn to make a few bucks online. Explore options like DoorDash, Instacart, and freelance platforms like Upwork. Leverage the skills you already have or learn new ones. Either way, it’s worth it.