How to Search for a Job During the Coronavirus Pandemic
With the COVID-19 virus spreading in America and worldwide, the job searching process is just one of a multitude of things in American life that has changed seemingly overnight.
The first two cases of coronavirus in the U.S. were reported on January 14, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The CDC says COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in U.S. communities. As of March 22nd, there were 15,219 COVID-19 cases and 201 total deaths in all 50 U.S. states, according to official CDC statistics.
COVID-19 originated in the Wuhan province of China and the World Health Organization (WHO) has officially declared it as a global pandemic. The declaration means the virus is likely to spread to every country in the world, and it is also expected to do significant damage.
With America and the world now fighting COVID-19, virtually all aspects of modern life have changed. The American economy has been hit hard and federal, state and local governments are trying to keep the economy going through a variety of laws and measures.
Due to health and safety concerns, many states in America are also taking drastic measures to contain the spread of the virus, including ordering people to shelter-in-place and isolate themselves. Social distancing is now the new norm.
Considering all this sudden turmoil, many are asking the question: How will Americans make ends meet, continue to work, and sustain the economy now that many of us will be isolated in our homes?
There are no easy answers to these questions, and the news about the COVID-19 pandemic is changing by the hour. Empire Resume aims to calm your fears and anxieties about searching for a job during this upheaval.
How the Job Market’s Changing
There’s a lot of grim news about the U.S. economy and global financial markets during this pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic affects nearly every facet of modern life and the foundations of our economy.
Roughly half of Americans expected to live paycheck to paycheck this year, according to the First National Bank of Omaha in Nebraska. That’s why it’s become increasingly clear the U.S. federal government must take radical steps to save financial markets and help people directly. Efforts are already underway to pass a $1 trillion-plus stimulus package, change housing laws, and a variety of other measures to protect the health and safety of Americans.
Nearly every U.S. industry is affected by the pandemic in some way. Some industries like retail, transportation, and travel are taking huge hits, while other industries like technology and healthcare are positioned to grow because they provide solutions to containing COVID-19.
For example, Amazon announced plans to hire 100,000 people and give its U.S. workers a $2 raise. Amazon has been overwhelmed by orders since the pandemic started, so the company’s hiring surge will help it meet demand and employ Americans who may be facing a layoff.
Other industries are planning to hire more workers, too. Glassdoor found that between Feb. 29 and March 7, the number of job postings on its site for government, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, and the nonprofit industry tripled. Glassdoor also discovered job postings that mentioned “coronavirus” or “COVID-19” increased.
Glassdoor published an Economic Research report about how employers are responding to the pandemic and found the occupations most in demand during this outbreak are:
- Healthcare workers. Many medical organizations are looking to hire registered nurses that can help with COVID-19 testing and screening. However, it’s important to remember healthcare workers are a high-risk position right now, as they’re on the front lines and more likely to contract the virus.
- Data specialists. Data is playing a vital role in managing and containing COVID-19 because global organizations are using data analysis to understand the severity of the outbreak.
- Researchers and scientists. Scientific researchers are playing an important role in discovering information about COVID-19 and ways to manage and contain it.
- Communications specialists. Many companies are looking for communications pros to help inform the public about the outbreak. People with experience in crisis communications are especially in demand.
Remote Work Opportunities
Before COVID-19, there was already a trend toward working from home for many white-collar employees in the U.S. Now that many people are being told to practice social distancing and self-isolation, business experts say the pandemic is creating a giant remote working experiment.
Major companies like Amazon, Twitter, and the New York Times are strongly urging their employees to work remotely as the virus spreads. A lot of companies will be forced to work virtually now – and this may mean new job opportunities for remote work.
If you’ve been laid off because of the pandemic, remote freelance jobs can also be a lifeline right now. FlexJobs says some freelance remote jobs that are currently available include:
- Data entry. If you’re accurate and quick at typing, this is an ideal job where you can usually set your own hours.
- Customer service. This job usually only requires a good internet connection, and you’ll have to answer technical questions, order tracking, delivery questions, and things of that nature.
- Education and training. Online ESL instructors and Virtual Learning Coaches are opportunities that are available for many. Several companies that hire in these positions require only a bachelor’s degree in any field.
- Writing. Many companies are looking for technical writers, content writers, and copywriters. It’s a flexible job that can be done from anywhere.
Prepare for a Video Interview
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to close their offices, as only “essential businesses” like grocery stores and gas stations have been allowed to stay open in many U.S. states. As a result, many companies will be doing phone and video interviews for the time being.
If you’ve never done a video interview, now is the time to prepare. The basics you’ll need include a quiet home location with a good internet connection and a computer or laptop with a webcam. Other video interview tips include:
- Always dress professionally. You should dress for your video interview the same way you would dress for an in-person interview. Avoid wearing bright colors and wear softer colors instead, as these look better on camera.
- How to position the webcam. Move the camera so you’re looking up slightly and centered on the screen. The interviewer will probably only see your upper half, but you should still wear professional pants or a skirt in case you need to stand up.
It’s important to practice video interviewing before your actual interview, especially if you’ve never done one before. Do mock video interviews with friends and family and ask for candid feedback.
On the day of your video interview, make a checklist to ensure things go smoothly. Make sure you won’t be interrupted by locking the door to your home office or telling others in the house about the interview. Also keep a copy of your resume handy, a drink of water, and double-check how your home office will appear on screen so you can avoid having it look cluttered and messy.
Will There Be a Hiring Slowdown?
As the virus spreads in America, many people are worried the economy will slide into a recession and cause layoffs and hiring freezes. This is a legitimate concern and economists have been saying there are signs it could happen.
China and Italy (two countries hit hard by COVID-19) saw their national hiring rates plummet after governments there began quarantining people, according to LinkedIn’s chief economist. Economists say the same thing is already beginning to happen in the U.S. in cities where social distancing policies are strict, such as New York, Seattle, and San Francisco.
Another early indicator of an economic slowdown in the U.S. is the mass filing of initial claims for unemployment insurance. These claims surged by 70,000 in the U.S. between March 8-14, reaching their highest level since September 2017.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. In China, where the virus seems to be largely contained, LinkedIn’s chief economist says hiring numbers are beginning to move in a positive direction again. Bottom line: Once the U.S. contains COVID-19, economic activity and hiring could rebound.
How to Soldier On
COVID-19 has put everyone under a lot of stress, and this is especially true for job seekers. There are many things job seekers can’t control right now, which can make the situation anxiety-provoking. Empire Resume recommends focusing on the things you can control for your job search during this difficult time.
Don’t automatically assume employers have stopped hiring. While hiring numbers may go down, this doesn’t mean every single company will have a hiring freeze. We advise continuing to apply for jobs and sending out resumes. You may not get an interview right away, but you’ll at least be on the company’s radar.
The pandemic is probably forcing you to stay home – so use your time wisely. Set aside time each day to take an online course, pursue a certification, or brush up on your skills. Once hiring picks back up, the work you do now will put you in a better position to land a job.
Take this time to also update and optimize your resume, which Empire Resume can help with. Once the pandemic is over, companies will likely bounce back and be ready to hire. The more prepared you are by updating your resume and LinkedIn profile, the better off you will be.
Lastly, be flexible and adapt to the changing circumstances of the U.S. job market right now. COVID-19 has created a great deal of uncertainty and things seem to be changing by the hour. Stay updated about what’s going on in the U.S., but also avoid sensationalized news reports that only make you more anxious.
The coronavirus pandemic has hit hard and fast, but it will pass eventually. Stay focused on your goals and be flexible enough to modify them as the job market changes in response to the crisis. In the next few weeks, our blog will keep you updated on how to navigate the job searching process and workplace in these uncertain times.
Maria Gold is a Content Manager/Writer for Empire Resume. She is dedicated to helping educate and motivate people with the latest career articles and job search advice. Her interests range from writing to programming and design. She is also passionate about innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology.