Starting a Job Search after Your Industry Has Been Devastated by COVID-19

In what feels almost overnight, the coronavirus pandemic has devastated many industries. Due to social distancing requirements, shelter in place orders, and self-quarantines, thousands of businesses across the country have been forced to shutter their doors or severely limit their operational capacity. As a result, millions of people have been abruptly laid off, many with little to no warning from their employers.

Starting search devasted

What do you do when one day you have a job and the next, it's gone?

Beginning the job search after your industry has been decimated by COVID-19 is, no doubt, very emotional. Especially if you're not sure where or how you can put your skills to use. If you've found yourself in this position, here are a few steps you can take as you pursue new employment.

Understand changes in the job search process

Social distancing has caused major disruption in the recruitment and onboarding process. Employers are scrambling to convert traditional hiring practices into virtual ones. This means you'll have to adjust your approach and expectations to the job hunt as well. As you apply to jobs, be prepared to adapt to attending virtual interviews, taking online tours, and, if you land the job, completing the HR and other processes remotely.

Basically, be ready for whatever hiring curve might be thrown your way as you interact with potential employers. The recruitment and hiring processes are likely to continue to evolve as employers try to figure out how to move forward onboarding and working with newly-established remote teams.

Pick up new skills and credentials

If your industry has been completely placed on pause, it may take some time for it to get started again once the current health crisis passes. Unfortunately, with so much economic uncertainty looming, it's hard to know right now if the halt in your career will be a short- or long-term disruption. For many people, disruption is out of their hands, but what they can control is having an alternate career strategy plan for the long-term—just in case.

Take the time you have now and set a goal to learn new skills or earn credentials. The more you bolster your career toolbox, the more possibilities you'll have to land a job because you'll have widened your options. Once the economy begins to pick back up, there is going to be heavy competition for jobs in certain niches. Any value you add to your resume now will better position you to land a job now or in the future, especially if your industry doesn't make a strong or immediate recovery.

Explore a different industry to apply your skills

After working in an industry for a long period of time, you get used to a specific type of work environment. It's probably hard to envision working in a different kind of employment situation. Now's the time to think outside the box, and consider where you might be able to apply your skills in ways you haven't previously imagined.

While many industries have essentially shut down, there are numerous others in dire need of specific skillsets. For instance, if you're in public relations or marketing, you might be able to take your skills to a healthcare agency that is sorely needing people who can effectively translate important information to the public through announcements, social media, email, and other forms of communication. If your current industry is at a standstill, look at the industries that are hiring. You might be surprised at the many ways you can bring your talent to a completely new field.

Economists are predicting a recession is on the horizon, but this doesn't mean you won't have a job. During your layoff, you have time you probably didn't have before. Use it productively by evaluating your options, assessing your skills, and making some proactive moves to position yourself as a strong candidate for either a temporary or permanent career switch when the opportunity arises.

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