Last week, another 5.2 million Americans filed for unemployment — about 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment in the previous four weeks given COVID-19. As the coronavirus pandemic stretches from weeks into months, it’s reshaping the U.S. job market at lightning speed. For perspective, the U.S. is on track to lose as many job openings on a percentage basis in the first four weeks of the crisis as we did in the first nine months of the Great Recession.
On the bright side, data from Glassdoor’s economic team shows an increased availability of remote jobs. While economic headwinds are overwhelming short-term growth, with remote jobs declining 10.8 percent in the last month, they are still up 8.7 percent year over year. Additionally, the share of jobs listed as remote is increasing sharply, up 27.9 percent from last year. This data proves to those who have wondered if the current crisis will bring about a sea change in remote work may be correct, which shows that some companies are still actively hiring.
However, many job seekers, college graduates included are naturally wondering, is it even worth it to apply for a job right now? Our career expert, Allison Sullivan, recently spoke to Marketplace about the importance of still applying for jobs, how to address COVID-19 in interviews, and how to network while social distancing. See her responses below.
Is anyone hiring? Is it even worth applying for a job right now?
Yes, there are opportunities out there for those on the job hunt, and it is still worthwhile to stick to your search. You may have to adjust aspects of your job search as things change during the coronavirus outbreak. For instance, the types of opportunities and abundance of them will look different, depending on the industry. Now is a valuable time to do your research. Identify the sectors and companies currently hiring and what transferable skills you can market to shift into open opportunities. Your application materials should be customized to the opportunity, and proofread to stand out from other applicants. Also, don’t forget to tap into or build your network. Even if you haven’t found the right job, signaling you’re looking can help you find opportunities in the future.
I am not laid off or furloughed, but I don’t like my job. Should I use this time at home to look for other jobs?
If you feel ready for a new job, it never hurts to be on the lookout. There are employers still in need of talent, and so this extended time at home can be a way to reflect on career goals, research potential opportunities, and understand who is hiring. Because today’s hiring landscape is shifting, if you do have a job, stay in your current role while you’re job searching for potential other opportunities.
There is this tweet going around about a hypothetical future job interview and the candidate asking the company about what precautions they took to protect their workers and how they handled the COVID-19 situation. Is that a good question to ask in future job interviews?
For years, we’ve seen that many employees and job seekers want to work for companies that prioritize culture and the quality of its leaders. Actions in a time of crisis can speak volumes. Companies should be prepared for this question or expect that candidates have done their research on how a company responded to the COVID-19 outbreak.
How do you network while social distancing?
Thanks to technology, there are still avenues to network and expand your professional network while hunkered down at home. Many professional organizations offer virtual events or happy hours, which can help you connect with peers and fine-tune your video communication skills. Plus, there are plenty of ways to meet and make new career connections via professional networking platforms. A new professional acquaintance may be more open to email correspondences or a virtual coffee or drink during a time when many are craving social interaction and have a more open calendar.