While there are certain sectors or industries on the rise, job searching can be tough during this current economic uncertainty. With over 30 million Americans unemployed, many may not have the experience or knowledge base for the role that they are applying for because 1) the job that they were temporarily/permanently laid off or furloughed are currently unavailable since there are no openings due to COVID-19; OR 2) the available jobs available in the labor market is not what they are ideally searching for.
This has been extremely overwhelming for the whole nation and this especially makes it harder for individuals who have to keep a roof over their families’ heads, have babies/children to feed, pay rent and bills, etc.
The key component that is really important right now, is your RESUME. As we all know, it is mid-July now… we are all home since mid-March, which has been 4 months. There are ways that job seekers can change their adaptations of their resumes from what used to be on their resumes. Back then, we generally like to include as many details as possible and what we are proficient in to tailor it according to the job description.
Ideally during then, you want your resume to look presentable to the employer. However, the main issue has always been that job seekers struggle very hard on translating or interpreting that information to their interviews. Now, with COVID-19 and people being home, what job seekers need to do is to draw themselves between two things. Either you are a good public speaker and you should just have general stuff listed on your resume so that you can save it all for the interview to showcase your excellent communication skills; or if you are more shy/introverted, you might have all detailed information on your resume but you will need to practice more on improving your communication effectively during your interview.
Many individuals oftentimes get so nervous about changing their resumes. It shouldn’t be hard when they have it on their flash drives or saved onto their desktops. Many of them right now just do not want to go back to square one again and I totally feel for them. And that can pose issues for those who may have criminal justice record, failing a drug test and anyone who refuses to start from scratch all over again.
On the other hand, those who are still working in their part-time jobs or have reduced hours, are the ones who are still hungry and are currently looking for work. They’re hungry by saying – “Now is not only about experience and not about your resume, because everyone not only in New York City but the U.S. is looking for a job right now. It’s you versus everyone.” Unless you have a good relationship with people and can build or have built some kind of connection with them through LinkedIn or by volunteering, it will be difficult.
So let’s say, what if you only have 1 month of experience at a retail store because it was a seasonal role? What if you do have experience but you couldn’t translate that into a resume? Especially with difficult times like these, you really want to hone in on your job description and you want to place emphasis on the skills that you know the employer wants – which is conveyed in the job description. For instance for a cashier role, if they are seeking someone who is great with the cashiering, customer service skills and using numbers to define how much revenue you increased for the company – you want to really emphasize those things on the resume but you have to tailor it each time because each job, each employer desires different things. And if it’s a customer service job, you will want to shift the customer service bullet up to the top and if it’s not, then you either take it off or shift it to the bottom. This is what would be recommended for someone who does not have a whole lot of experience, on how to at least get the resume to help them advance to the next step.
One of the most resourceful and quickest ways in landing your job/career if you have not built your network, is to seek a career coach to assist you with your resume since they are armed with many valuable resources. On top of that, they have connections with many employers from different industries and sectors – which they can help place you in a job that you are looking for. Many non-profit organizations that are workforce providers offer free services on career development such as resume/cover letter writing, honing your interview skills, career advice, work readiness training and even job placement assistance.
Career coaches are very helpful during this time since they have employer partners who reach out to them for recruitment assistance. They are the ones who are consistently up to date with the labor market trends and which industries/sectors are hiring and not hiring. Career coaches and job placement specialists have seen and judged resumes that they thought would not make it to a job, that actually made it. If they are referring the job seeker to an employer, a useful way with helping them tailor the resumes are by looking at the job description as mentioned earlier. If the job description doesn’t convey honestly what the employer wants, your career coach can help you find out what the employer wants. Career coaches will take their time to coach and counsel you to the best version of yourself and make sure that you know every single thing before you walk into the interview.
They will be there to teach you not to give up, to really hang in there for the long haul, keep applying, keep at it – although we know at this time it is terribly difficult.
Normally, job seekers are asked “What have you been doing ever since you’ve lost your job and how do you fill in that gap?” and now we want to replace it with “What have you been doing since COVID-19 has invaded our lives?”
If you are learning how to use Zoom, remote work or even taking courses to enhance your digital literacy skills, then that is a resume builder. If you are currently taking care of family, then you are a caretaker.
To wrap this up, this is about teaching yourself how to fail. This is about teaching yourself how to not be afraid, how to throw your chances out there and be hungry. If you’re not taught to fail and you’re just going to hold onto that one job, what if they never practiced their interview skills after working in that same job for 2 years?
Moral of the story is, don’t be afraid to throw your resume to every single job opportunity out there in every field because guess what? You may end up liking that job that you’d never imagine that you would be doing. In many cases, there is always room for advancement regardless of what your title is, what department you work for or which industry/sector you are coming from. Your learning experiences come through your resume, you’re receiving feedback during your interviews and if a job really wants you, then you will possess that confidence.
It has been such a fast and deep downturn and that’s what’s unprecedented – we can’t compare it to any other downturn because of that. The problem is that we don’t know what the next 6 to 24 months are going to look like but the job search/hunt process and every new growing opportunity out there is, has always been and will be limitless.