Out of Work? Here is What You Can Do to Improve Your Job Prospects
The numbers are truly staggering. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, over 35 million Americans are now unemployed. This number equates to a mind-blowing realization that approximately one in four Americans have filed for unemployment. The rapidly changing employment picture means that you need to take swift action to hone your skills in an effort to improve your job prospects. If you have been recently laid off, now is the perfect time to take steps to boost your skillset and put yourself in a better position to secure employment.
Leverage the Shift to Telecommuting
One of the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is that more companies are realizing how productive employees can be even when working at their homes. It is becoming clear that the virus is not going to just magically disappear. An increased emphasis on social distancing combined with the success that many employees are seeing working remotely means that a significant amount of businesses will make this employment model permanent. This shift makes it easier for you to find employment without having to worry about the constraints of a commute. As more companies become open to hiring non-local employees, your job prospects have increased exponentially. You are no longer limited to jobs in your local area. In order to leverage this shift, it is important that you brush up on your technical skills. Being able to navigate a virtual world by effectively communicating with your fellow colleagues and clients will put you in the position to succeed as a remote worker.
Harness Your Job Network
It is understandably challenging to network like you were able to do just a few months ago. It is no longer feasible to connect with colleagues and network over a work happy hour. However, now more than ever, it is important that you keep your networking game strong. Many alumni associations are hosting virtual happy hours, making these an easy way to cast a wide net and connect with like-minded people. In addition, now is a great time to spruce up your LinkedIn profile so that you make yourself more attractive to potential employers.
Rehearse Online Interviewing Skills
The job interview process has completely changed as a result of the transition to remote working. Because you are unlikely to score an in-person interview, it is important that you are ready to knock it out of the park with your online interview. Rehearse your interview by experimenting with different lighting beforehand. You also need to practice looking into the camera so that it appears that you are making eye contact with the interviewer. It is also important to dress up for the online interview as professionally as you would for an in-person meeting. Now is not the time to go casual just because you are not leaving your home.
Do Not Discount Short-Term Gigs
The job news is not all bad. According to payment processing leader Payoneer, a survey shows that four in 10 freelance workers have reported increased demand for their services. The bottom line is that while steady jobs have tanked, companies are looking to freelancers to bridge the gap and provide services without having to commit to full-time employees. Short-term work is a great way to keep your skills fresh during times of unemployment. Not only will you generate cash flow during this challenging time, but you will also show that you are willing to step outside of your comfort zone and take on new challenges. As a bonus, this type of work may also lead to a permanent job when the employment picture begins to improve. Searching freelance job sites is the best way to find short-term work. Once you land a gig, be sure to always put your best foot forward. The positive review that you gain from this type of work may pay off big dividends as you continue your search for permanent employment.
Nobody can predict what will happen in the future. The ongoing global pandemic is an extremely fluid situation with no prior playbook to look to for guidance. Most economists predict that employment prospects will ebb and flow over the next few years as the world goes through the various stages of the pandemic. You can equip yourself for a highly volatile job market by honing your skills and marketing yourself as favorably as possible.
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