Job Searching Amid the Pandemic

Ways to prevail despite the economic shutdown.

Posted Jun 25, 2020

 Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0
Source: Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0

Of course, it's tougher to find a good job amid the COVID economic shutdown, but there are pluses:

Geography is less of a barrier. Many employers are hiring remote workers. That means you can search nationally without having to move. And a national search is as easy as a local one thanks to job-aggregator sites such as LinkedIn and Indeed. Plus, consultants of all sorts, from singing teachers to diversity consultants to personal coaches have an easier time attracting remote clients because COVID restrictions demand it.

Networking is easier. It’s been said ad nauseam, including by me, that especially in a tight job market like this COVID-lockdown-eviscerated one, your most likely path to a job, at least a good job, is to get referred in. Apart from your real friends and colleagues, LinkedIn, now with 700 million members and a very easy-to-use people-search engine, enables you, in moments, to home in on people with whom you have some bond, whether it’s that you’re both alumni of the same university or employer, or someone who could hire you at one of your target employers — for example, Vice-President, Human Resources, Alphabet.com.

Interviewing is more convenient. No trekking to do an informational interview or even initial job interviews. COVID-restrictions are making video the dominant way to interview. Of course, you will have to get comfortable talking into a lens. You may not need to go as far as following the advice to “make love to the lens,” but do imagine the lens being a supportive interviewer. Also, frame yourself properly: head-and-shoulders, no shadows on your face.

Some fields and top employers are growing. For example, remote learning, diversity consulting, and biotech.

For example, even if you’re no vaccine researcher, mega biotech/pharma companies AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Sanofi, plus start-up Moderna have received billions of dollars from the fed’s Warp Speed program, and are hiring for a wide range of jobs. For example, AstraZeneca, which received $1.2 billion in Warp Speed money, lists 654 openings in the U.S., from procurement to marketing to talent scouting.

Outside of biotech, most likely to be hiring during the COVID-economic shutdown may be large, successful companies that provide basics, for example, Amazon and Procter & Gamble, the latter that is advertising 167 U.S. openings. So you can focus your search more on top companies, something that many people prefer anyway.  

Federal jobs may grow. For many people, federal jobs, which exist across the nation not just in DC, may offer the best deal in town. Government jobs are the last bastion of mainly full-time benefited positions with full health care, retirement plan, vacation days, holidays, plus job security nonpareil. With the private sector in a likely sustained downturn, the federal government, which can print money, may be more likely to be hiring, although a hiring boom hasn't yet occurred except for interim gigs such as census worker or, at the state and local level, COVID contact tracer. But polls predict Democratic presidential and Congressional wins in the fall, which may induce additional federal hiring, especially in areas of Democratic priority: alternative energy, immigration, mass transit, nationalized health care, and diversity programs.  

The takeaway

Employment prospects, especially for those with a weak track record, will be challenging, but the aforementioned ideas should provide a legitimate basis for hope.

I read this aloud on YouTube.