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Almost 30 million Americans are looking for jobs right now — not including those who don't qualify for unemployment. While that might feel disheartening, there are opportunities out there (I mean, we just wrote about companies hiring a ton). Recently, I talked to a few people who've seized those opportunities. Here are the ways they found a job during this tough time — and the job search advice had for other COVID-era job seekers. And yes, you should prepare to suit up for a video interview.
1. Letting your network (especially on social media) know you're looking.
You've heard the statistic before: Something like 74% of jobs are filled through personal networks. That's why Phillip Scully, who recently got a job in Public Relations at HaroHelpers, advocates for putting your pride aside and letting your social networks know about your unemployment.
"I lost my job just as the lockdown went into full effect, so the timing couldn’t be any worse for me," he said. "I blurted out my situation online using Twitter, and while I got messages of support and some retweets, no offers were forthcoming. Then, out of the blue, I had an offer from someone who I had a met a few times in attending a few workshops at the company he used to work at. We’d had a few friendly actions online but nothing was mentioned about my job or career prospects. He reached out and offered me a job on a trial, which I’m happy to announce I passed."
"So, my advice is: put your pride aside and put yourself out there on social media. Your contacts may not have a job for you, but their contacts might. But you’ll never know unless you vocalize your employability."
2. Being ready to switch things up.
Some industries have been permanently changed by COVID-19, wrecking the employment of many people. Dawna Jarvis, who was forced to close her successful salon and has since found a job in public relations through a contact, says flexibility and a love for adventure are two ways to turn things around in your career.
"This is a whole new world for me. I have so much to learn but I'm loving this adventure," she shared.
3. Learning skills that can help you go digital.
"Businesses who had planned to debut or increase their online presence within the next couple of years or so, have essentially been forced to make adjustments now and train existing staff or employ new staff to ensure their business can survive in these unprecedented times," she said.
She has advice for how to land a very-online job: "Use this time to familiarize yourself with the digital world or to partake in some online courses targeting digital-based jobs. In these trying times, stay optimistic and open minded, as there is a whole new demand for staff looking to dive into the online world."
4. Following need.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the U.S., Nneka M. Brown-Massey found a new job with Tulsa Remote working to manufacture stationery, notebooks and other school supplies. Her advice? Find a job in a recession-proof sector or at a company that's responding to public needs.
"My advice to anyone who is searching for jobs right now would be to look at the social service industry," she said. "Many citizens are needing help during these times and that's where you would be sure to find work to help those in need."
5. Considering a gig.
Jason Boyd is used to working within the gig economy. He's a full-time marketing freelancer, in addition to running his media site fictionphile.com. Like many freelancers, Boyd has been struggling to get business. So, he's turned to a different kind of work: food delivery.
"I turned to Uber Eats just to help make ends meet and it's been a life saver. I average about $20 per hour, which isn't quite my freelance rate but much better than anything else available right now," he said.
Working for a delivery service in between jobs or contracts can help alleviate some of the financial pressures of unemployment — it was the route I took myself when I was last unemployed. Not all gigs are created equal, though, so I suggest reading up on each company's terms and conditions (and checking out some community threads on working for each company in your market).